Conference hosts

Petra Grüne has been in charge of the events department at the German Federal Agency for Civic Education/bpb since 2006. She has been working at the bpb since 1991 in a number of different fields and position, including heading a comprehensive evaluation of the bpb in 1999 that eventually led to a restructuring of the organisation. She was the initiator of NECE initiative that she manages today together with Christoph Müller-Hofstede. in charge of the Federal Agency for Civic Education’s Events Department since 2005. She has been working at the German Federal Agency for Civic Education/bpb since 1991 in a number of different fields and positions. Together with Christoph Müller-Hofstede, Petra Grüne is responsible for the NECE initiative promoted by the Federal Agency for Civic Education/bpb. 

Thomas Krüger is the president of the German Federal Agency for Civic Education/bpb. In 1989, he was a founding member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR), and he became executive director of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Berlin (East) in 1990. After a stint as first deputy to the mayor of East Berlin, Thomas Krüger became deputy chairman of the SPD in Berlin (East/West) from 1990 to 1992. From 1991 to 1994 he worked as the city's Senator for Youth and Family Affairs. He was also a member of the German Parliament, “the Bundestag”, from 1994 to 1998, a board member of the cultural forum of the SPD, and a member of Berlin's International City Commission. Thomas Krüger was appointed president of the German Federal Agency for Civic Education/bpb in July of 2000. He studied Theology in Berlin and Eisenach.

Tatjana Meijvogel-Volk has been working as a project manager for International Politics at ProDemos – House for Democracy and the Rule of Law in the Netherlands since 2006. In this position she deals with international citizen participation projects and with participatory and educatory projects in the Netherlands. Tatjana Meijvogel-Volk is the contact person for the NECE initiative at ProDemos.

Christoph Müller-Hofstede

has been a consultant at the German Federal Agency for Civic Education since 1988. A sinologist and political scientist, he has been responsible for establishing new formats of citizenship education for young people with migrant and/or Muslim background in German schools. Together with Petra Grüne, he is responsible for the NECE Initiative promoted by the Federal Agency for Civic Education. Christoph Müller-Hofstede is editor (with Doris Fischer) of the new 'Länderbericht China' due to be published by the Federal Agency for Civic Education in November 2014. 

Sigrid Steininger, a graduated historian, is head of the Unit for Citizenship Education at the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education and Women's Affairs. As Austria’s EDC/HRE (Education for Democratic Citizenship/Human Rights Education) coordinator she has been closely involved with the Council of Europe’s EDC/HRE programme since 2002. In preparation for the “European Year of Citizenship through Education” (EYCE) she drew up and initiated the Citizenship Days in 2003, which have been held annually since then. Sigrid Steininger has also gained experience on an international level in her function as Austrian educational coordinator in Macedonia and Kosovo (1999-2002), on election observer missions and due to her activities at the Council of Europe. The book “EDC in Europe – Challenges for Austria” has been published in August 2006. An encyclopaedia on politics for kids co-edited by Sigrid Steininger was issued in October 2008 (revised and updated edition 2010).

Kars Veling has been the director of ProDemos - House for Democracy and the Rule of Law since 2011. He studied Mathematics and Philosophy and has a Ph.D. in Philosophy. He has worked as a lecturer and in executive roles at various high schools and institutes of higher education throughout the Netherlands. In the past, he was involved in politics as a member of the Christian Union in the First and the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament. As a member of the Supervisory Board of the Institute for Political Participation (2005-2010), Kars Veling was closely involved 
in the formation of ProDemos – House for Democracy and the Rule of Law in 2011. 

Manfred Wirtitsch has has been head of the Department of Citizenship Education, Environmental Education and Education for Sustainable Development, Consumer Education, Financial Literacy and Road Safety Education in the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture since 2001. One of the major fields of the Department is the implementation of citizenship education in the Austrian School system as a compulsory subject and as an education principle. From 1988 to 2000, Manfred Wirtitsch worked at Department for Social Sciences of the Federal Ministry of Science and Research, focusing on contemporary history, cultural studies, and comprehensive security. After his studies of History and Mass Communication, he worked for two years for the Austrian States Archive as the scientific editor of the Minutes of the Austrian Government of the First Republic.