Job title: Senior Diversity, Sustainability, and Culture Manager
Christiana Bukalo is a Senior Diversity and Sustainability Manager at the German streaming startup Joyn. Her current role focuses on establishing a solid foundation and strategy for the company’s activities in inclusion and sustainability. In January 2021, Christiana will be joining Global Digital Women as a Senior Program and Business Development Manager. There, she will support the company in growing and driving their efforts around empowering women in technology. This role fits perfectly with the strong interest for new technologies and digital entrepreneurship that Christiana developed during her master’s degree.
Having been an active member and volunteer of the Evangelical church community in Puchheim, Christiana was appointed as a member of the board in 2019. She is now responsible for the implementation of new initiatives and structures in the church community. Christiana grew up stateless in Germany. She has recently joined the European Network of Statelessness and also works in close collaboration with the Institute of Statelessness and Inclusion to create awareness about this global issue. Outside of her work, Christiana dedicates her time to music. She was an active singer and dance instructor in the past.
According to the United Nations, more than ten million people worldwide do not have a nationality. These people are not recognized as a citizen by any country and are therefore referred to as stateless people.
Being stateless can mean various things, but it often leads to exclusion and a lack of access to basic human rights. Depending on the country of residence of the individual, they might not be able to attend school, open a bank account, or travel to other countries. Despite the far-reaching impact of statelessness, the topic is largely invisible. There is an extreme lack of public awareness.
While there is a steadily increasing number of non-profit organizations and individual activists who are fighting to end statelessness, the fragmented movement, disjointed initiatives, and lack of information are standing in the way of real progress. It is necessary to close the gap between those experiencing statelessness and those who are fighting to end it. The project Statefree.world aims to close this gap.
It’s online platform builds a digital bridge and connects stateless people with their allies. As a website and forum, Statefree.world will focus on addressing the need for communication and exchange in the field of statelessness and encourages stateless people to share their stories. The mission is to utilize the power of collective experience and use it to co-create the truth about statelessness. The project aims to provide a platform for an authentic reflection of what it means to be stateless in today's world. By inviting stateless people to speak up about their struggles and challenges, Statefree.world will simultaneously raise awareness and lay emphasis on the need for change and political support. Moreover, the platform will act as an information hub as well as a forum and aims to enable self-education of stateless people.
While the platform is mainly targeted at stateless people, collaboration with and participation of non-profits, activists, and policy-makers are crucial to solve the problem. Therefore, the platform encourages policy-makers and organizations to join the conversation and contribute to the crucial debate about what exactly is needed to support stateless people.
While recognizing the hardship caused by not having a nationality, the initiative chooses to move away from the negative connotation of the term “less” and chooses the word “free” instead. This is mainly because Statefree.world is driven by the belief in empowerment. Amid challenging circumstances Statefree.world will give stateless people the chance to take ownership of their narrative and create a community of belonging.