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Top management

From knowledge banker to knowledge manager

by Sebastian Paust
Sebastian Paust is the new chief exe­cutive director of InWEnt – Capacity Building International, Germany. He took up his position on 1 February 2009.

A qualified lawyer, who gained his doctorate with a thesis on international law, Paust is familiar with development co­operation, not only from a German perspective. He held leadership positions at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for three years from 2006 to the end of 2008. Second only to the World Bank, the ADB is an important multilateral agency for poverty reduction and regional cooperation. It is in high demand as a partner in international cooperation.

Paust developed a feel for what is politically feasible during his time as an adviser on economic cooperation and develop­ment for the Christian-Democrat Faction in the German Bundestag. Tackling challenges in team work with others and finding sustainable, results-oriented solutions are skills he has demonstrated in various professional roles.
Paust later joined the Federal Mi­nistry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in Bonn, initially in the Sahel department. Soon afterwards, Carl-Dieter Spranger, development minister at the time, appointed him to be his personal assistant. In 1995, Paust moved to Geneva for three years, where he worked as the First Secretary in the Permanent Mission of Germany at the United Nations.

This stint in diplomacy was followed by two more posts at the BMZ, where he served first as an adviser in the evaluation unit from 1998 and later as head of department handling regional development banks and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), from 2004 to 2006. He moved on to the ADB in 2006, first as deputy executive director, and then as executive director for Germany (from 2007 to January 2009). As a member of the board, he made major contributions to turning the ADB into a knowledge bank, a bank that transfers knowledge as well as money.
Paust considers InWEnt to be well positioned in the international development polity: “InWEnt’s capacity building programmes and, above all, many years of experience in co­operation with regional organisations make this agency an important contributor to Germany’s development co­operation. InWEnt creates networks of knowledge to shape a globally just future that is worth living. We have the right approach to become a sought-after partner on international knowledge markets.”

InWEnt’s new chief executive is married and has two school-age children.