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We mourn the loss of Sven Seifert

30. July 2018 - Dresden
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our founding member, longtime General Director and Head of International Programs Department Sven Seifert. After a long illness, he passed away on July 18, 2018, at the age of 56.

arche noVa is Sven’s lifework. Under his leadership, the vision of a small group of young people from Dresden developed into an internationally recognized organization in the field of Humanitarian Aid and Development Cooperation and, last but not least, became a strong voice of civil society for tolerance and compassion in Dresden and Saxony.

Sven was a far-sighted and strategically thinking leader endowed with inexhaustible energy as well as will power and persuasiveness. He had the ability to inspire people and advocate for the things that were important to him with a fighting spirit. Sven was a great idealist. However, he always had a realistic understanding of what was possible as well.

Trained as a metalworker, Sven later became a hydraulic engineer. In the days of former East Germany, he already knew that he wanted to travel and change the world. Together with five friends he set out for northern Iraq to deliver relief goods in 1992. Shortly thereafter, they founded arche noVa – Initiative for People in Need. Today, arche noVa is active in 14 countries and counts more than 200 employees.

Sven never accepted standard solutions. He believed that Humanitarian Aid and Development Cooperation need to be adapted to the particular context. Instead of having the decisions made for them, the affected people should be included in the process of developing a solution. Sven acted according to the motto “A path is made by walking”. He never let seemingly insurmountable obstacles and bureaucratic hurdles stop him from providing aid where it was needed.

In 2016, Sven received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in honor of his commitment. He played an active role in all significant strategical decisions in our projects until shortly before his death. He left a lasting mark on arche noVa and leaves a void that will be hard to fill.

Letters of condolence can be sent to the following address:
arche noVa e.V., Weißeritzstr. 3, 01067 Dresden, Germany or to margret.thieme [at]

The public memorial service will take place on the 19th of August 2018 at 14pm on Schloss Hirschstein in 01594 Hirschstein, Germany

Sven Seifert’s family asks to refrain from sending wreaths and flowers.