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

Brisch, Benedikt 



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.

Fenner, Dietrich Wolf 
Program Manager


Dietrich Wolf Fenner is the Program Manager of the German Center for Research and Innovation (DWIH). He manages the center’s day-to-day operations and supports the executive director in its strategic development. He is also responsible for growing the center’s vast network and membership base and for raising awareness of its activities in the science and innovation community.

Prior to his time at the DWIH he served as director of the German Academic International Network (GAIN) in New York City from 2017 to 2019. GAIN is a joint initiative of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. He designed and organized events, workshops and training opportunities to aid German researchers in North America with their professional development.

He has given numerous talks on the German research landscape at various conferences. He organized the annual GAIN Meetings and Talent Fairs GAIN18 in Boston and GAIN19 in San Francisco.

Until January 2017 Dietrich was head of communications, events and development of the Berlin based Government Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future (Stiftung EVZ). From 2006 to 2011 he served as spokesman and public relations officer for the Federal Foundation for the Study of the Communist Dictatorship in GDR. He is a journalist by training and worked for the TV production company of the Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group.

Dietrich holds a Master’s degree for German literature studies, contemporary and modern history, economic and social history of the Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg. He also studied history, English literature and Italian at the University of Cape Town.

Dietrich lives with his husband Thomas in Yorkville, Manhattan. He loves to run in Central Park, rides his bicycle through all the five boroughs and fancies a good read. He has a terrible passion for baking and contemporary European and American cinema.

Helmes, Julia 
Program Officer


Julia Helmes is the Program Officer at the German Center for Research and Innovation (DWIH). Her responsibilities consist of event management and general office administration.

Prior to joining the DWIH, 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.

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


Johnson, Jarred 
Communications Officer


Jarred Johnson is the Communications Officer at the German Center for Research and Innovation. He is responsible for marketing and outreach including the DWIH’s monthly newsletter, their website and social media presence. Previously Jarred was a Communications Officer at the German Consulate General Chicago.

Jarred holds a B.A. in English literature and German from Western Kentucky University. Following graduation Jarred spent a year in Saarbruecken, Germany where he served as a Fulbright Program English-teaching Assistant in two college-preparatory high schools.

Having grown up in the Appalachian mountains, Jarred enjoys nature, Dolly Parton and southern comfort food. You can find him most Saturdays in Hells Kitchen playing volleyball.