Born in Heringen on 24 August 1970; Protestant
In 1990 gained higher education entrance qualification (Abitur) at the Werratal school in Heringen; from 1990 to 1991 completed non-military national service, working for the Protestant Church; from 1991 to 1997 read political science, public law, German studies and sociology at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt am Main, scholarship holder of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.
Graduated in political science; worked as a tutor and research assistant at the Center for North American Studies at the University of Frankfurt am Main; 2000 - 2002 worked as a lecturer at the Otto Suhr Institute for Political Science at the Freie Universität Berlin.
Since 1987 member of the SPD; active member of the Young Socialists (youth section of the SPD): from 1993 to 1995 Deputy Federal Chairperson, 1996 to 2015 member of the executive committee of North Hesse district, since 2015 Member of the SPD Executive Committee in Hesse.
Since 1998 directly elected member of the German Bundestag, electoral district 169 Werra-Meissner – Hersfeld-Rotenburg; 2009 to February 2014 Secretary-General of the SPD in Land Hesse and, likewise from 2009 to 2014, spokesperson of the SPD members of the Bundestag from Land Hesse; until 2013 spokesperson on Europe of the SPD parliamentary group.
Since 2000 member of the Board of Trustees of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe Foundation.
Since 2004 member of the Hesse synod of the Protestant Church in Kurhessen-Waldeck; member of the Chamber for Public Responsibility of the Protestant Church in Germany.
Since 2013 Minister of State for Europe at the Federal Foreign Office.
Since 2014 Commissioner for Franco-German Cooperation, member of the Deutsche Welle Broadcasting Board, member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute for European Politics and member of the board of the Franco-German Institute in Ludwigsburg, Chairman of the supervisory board of the Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF), member of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation Flight, Expulsion, Reconciliation, member of the Foundation Council, German Foundation for Peace Research (DSF).