Abdul Otman, Operations Lead, Project Manager: Curiosoil, Awakening Soil Curiosity to Catalyse Soil Literacy

Born in Libya, and raised in France, Abdul holds an engineering degree in Digital Technologies from Telecom SudParis and a Master of Science in Information and Communication Technologies from the Asian Institute of Technology. He has a strong IT background and project & operations management with significant experience in building teams and inspiring them to be agents of change. Abdul lives in Findhorn Ecovillage, Scotland, and is a Council member of Global Ecovillage Network Europe. abdul.otman@ecolise.eu

Amelie Krug, Policy Officer

Amelie Krug works as a policy officer at ECOLISE and is a master’s student of Environmental Governance at the University of Freiburg. During her bachelor’s degree in European Ethnology and Social Sciences she began her research on community-led initiatives as potential agents for sustainable development, focusing on rural areas and food systems. Within ECOLISE, she has been active in various roles since 2019, networking with members and partners, strategizing and advocating for transformative policies which address the deep socio-ecological crisis that we are facing. 

 

Anastasia Oprea, Project Manager  FLIARA: Female-Led Innovation in Agriculture and Rural Areas

Tasia has joined the ECOLISE team as PM for the FLIARA project. She also supports the Fundraising Circle, particularly by being engaged in Horizon project proposal writing. Given her profile as a PhD student/researcher in international politics, particularly everyday practices in ecovillages and European citizenship and food justice, she plans to contribute to the revival of the Learn domain. She grew up in Bucharest, Romania and lived for a few years in Lisbon, Portugal. She has a particular interest in situational analyses, bringing in the Eastern European and feminist perspectives while aiming to integrate environmental justice and social justice through her practices. 

 

Carmen Contreras, Content and Social Media Manager

With over 7 years of journalism experience, Carmen is a dynamic professional specializing in crafting and implementing impactful communication strategies, as well as creating engaging content for social media and digital platforms. Her focus is on critical global issues such as systemic change, the climate crisis, and feminism. Originally from Lima, Perú, Carmen has a diverse background that enriches her perspective. Having worked in environmental organizations in her hometown and in Brussels, Belgium, she brings experience of working with multicultural teams. Now based in Barcelona, Spain, Carmen has a proven track record of producing multimedia reports, podcasts, educational campaigns, documentaries, and articles for media. She has also played a role in covering international negotiation spaces like COPs, contributing valuable insights to the global discourse on pressing issues.

 

Duncan Crowley, Community Engagement Officer

Duncan is an Irish architect exploring community-led ecocities. A climate activist for a quarter-century, his work seeks to build bridges between different communities, languages, movements, and peoples. He is part of Lisbon’s Regenerative Practitioner community and completing an action research PhD after his Masters in Environment & Development in Curitiba, Brazil. While in Barcelona, he co-founded a Transition group, gained a Permaculture Design Certificate and participated in 2011’s Indignado square occupations. Part of Indymedia since 2002, he helped livestream the People’s Assembly with indigenous leaders from Copenhagen streets during 2009’s COP21, had video documentaries screened on cable TV and art galleries, organized film series, street theatre workshops and many parties. His involvement with ECOLISE began in 2019, as part of FCUL, through UrbanA. He served as Co-President from 2021-2022 and collaborated on the 2019 COP25 climate delegation to Madrid, Transformative Cities and Portugal’s participation with the European Day of Sustainable Communities. Duncan is a river lover, Degrowth-er and big fan of adventures and comics.

Eamon O’Hara, Former Executive Director

Eamon O’Hara did the groundbreaking work of leading ECOLISE as the Executive Director for the first 7-years since the organization was founded in 2014. Now he is transitioning to a new role in ECOLISE. Eamon initiated and co-founded ECOLISE. He has been managing EU projects and initiatives on local development and the environment since 1994, both in Ireland and in Brussels where he worked with AEIDL and the European LEADER Observatory. In 2007 he lead the external communications team for the EU LIFE programme, with responsibility for coordinating the activities of 15 experts in communications and the environment. Eamon holds a bachelors degree in environmental science, a masters degree in climate change and sustainable development and post-graduate qualifications in business administration, project management and rural development. He now lives in France.

Henrique Cachetas, Events and Tech Support Officer

Henrique has an interdisciplinary scientific education in astronomy, nanotechnology, archaeology and cultural studies. Based in Braga, Portugal, he has worked on youth science education, technological innovation and several other businesses, from sports equipment to thermic isolation made from recycled paper. He is the founder of a branch of New Acropolis in Braga, an international organization for human development through philosophy, culture and volunteering. He has been teaching philosophy at New Acropolis since 2012 and leads ecological projects of reforestation and river cleaning. ">

Juan del Río, Co-Director

Juan is an international consultant and facilitator of community transformation and social and ecological innovation processes. He has worked for more than 15 years designing, initiating, managing and implementing projects and trainings on local resilience, systemic change and sustainability in Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. He is a skilled network weaver and outreach expert, with long experience in social movements, transnational networks, and partnership building. He is a transition catalyst, and co-founder of Transition Spain and the project Municipalities in Transition. Author of “Guía del movimiento de Transición”, and codirector of the film ALTER NATIVAS – Building possible futures. He holds a BSc in Biology and a MSc in Sustainability along with other facilitation, regeneration and ecosocial design studies. Juan has supported and served ECOLISE since its beginning, first as a founding member, then as a network coordinator and since December 2021 as a co-director. He lives with his family in Cardedeu, Spain, where he has a permaculture garden. 

Laura Kaestele, Network Weaver

Laura Kaestele works as a network weaver, designer, grower, project manager, and facilitator in integrative design, ecological regeneration, community and organisational development, permaculture, and holistic living with 10+ years of practical experience in the eco-social field. With a love for nature, evolution, and creative collaboration she has supported various networks, non-profits, sustainable communities, eco-projects, and regenerative farms around Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Central America to learn, synergize, and take transformative action for regeneration. Her expertise as a network weaver is to cultivate thriving impact networks guided by nature’s principles, relationship building, collaborative processes, and effective technology. Laura holds an MSc in Regenerative Development and a BSc in Integrative Ecosocial Design from Gaia University International, along with Permaculture and Ecovillage Design certificates as well as participatory leadership, facilitation, coaching, and sustainability education training.

Laurence Modrego, Policy Officer and EU campaigner

Laurence is an adviser and trainer in EU advocacy, policy, and politics with a two-decade experience in Brussels. A French citizen of Spanish descent, she has made it her life’s mission to build bridges between cultures on one hand, and between governments and citizens on the other. She holds a BA in Socio-Anthropology and an MA in European politics. More recently, after training in permaculture design and organic market gardening, she decided to do a Master’s degree in Agroecology to contribute to Europe’s agricultural transition and give a second life to her family’s farm in France. Laurence enjoys taking part in collective garden projects in her neighbourhood.

 

María Sánchez, Communications Lead

Strategic and creative communications consultant, Maria has over a decade of experience working in both the profit and non-profit sectors. In the last couple of years, she focused on climate action as a Communications Coordinator in Sunseed Desert Technology and as a Course Organizer for Ulex Project. She is involved in the degrowth movement and committed to building inspiring narratives that leverage socio-ecological change. She is currently living off-grid in the south of Catalunya, Spain.

 

Matteo Zampatti, Events and Admin Officer

Matteo Zampatti is Chairperson and Treasurer of the Baltic Ecovillage Network, Board member of Suderbyn Cooperative and Council member of Relearn Suderbyn NGO. He is involved in several working groups of GEN Europe (National Network, Projects…) and he volunteers for NextGEN and other activist movements in Europe. During the past years, he got passionate about different topics such as: co-creation, networking, facilitation, nature-based practices, permaculture and sociocracy, event organization, emotional response to the systemic crisis, community building, and bodywork.

 

Nina Klein, Policy Lead

Nina brings over eight years of experience as an advisor to the creative sectors on digital and green innovation, including funding, communication, advocacy and policy at the EU level. She has participated in over 10 EU-funded projects (HorizonEurope, Creative Europe) focussing on innovation. Community-led initiatives, such as the Transition Network Belgium, are central to her life. She animates an ecological project which combines yoga and permaculture in Belgium, south of Liège, where she lives. Nina is also an EU Climate Pact Ambassador involved in awareness-raising and capacity building related to EU policies such as the Green Deal. As an activist, Nina is currently working to build a citizens’ movement in Wallonia, Belgium. This movement “Conseil Nature” aims to give nature a voice in local politics and help make the EU Biodiversity Strategy a reality on the ground. Nina holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a MA in history and literature. Nina studied sustainability with Gaia Education and is currently enrolled in an MSC in Sustainability and Behaviour Change at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in the UK.

Pauliina Helle, Co-Director

Pauliina is a passionate network weaver. She is educated as an art educator and enjoys pedagogical planning and group process facilitation. She has long been interested and engaged in social enterprises that work for social change, justice, solidarity and sustainability. For some 20 years she has been involved in the ecovillage and intentional community movement, dedicated to regenerating sustainable social and natural environments. She is qualified wilderness guide and Ecovillage Ambassador. Pauliina lives with her family in a tiny home beside a lake in Finland in a small intentional community.

Sara Silva, CRIC Project Manager, interim Communication Officer

Sara is a landscape architect and a facilitator for sustainability. She is an active advocate for cultural change in the north of Portugal, freelancing with grassroots organisations, NGOs and municipalities, and involved in the urban agriculture, circular economy and solidarity economy movements. She is the co-founder and coordinator of Cidade Mais, a project and an annual festival for the promotion of social transformation and sustainable development, and is a member of the Municipalities in Transition core team. She’s also a co-creator of the Awakened Life Project, a community in the mountains of central Portugal dedicated to consciousness and collective transformation.
Tim Strasser

Tim Strasser, Monitoring & Evaluation consultant

works with ECOLISE on a temporary basis to develop a monitoring and evaluation framework that supports evidence-based strategic decision making and reporting for the Communities for Future strategy. This framework will help to make visible and strengthen the effectiveness of CfF interventions as well as the impacts of community-led initiatives. During his PhD on network leadership for transformative social innovation, he developed a strategy and evaluation framework that he now uses to support transformative networks like ECOLISE and Transition Network to clarify and prioritise their goals, design impact-oriented activities and monitor progress towards fundamental, widely influential and long-lasting societal change. Tim also co-initiated the Green Office Movement and continues to support student-led sustainability initiatives as a network weaver at SOS International

Zsófia Vidak, Administrative Officer

Zsófia grew up in the beautiful Hungarian Bakony mountain range, which gave her a deep connection to nature. Always curious about human behaviour, she studied cultural anthropology and international relations. Since 2014 she has been a volunteer researcher of the Hungarian Small Communities Programme and in 2020 she launched a local initiative in Barcelona (Micelio) to research and mainstream best practices of and community-led solutions for climate adaptation and sustainable transformation. She is an experienced project assistant and event organizer with financial skills. Zsófia lives between Budapest and Barcelona. vidak.zsofia@ecolise.eu