A collage of three portrait photos of the new members of Bertelsmann Stiftung's leadership team: Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook, Marek Wallenfels and Dirk Zorn.

Bertelsmann Stiftung expands leadership team

Following the completion of a successful strategic-planning process, the Bertelsmann Stiftung is bolstering its "Europe's Future" and "Education and the Next Generation" programs with the addition of several highly respected experts in these fields. Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook and Marek Wallenfels join the Stiftung, Dirk Zorn returns.

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Foto Jochen Arntz
Jochen Arntz
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Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook, a German-American political scientist at Harvard University and former director and executive director of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), will join the Stiftung on August 1, 2022, as a senior advisor, the equivalent of Executive Vice President in the foundation's nomenclature. Clüver Ashbrook has focused her research on Europe's international relations. She will lead two important initiatives: the German-American Future Forum and a high-level Stiftung strategy group on Europe.

At the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Clüver Ashbrook co-founded the Future of Diplomacy Project with Nicholas Burns, who is now U.S. ambassador to China. She subsequently served as executive director of the initiative for 11 years. "We are at a crucial moment for the defense and revitalization of a stable and just global order," Clüver Ashbrook said. "I am very pleased that the Bertelsmann Stiftung is dedicating its knowledge and its resources to this task."

Marek Wallenfels will join the Education and the Next Generation program as director on September 1, 2022. He will be involved in the Bertelsmann Stiftung's work on educational equity and modern education. Wallenfels is an economist with more than 20 years of experience in the areas of political communications and nonprofit leadership. He comes to the Stiftung from the educational organization EDUCATION Y, where he is currently executive director. Previously, he served as secretary general of the Mercator Institute on Global Commons (MCC) and as managing director of Stiftung 2°.

In addition to his work as a mentor for social enterprises, he founded buergerpolitik.org, a non-profit organization in Germany. "Especially in these challenging times, it is important to focus on issues relevant to young people and their educational opportunities in a sustainable way," Wallenfels said. "I look forward to being able to shape this forward-looking mission at the Bertelsmann Stiftung."  

Dirk Zorn is returning to the Bertelsmann Stiftung on September 1, 2022, as director of the new Education and the Next Generation program. An expert with long experience in the field of primary and secondary education, Zorn studied sociology in Berlin and at Princeton University, receiving his PhD in organizational theory from Princeton. He also conducted research at Harvard University. As a consultant at McKinsey & Company for six years, he advised both companies and public-sector clients.

He served as an education expert for the Bertelsmann Stiftung between 2013 and 2021, most recently as director of the Integration and Education program. Subsequently, he headed the Robert Bosch Stiftung's activities in the area of education. "I am looking forward to returning to my old place of work to focus even more intensively on the issue of good education alongside my colleagues in the new Education and the Next Generation program," Zorn said.

Bertelsmann Stiftung Chair Ralph Heck welcomed the new members of the leadership team. "Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook, Marek Wallenfels and Dirk Zorn, with their research expertise and experience as leaders, will be great assets in the challenging societal work ahead of us," Heck said.