Our team

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


Stephan Burger

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

Stephan joined NEF as a Programme Officer in October 2017. He has previously worked in the NGO sector in the areas of development cooperation, human rights and EU social policy. Before joining the EPIM team, he was a Policy and Membership Development Officer with Eurodiaconia, where he was co-responsible for the Roma inclusion and migration portfolio. Stephan studied history and philosophy in Germany and the UK. He speaks German, Dutch and English.


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

Luisa joined NEF in 2015. She coordinates the European Foundations’ Initiative on Dementia (EFID) and the Transnational Forum on Integrated Community Care (TransForm). 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.


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.


Roy Virah-Sawmy

Programme Officer- Civitates

Roy joined NEF in March 2017 as a trainee.  Since January 2018, Roy is the Fund Assistant for Civitates. He holds a LLB, English and French Law from the University of Kent, Canterbury and a LLM in Human Rights Law and International Law from 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 led him to Brussels.


Sarah Sommer

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

Sarah worked as NEF Communication Officer before becoming Programme Director 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.


Sara Bensaude De Castro Freire

Programme Manager – The Evaluation Fund

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.


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]

Giulia Barnhisel

Programme Officer – The Evaluation Fund

Giulia first joined NEF in 2015, and in 2018, she re-entered as a Program Officer for the Evaluation Fund: Reducing Violence Against Children.

With experience in political mobilisation and community organising, Giulia has worked as a Campaign Manager for a US Congressional candidate and as a Field Organizer focused on youth and minority voting rights in Denver, Colorado. She has also served a Gender Coordinator while at the UN Migration Agency (IOM) in Madagascar, and is passionate about inclusion, empowerment, and grassroots organising.


Leonie van Tongeren

Fund Manager – Civitates

Leonie is the Fund Manager of Civitates. Prior to joining this multi-donor initiative, Léonie spent five years at the Open Society Foundations, where in addition to managing grants she provided high level programmatic support to the Regional Director for Europe, mostly in relation to managing strategic elements of the Open Society Initiative for Europe.

Léonie received her BA (cum laude) and LLM (cum laude) in law from Utrecht University and an LLM in international relations from the Barcelona Institute for International Studies, including two semesters at Sydney Law School and at the Université de Genève. Léonie speaks Catalan, Dutch, English, French, and Spanish, has a good understanding of German, and is currently studying Norwegian.


Jimmy Halpern

Finance & Resources Officer

Jimmy Halpern joined NEF in March 2019 as Finance and Resources Officer.
He graduated with a Masters in Commercial Engineering (specialisation in Finance)  in Brussels.

Over the years, he has worked in sectors ranging from real estate to textiles. He was a marketing manager for a prestigious diamond company in Antwerp, and part of a project management team for the biggest housing project to date in Belgium’s Walloon Brabant province.
He was also responsible for finance and administration for EU-funded projects in a Communication agency.

Jimmy is also a humanitarian aid volunteer, building housing for marginalised communities in India.


Joana Gameiro

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

Joana works as a EPIM Programme Officer since June 2019. Prior to joining NEF, she worked as a Policy and Membership Assistant at the European Women’s Lobby and as a Research and Project Assistant at the Gender and Women’s Studies Research Center at Kadir Has University (Istanbul). Moreover, she worked in the field of migration in Greece and Portugal.

Joana holds a Master Degree in Human Rights and Democratisation by the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC) and Queen’s University Belfast and she holds a Law Master Degree by the University of Coimbra (Portugal). Joana is a native Portuguese speaker. She speaks English and she has a basic working knowledge of French and Spanish.


Alizée Beauquis

Communications Assistant

Alizée joined NEF as Communications Assistant in April 2019.
She graduated with a Masters in Political Science (specialization in International Relations) in France.

With experience in international development, Alizée worked as a Technical Assistant for the Cooperation Service of the French Embassy in Madagascar, and she supported the French cultural cooperation in Germany through communications and cultural programming at the French Institute of Cologne, Germany.

Alizée speaks French and English and has a basic working knowledge of German and Spanish.


Debora Guidetti

European Programme Manager – Ariadne

Debora is the Brussels based European Programme Manager of Ariadne, the network of European Funders for Social Change and Human Rights. Before joining Ariadne, she worked as independent consultant for various private foundations, CSOs’ networks and NGOs. Previously, she managed the anti-discrimination work of the Open Society Initiative for Europe (OSIFE) focusing on Western Europe for five years. From 2008 to 2011, she managed the European Programme for Integration and Migration (EPIM), a grant-making initiative of the Network of European Foundations.

Formerly, she worked for UNESCO in Cuba and Mexico and for Handicap International Belgium. She studied international relations, political sciences, culture and development studies, in Italy (Padua), France (Sciences-Po Paris), and Belgium (University of Leuven). She is fluent in Italian, English, French, and Spanish.