Team photo 2023 © Nathalie Schueller Photography

Learn more about the people behind DWIH New York and the work that helps us achieve our mission.  

Benedikt Brisch



Benedikt Brisch took over the position of Director of the DWIH New York as well as Director of the DAAD Regional Office New York in January 2019. After graduating with a Master’s degree in History, Slavic Languages and Political Science at the University of Cologne, he started working at DAAD in Bonn. Beginning in 1998 he coordinated a scholarship program for Russian graduates, which was funded by German industry.

During his time as Deputy Director of the DAAD Regional Office in Moscow from 2000 to 2004 a main topic of his work was the development of co-funded scholarship programs. From 2005 until 2014 he was responsible for programs of academic exchange between Germany, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where DAAD is fostering a growing number of projects in the field of trans-national education. From 2015 until his departure for New York City he was the head of the Division for Scholarships in Europe and North America at DAAD in Bonn.

Jan Lüdert
Dr. Jan Lüdert
Head of Programs


Dr. Jan Lüdert is the Head of Programs at the DWIH New York. He has a proven track record of driving innovation and excellence in higher education. He is passionate about international affairs, knowledge management, and building transatlantic partnerships.

Jan previously served as an Associate Professor at City University of Seattle where he was the inaugural Director of Curriculum and Instruction. He also held positions as Visiting Research Scholar at the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies at City University of New York’s Graduate Center as well as a Research Associate with the German Research Fund ‘Dynamics of Security’ project at Philipps University of Marburg, Germany.

He earned his Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. He recently completed Harvard Kennedy’s School Public Leadership Credential and holds a First Class Honors Masters of Arts in International Relations from the Australian National University as well as a BA in Public Policy from Hamburg University for Economics and Politics. Jan studied at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania focusing on sociology and economics. As a senior manager he coordinated grassroots’ community programs in Botswana for Skillshare International. Jan is an alumnus of Seattle’s World Affairs Council Fellows and Vancouver’s Liu Institute for Global Issues Scholar programs.

These combined experiences prepared him to progressively develop active global networks in academia, government, and industry as well as applied knowledge of the research landscape in North America and Germany.

Julia Helmes
Program Officer


Julia is the Program Officer at the DWIH NY. She’s responsible for all things event-related, including programming, planning and communications, as well as office management.

Prior to joining the DWIH NY, Julia spent two years working for an arts non-profit in Boston, teaching visual art and creative writing, and working as an Outreach Coordinator.

Julia studied literature at Barnard College, the Humboldt University in Berlin, and Trinity College Dublin where she graduated with an M.Phil. in Children’s Literature. She’s always on the lookout for a good story and thinking about ways to engage an audience.

When she’s not at work, Julia is usually drinking tea, taking a walk outside, or perusing a local bookshop.

David Kuerbiss Headshot
David Kuerbiss
Communications Officer


David Kuerbiss is the Communications Officer at the DWIH. He is responsible for marketing and outreach including the newsletter, website, and social media channels.

Before moving to the USA, he worked in Saarbrücken, Germany, for an international university network, fulfilling a wide range of tasks in PR, administration, and event management. The language enthusiast comes from a linguistics and communications background with a B.A. from the University of Siegen (Germany) and a trinational M.A. from Saarland University (Germany), University of Luxembourg (Luxembourg) and Université de Lorraine (France).

In his free time, he tries to get his dog tired, explores NYC or learns a new language.