MitOst Board 2016-2018

Ljiljana Šotra
1st chairwoman


It all started with the MitOst festival in Temeswar, Romania in 2006. It was end of September, the weather was super nice in the Balkans, and there were many interesting people and workshops. For two days (!) the members’ assembly discussed the topic “MitOst and GmbH” among others. And it was all discussed in German – what a pleasure for a student of German philology. I was delighted. However, to be honest, the German was not what convinced me to become a part of the MitOst community, but rather the discussion culture of MitOst, even though I mostly abstained from voting because I felt too new to vote. I am probably also one of the few members who looks forward to the members assembly more than the other Festival events.
Without MitOst I would have finished my studies in time and would have waited to get a job. MitOst opened another world for me: the world of being engaged and active. What I learned and experienced through MitOst, all these diverse places, topics, people and their thoughts, this is what shaped me. This diversity still motivates and drives me. Through MitOst, I joined the Theodor-Heuss-Kolleg and founded based on the initiative "Balkans, let’s get up!" the organisation.
MitOst 2030: How old will I be by then? It doesn’t matter because the good thing is that you are never too old for MitOst. Maybe MitOst has travelled around the globe by then, and offers a playground for the ultimate exchange. With this exchange MitOst and our community encourages peace and mutual understanding. It could be that MitOst functions as a non-formal UN.
3 points I would like to add:

  • You are never too young for MitOst. 
  • MitOst is growing, and its structures and network are already confusing. For myself, I would wish to sort it all out so everyone can understand MitOst at a glance. This is an impossible thing, I guess, and it should stay like this! MitOst is a world for itself, a cosmos to explore. 
  • At the annual member assembly, I will no longer abstain from voting.

Ljiljana Šotra lives in Belgrade in Serbia whenever she is not on the way to soemwhere else. Formal she works as a teacher of German, translator and interpreter, non-formal she is a complainer and a person questioning the world. She lives for the Balkans and that the Balkans is lively. Right now, as a member of the board of MitOst she is looking forward shaping MitOst within the next two years.

Barbara Anna Bernsmeier
2nd Chairwomen


It all started with a project idea of a group of Eastern-Europe enthusiasts from Munich. We thought this idea would be perfect for the KlickOst fund. Our project wasn’t supported, but I became a member of MitOst. In 2014, , I attended the MitOst Festival for the first time in Novi Sad, Serbia. What happened afterwards? Many projects, meetings and encounters, more festivals and I became a member of the project advisory board and the MitOst board.
Without MitOst I would never have played football with former players of the Egypt football league at the German-Polish border. 
My MitOst Utopia: In 2030, we meet annually at the MitOst Festivals, which are by now cross-generational and cross-border. Our network reaches from the Atlantic Ocean to the East China Sea. Because of this, for the 30th anniversary of MitOst we are going on a train ride which will last several weeks, and cross continents and nine different time zones. Our expertise is asked for and appreciated by societies and politics in Europe and internationally.
I would also like to say: A cheer for a year full of changes, discussions, memorable moments, travelling and laughter.

Barbara Anna Bernsmeier is a Berlin-based freelance cultural and project manager. Originally from northern Germany, she graduated from the University of Munich in Literature and Slavic Studies. After working as teaching assistance at Novosibirsk State University, Barbara was a scholar in the programme “Robert Bosch Cultural Managers in the Russian Federation” from 2013 to 2015 in Volgograd.  A MitOst member since 2010, Barbara was part of the Project Advisory Board from 2015-2016 before she came into the board as the treasurer. Since 2017 she has been the 2nd Chairwoman and responsible for the coordination of the organisational development of MitOst and the board.

Nurana Mammadova
Assessor Project Formats for Members and alumni


It all started with getting familiar with citizenship education - the Joint Civic Education programme for young people in Azerbaijan. This experience helped me to understand and identify my role within the community. 

Without MitOst I would not have met lifelong friends and hundreds of changemakers around the world. 

My MitOst 2030 utopia is to discovering more and more new horizons and becoming a world-known ambassador of peacebuilding and bridge between civil society and international institutions.  

I would also like to say that we are in power of creating the future that we dream of, let's start dreaming and creating together. 

Nurana Mammadova is from Azerbaijan, grew up in Ukraine. Her academic background includes a bachelor degree in  International Economic Relations and an advanced master degree in Diplomacy. She works as a youth program coordinator, non-formal education facilitator, learning supervisor, and coach within Theodor-Heuss-Kolleg and also works for SALTO Eastern Europe and Caucasus Resource Centre under Erasmus+. Was part of the coordination board of Eastern European Network for Citizenship Education under Federal Agency for Civic Education and, previously,  consisted in Project Advisory Board of MitOst. Spends spare time with music, watching movies in the field of law, and beadwork. Adores animals and art. Believes that the first mission of each human in this world is to help everyone.  

Catharina Sligting
Assessor International MitOst Festival


It all started with moving from Cosmopolitan Amsterdam to Rural Portugal, to initiate a wholesome place to create, co-create and re-create, with artists, locals, students, volunteers and participants: small scale art festivals and rural art residencies, land art and local interventions. From there I took part in Tandem Europe, to initiate a similar process on the remote Greek island of Ai Stratis, where we created the pioneering “I Sea Art” festival. Interdependency between the urban and the rural, awareness of the potential of the countryside, necessity  of an ecologically balanced natural environment, and social, cultural, ecological and economical sustainability is my passion and ambition that I bring with me to MitOst.

Catharina Sligting, along with her husband, founded Associação Domínio Vale do Mondego, a beautiful property holding a large farm and several buildings over 10 years ago. She serves as its Artistic Director. As director she organises large theatre projects with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of participants based on the classics, holding huge productions on the grounds. After studying languages and mastering business administration, Catharina spent 20 years developing new cultural initiatives, art projects and location theater. She started her career directing a medieval castle in the Netherlands, spending 10 years restoring its life and cultural relevance. Cathrina considers the keys to her success were never really saying no because she could always see the opportunity, and naturally having a huge reserve of energy that helps her get things done very quickly.

Sabrina Schulz


It all started with this idea in Novi Sad to convince MitOst members to join a Europe wide river swimming event to raise awareness about water protection. In the end, MitOst convinced me to be a new member. 
Without MitOst I would have missed a lot.
MitOst 2030 means for me a time when economic and political actors cannot avoid speaking, involving and exchanging with the civil societies on an eye to eye level when it comes to developing the future in your city and neighbourhood, whether rurally, regionally or worldwide.
I also would like to say: We should never stop enriching our civil society engagement with good music, dance and good food.

Sabrina Schulz grew up in Hamburg and studied applied cultural studies in Lüneburg with a focus on languages and literature. However, cultural geography, social ecology and sustainable development of rural regions attracted her more. As a freelancer, she has worked on promoting ecological farming and was part of a research group for social innovations in the water sector. While organising an environmental action for European youth in Greifswald, she became acquainted with MitOst. She currently works at Deutsche Umwelthilfe in Berlin.

Karsten Michael Drohsel
Assessor Regional Groups and Activities, Strategic Communications


It all started with a beautiful journey to the MitOst Festival inIvano-Frankivsk and the special community spirit which I really felt familiar with.

Without MitOst I would have less deep relationships and friends all over the MitOst countries and less insights into the real news in all the countries I know people in. At least I would have less experience in my field of work.

My MitOst utopia MitOst 2030 … 2030 is quite a long term. I'm usually thinking and acting in shorter terms. But if I'm thinking of an Utopia it wouldn't be much different from now: Both now and then, I will find MitOst as a democratic, aware and sustainable network of people who are still dreaming and fighting for democratic values, for global peace and equity as well as for common values such as repect, solidarity and justice. I also hope we will be pioneers in gender equality.

I would also like to say: Only together we are strong, so let`s keep the fire together!

Karsten Michael Drohsel is a graduate engineer in urban and regional planning, game developer and urban artist. He runs the Impuls Office Berlin, in which he is active with different projects and project groups and develops and practices playful approaches for participative processes and local memory discourses with partners. Privately, he is involved in teacher education and develops and plays with refugees games for German as a foreign language. 


The members of the board are elected every two years (annually until the change of statutes in 2016) by the members assembly. The members of the board are working voluntarily. They coordinate and chair the work and development of the organisation MitOst.  

Rules of operation (in German)
Board members 2015/2016
Former members of the board (in German)