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 Großfischlingen 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 Maranhão. He was given leave to train lay missionaries in Maranhão 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 Bernd Bornhorst (born 1962) has been a Member of the Board of Directors of MISEREOR since September 2021. He is Deputy to the Director General and Head of MISEREOR’s International Cooperation Division.
Bernd Bornhorst (born 22 February 1962) graduated in Politics, Sociology and Media Studies. He has a doctorate on the subject of “Possibilities and Limits of Non-Governmental Development Cooperation”. From 1987 to 1989, he took part in the trainee programme of AGIAMONDO – the Personnel Agency of the German Catholics for International Cooperation in Cologne, Germany – and spent longer periods of time in Argentina and Paraguay.
From 1989 to 1995, he worked as a Country Desk Officer for MISEREOR. Initially, he was responsible for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, and from 1993 also for Peru and Panama.
From 1995 to 1999, he was Deputy Head of the Latin America and the Caribbean Department. In 1999 he was appointed head of this department and in January 2007 he assumed the role of Head of MISEREOR’s Department for Development Policy. From September 2013 to August 2021, he was head of the newly established Policy and Global Challenges Department.
Since December 2013, he has been Chairman of the Board of VENRO, an association that represents the interests of 140 development and humanitarian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Germany. Furthermore, he is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Bremer Solidaritätspreis, a solidarity prize awarded by the Senate of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, and of Fairtrade Awards, a prize awarded by Fairtrade Germany to companies, organisations and civil society activists committed to fair trade.
Since October 2014, he has been a member of the Board of Trustees of GIZ, a company owned by the German Federal Government that supports the implementation of German development policy goals worldwide.
Since December 2018, Dr Bornhorst has been a member of the Group of Experts on “World Economy and Social Ethics” of the German Bishops’ Conference.
Since October 2019, he has been a member of the Commission on the Root Causes of Displacement of the German Federal Government.
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 Göttingen, 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.