Usha Ziegelmayer has been the Director of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Dakar-Senegal Office since 2017. She graduated from the University of Leipzig in Germany where she studied African Studies and German before working for AfricAvenir International e.V. in Berlin and for the Centre for International Migration and Development (CIM) in Frankfurt.
She made her first visit to Senegal in 2008 as part of her dissertation on the socio-cultural motivations of migration by pirogue to the Canary Islands. Since then, she has returned several times as part of a project for the German cooperation GIZ and as an organiser of study trips during the DAK'ART Biennial of Contemporary African Art in 2012, 2014 and 2016.
Before joining the Heinrich Boell Foundation, she worked for the research project "New Regional Trainings - Rapid Environmental Change in Coastal Regions of Ghana and Indonesia" at the Leibniz Institute for Social and Spatial Research in Erkner, near Berlin.