Senta Höfer is passionate about planting and nurturing new ideas, programmes and institutions in manifold environments.
Before establishing the Global Diplomacy Lab Secretariat at the Federal Foreign Office, which she co-founded and directed from 2014 to 2023, Senta created and managed executive training programmes for international diplomats, as well as cultural initiatives in Eastern Europe. All of these – just like the Global Diplomacy Lab – public-private partnerships between the German Ministry for Foreign Affairs and (private) foundations. Since March 2023, Senta works as the Director of Operations at the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s Permanent Office in Berlin.
Before returning to Germany in 2005 to work in international relations, Senta spent many years abroad – always in intercultural and multidisciplinary environments – be it establishing and directing the German Cultural Centre in Timişoara (Romania) or working for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in post-war Croatia. This is also where, in addition to her regular work, she co-founded an NGO fair, at a time when members of the Croatian political leadership called NGOs the “cancer of society”. The motivation for this work was not least the fact that Senta was born and grew up as a member of the German national minority in Bucharest, Romania, which was a dictatorship at the time. She was able to emigrate at the age of 17.
Once she arrived in the “free world”, Senta began to travel, live and pursue studies in journalism, German and art history in Würzburg, London, Bamberg, Antwerp and New York. Senta had the pleasure and luck to be awarded fellowships by the Robert Bosch Foundation, the Karl Gerold Foundation and Columbia University, as well as to work as a journalist for, among others, the BBC World Service, the Bavarian Broadcasting Company (BR), Die Zeit (German weekly) and, most recently, for Deutschlandfunk Kultur, the German public radio.
Senta lives with her partner and (occasionally) their two grown-up children in Berlin-Schöneberg, where she organises literary salons and loves listening to and playing music in her free time.