Meet our team:

Max von Abendroth, Executive Director


Max von Abendroth joined Dafne as Executive Director in 2017. Being more than 15 years involved in leadership positions in EU public affairs, he helped setting up the joint Dafne/EFC Philanthropy Advocacy initiative. Max is the initiator of PEX, the European platform for national, regional and thematic philanthropy associations. He holds several Board positions in the charity sector. Max studied Economics and Business Administration at the Witten/Herdecke University in Germany.

Hanna Hanses, Junior Manager

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Hanna Hanses is Junior Manager at Dafne, working on PEX, and is part of the legal team at Philanthropy Advocacy, joint Dafne & EFC initiative. She is passionate about bringing people together on issues such as climate change, gender inequality and racial injustice, and advocating for an enabling environment for philanthropy in Europe. She holds an LLM International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex, United Kingdom. Hanna brings with her a multi-cultural experience, having lived in inter alia the Democratic Republic of Congo, Switzerland and Belgium.

Anne Loewenstein, Office Manager

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Anne Loewenstein joined the team as Office Manager soon after Dafne started to operate as an independent organisation in 2019. Before joining Dafne, she was working for NEF, Network of European Foundations in Brussels. Prior to that, she held roles in Purchasing or Logistics in a variety of private companies as well as for the United Nations in Copenhagen. Over the last ten years, she has managed the offices of several small entities. She studied Marketing in Belgium.

Dr. Hanna Stähle, Senior Manager, Strategic Partnerships and Communications

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Dr. Hanna Stähle is Senior Manager for Strategic Partnerships and Communications at Dafne. She is also responsible for EU Public Affairs and Communications at the Philanthropy Advocacy initiative. From 2018 to 2020, she was Aide to the Secretary General of the German Association of Foundations where she was in charge of international and strategic programmes. Prior to that, she worked with the Robert Bosch Stiftung, one of the largest private foundations in Europe. Her responsibilities included overseeing grantmaking portfolios for civil society, media, culture and other programmes in Western and East Central Europe. She holds a PhD in Slavic Cultural Studies (summa cum laude) from the University of Passau. During her PhD studies she was a Research Fellow at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow and Aleksanteri Institute in Helsinki. She also gathered professional experience at Carnegie Endowment For International Peace in Moscow. Follow her on Twitter: @hanna_staehle.

Karalyn Gardner, Project Officer

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Karalyn Gardner joined at Dafne as Membership and Engagement Trainee in October 2020 and has been working as a Project Officer since April 2021. She holds an advanced Masters in European Interdisciplinary Studies from the College of Europe in Warsaw, Poland where she specialised in the EU’s neighbourhood and related policies. She graduated in 2019 with a BA in Classics from the University of Exeter. She has been involved in the charitable sector in the UK and has volunteered with the YMCA and the Trussell Trust.

Biray Bensu De Meulemeester, Project Officer

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Biray Bensu De Meulemeester joined the team in October 2020 as PEX Trainee and has been a Project Officer since August 2021, working mainly on PEX and International Philanthropy Commitment on Climate Change. She holds an interdisciplinary MA in European Studies: Transnational and Global Perspectives from KU Leuven, Belgium with a thesis focused on EU foreign policies and human rights. During her Bachelors in International Relations at Ege University, Turkey, Biray Bensu studied European Studies for a year at Maastricht University, the Netherlands as part of a student exchange programme.

Michelle Rossi, Communications and Member Engagement Trainee

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Michelle Rossi joined Dafne as a Communications and Member Engagement Trainee in April 2021. Prior to that, she worked as a trainee at the Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific, in the Cooperation Division and she joined the European Solidarity Corps in Gaziantep, Turkey to implement activities addressing Syrian refugees. She holds a Master in International Relations from the University of Bologna, Italy with a thesis focused on sexual and gender-based violence in armed conflicts. She also owns a Diploma in Humanitarian Emergencies and Interventions. During her Master, she took part in two exchange programmes in Poland and Spain. 

Rebecca Toma, EU Public Affairs and Communications Trainee

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Rebecca Toma joined the team in September 2021 as an EU Public Affairs and Communications Trainee. She holds a Master’s Degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science in European and International Public Policy. She wrote her final thesis on the Europeans Union Power and whether it can be considered a superpower without a European Army. During her Master’s she was also part of the LSE European Society Research project and wrote about the affects China is having on EU’s Aid and Development Policy in Africa. Previously she held the position of intern at the Romanian Representation towards the EU.