Our team

At the Brussels Headquarters, there is a small and dedicated team.

Clarissa Spencer

NEF Management Assistant

Clarissa joined NEF in March 2015.  She has 20 years of experience working as Management Assistant in both public and private sectors in Brussels. Clarissa is responsible for the administrative and financial operations of the NEF secretariat in collaboration with the programme managers of the different initiatives. She has a large experience in building relationships with various stakeholders among which suppliers, IT providers, accounting firms. The full back office support is under her supervision.


Denisa Ticusan

Programme and Communications Intern – European Programme for Integration and Migration (EPIM)

Denisa joined EPIM in August 2016 as a Programme and Communications intern. She holds a Bachelor degree in International Relations and European Studies and is currently doing a Master of Arts in International Relations with International Conflict and Security at the Brussels School of International Studies (University of Kent). Before joining EPIM, she worked as an intern for the European Institute in Romania and was part of the organizing team for conferences and events. She is fluent in both English and French.


Fanny Georges

Programme Officer – European Programme for Integration and Migration (EPIM)

Fanny is working as Programme Officer for EPIM and joined NEF in June 2015. She holds a Master degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology with a specialisation in Migration, Minorities and Multiculturalism from the University of Leuven and a Bachelor degree in Arts & Culture from the University of Maastricht.

Throughout her studies and professional life, Fanny has developed a passionate interest for the fields of migration and integration. Before joining EPIM, she worked for the King Baudouin Foundation, for FEDASIL and was a cultural mediator on a voluntary basis with Romanian Roma migrants.


Luisa Marino

Programme Manager- European Foundations’ Initiative on Dementia (EFID)

Luisa joined NEF in 2015 as Programme Manager of the European Foundations’ Initiative on Dementia (EFID). She was previously Project Manager at the European Network of Science Centres and Museums (Ecsite) where she managed a portfolio of science in society-related projects funded by the European Commission.

Previously, Luisa worked in the area of development cooperation and at the European Parliament as Accredited Parliamentary Assistant. Luisa holds a Master’s degree in Political Science and International Relations, she speaks Italian, English, Spanish and French.



Roy Virah-Sawmy

NEF Intern

Roy joined NEF in March 2017 as a trainee.  He holds a LLB, English and French Law from the University of Kent, Canterbury and is currently working towards a LLM in Human Rights Law at the Brussels School of International Studies(University of Kent).

Roy previously worked in the legal field in his home country, Mauritius and also has experience in journalism.  He had the opportunity to live in Mauritius, England and France.  His personal and professional life has now led him to Brussels.


Michael Diedring

Director- European Programme for Integration and Migration (EPIM)

Michael Diedring became the Director of EPIM in early 2016. For more than two decades he has been a leader in the non-profit sector, working on an array of issues including asylum, international rule of law development and professional education.

Prior to joining EPIM, he was Secretary General of ECRE (the European Council on Refugees and Exiles) and remains a member of the International Advisory Board of Oxford University’s Refugee Studies Centre. He received his Juris Doctor from Syracuse University College of Law and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in rhetorical speech from Drake University.


Peggy Sailler

Peggy Saïller

NEF Executive Director

‘Cruise captain’, oversees the general direction of the boat

Before joining NEF as Executive Director in 2007, Peggy worked in the humanitarian sector for 7 years, in the fields of migration and post conflict, for the Red Cross, the Intergovernmental Organisation for Migration, in Afghanistan, the Caribbean and in Geneva. She started her professional path in the area of economic development with the Economic Mission of Chile in Paris and holds a Master in Foreign Trade.


Sara Bensaude De Castro Freire

Programme Manager – Children and Violence Evaluation Challenge Fund (CVECF)

Sara is the Programme Manager of the Children and Evaluation Challenge Fund since June 2013. She was previously the coordinator of scientific projects at the International Union of Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE).

Sara also worked with various NGOs, including Médecins du Monde, Oxfam and Panos Institute, in sub-Saharan Africa where her work mainly related to community based approaches and responses to HIV/AIDS and sexual violence. Sara holds a Masters in Anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, and a Masters in Public Health and Development from the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium.


Sarah Sommer

Programme Manager – European Programme for Integration and Migration (EPIM)

Sarah worked as NEF Communication Officer before becoming Programme Manager for EPIM. She holds a BA in International Political Management from the University of Applied Sciences Bremen and a Master of Arts (with Distinction) in International Relations from the Brussels School of International Studies (University of Kent).

Previously, Sarah has worked in Hannover, Berlin and Brussels for the German Bundestag, the German Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs, the German trade union ver.di and the German Embassy at Brussels, concentrating on labour market, social and migration policy. She is a native German speaker with excellent English and a basic working knowledge of French and Spanish.


Sophie Ngo-Diep

Programme Manager – European Programme for Integration and Migration (EPIM)

Sophie joined EPIM as Programme Manager in September 2016. Previously, Sophie was the Regional Network Developer and Funding Coordinator of the Migration and Development Civil Society (MADE) programme at the International Catholic Migration Commission.

Before that, she worked for 3 years on refugee resettlement and integration. Sophie also worked for the EU Delegation to Cambodia, the European Association for the Defence of Human Rights and volunteered for the Belgian Red Cross. She holds a Master in European Policies and Public Affairs from Sciences Po Strasbourg, a Master in Political Science from Pantheon Sorbonne and a Degree in Economics and Management from Paris-Dauphine.[at]