The MISEREOR Board of Directors consists of three members
On 1 April 2012, Fr Pirmin Spiegel assumed office as Director General and Chairman of MISEREOR, the German Catholic Bishops’ agency for international development cooperation.
Fr Spiegel was born in Gro?fischlingen in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate in 1957. From 1990 to 2003 and again from August 2010, he worked as a missionary in Brazil. Right from the early days of his work there, he came in contact with MISEREOR. The family agricultural school he set up in Capinzal/Lima Campos in 1995 was co-funded by MISEREOR. In 1981, before he had completed his studies, Spiegel spent several months in Piauí in Brazil where he stayed with Norbert Herkenrath, who was a parish priest there at the time and was appointed Director General of MISEREOR a year later.
Pirmin Spiegel, who himself comes from a farming family, studied philosophy and theology in Frankfurt/St. Georgen and was ordained priest on 7 June 1986. He worked as chaplain and parish administrator in Kaiserslautern and as chaplain to the CAJ (the German branch of the Young Christian Workers) in the Diocese of Speyer until 1990. After that, he worked until the year 2000 as a priest in three parishes comprising 67 communities across three districts in Lima Campos (Diocese of Bacabal) in the Brazilian federal state of Maranh?o. He was given leave to train lay missionaries in Maranh?o and beyond until 2003. In 2004, Fr Spiegel returned to Germany, where he served as parish priest in the parish cluster of Blieskastel-Lautzkirchen until 2010. In the summer of 2010 he returned to Brazil once again to train and support lay missionaries in various countries in Latin America.
In December 2012, Pope Benedict XVI bestowed on him the title of Monsignor.
Managing Director, International Cooperation
Dr. Martin Br?ckelmann-Simon (born 1957, married, three grown-up sons) has been a Member of the Board of Directors of MISEREOR since 1999. He is Deputy to the Director General and Head of MISEREOR’s International Cooperation Division.
He started working with MISEREOR in 1985, serving first as a desk officer for Brazil, Chile and Paraguay, then as Head of the Latin America Department from 1995 to 1999.
Before joining MISEREOR, he held positions in the Africa and Latin America Departments as well as in the field of humanitarian aid with Dienste in übersee (‘Service Overseas’) and Brot für die Welt (‘Bread for the World’)/Diakonie. He gained his first personal experience of the living conditions of the people in the Global South when he went to Brazil as part of his studies of development sociology at Bielefeld University, which was later on followed by countless stays in and project-related visits to a wide variety of developing countries over many years.
As MISEREOR’s Managing Director in charge of international cooperation, Martin Br?ckelmann-Simon, who holds a PhD in social sciences, is in charge of development cooperation with partners in Africa and the Middle East, in Asia, Oceania and Latin America. He is a member of the Committee of Katholische Zentralstelle für Entwicklungshilfe e.V. (Catholic Agency for Development Aid), of the German Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, of the Assembly of Delegates of the German Caritas Association and of the Central Committee of German Catholics. In addition, he serves as a standing representative in the General Assembly of Deutsche Welthungerhilfe, as a member of the Heads of Programme Forum, and deputy member of the Board of Directors of CIDSE.
Managing Director, Human Resources, Administration and Finance
Thomas Antkowiak, born in 1955, has been a Member of the Board of Directors of MISEREOR since February 2006. He is Head of MISEREOR’s Human Resources, Administration and Finance Division.
Thomas Antkowiak's portfolio at MISEREOR encompasses managing the Department of Human Resources, including the Association for Development Cooperation (AGEH) Contact Desk. At the same time, he is in charge of the other Departments included within the Division. These are the Finance and Accounting Department, Organisational Department, Central Documentation and Information Department, IT Services, Legal Affairs and Internal Auditing. He is also responsible for MISEREOR’s activities in the field of fair trade and the development volunteer service.
Representing MISEREOR vis-à-vis its 'subsidiaries', Thomas Antkowiak is chair of the GEPA shareholders' meeting, chair of the BEGECA administrative board, deputy chair of the MVG supervisory board, and a member of the administrative board of Raptim Deutschland GmbH. He performs these duties on an honorary basis.
Thomas Antkowiak is also deputy chair of AGEH, and a member of the boards of AGKOD and ZdK.
Mr Antkowiak's involvement in development cooperation began when he was diocesan chair of the Association of German Catholic Youth (BDKJ) in the Diocese of Hildesheim. There he helped develop the partnership with the Church in Bolivia.
After training as a forwarding agent he went on to study law in G?ttingen, and served as a trainee lawyer at the regional high court in Brunswick. Having completed his second state law examination, he first of all worked in Stralsund, before being appointed Managing Director of the Jugendhaus Düsseldorf, the centre for Catholic youth work in Germany.
Mr Antkowiak is married with two daughters.