Abdul Otman, IT & Operations Manager, interim Communication Officer

Born in Libya, and raised in France, Abdul holds an engineering degree in Digital Technologies from Telecom SudParis and a Masters of Science in Information and Communication Technologies from the Asian Institute of Technology. He has a strong IT background as well as in 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 holds a Bachelor’s degree in European Ethnology and Social Sciences from the Humboldt University in Berlin. As a basis for her bachelor’s thesis, she conducted field research on the project “Living in Sustainable Villages” initiated by the German Ecovillage Network, GEN Germany. This project inspired her to explore the question of barriers to, and opportunities for a sustainable transformation of the food system in the region of her case study. She was an elected ECOLISE Council member from 2019-2021 and absolved an internship at ECOLISE with a focus on the EU’s rural development and agricultural policy and has in this context begun to explore the potential of the CLLD programme for the mainstreaming of sustainable community-led initiatives. Currently, she is a student of the Master’s programme in Environmental Governance at the University of Freiburg, Germany and has recently joined ECOLISE’s team as a policy officer.

 

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.

Jane Feeney, Communications and Campaigns Lead

Communications consultant and researcher committed to environmental and social justice, Jane has 12+ years’ multi-sector experience in Ireland, the UK, Spain, India and Colombia. With an MA in Environment, Development and Policy and a PhD in Geography, her research interests include environmental policy, biodiversity conservation, political ecology and socio-ecological conflict. Jane has worked as a digital marketer and project manager with communications agencies in London and Barcelona and with an NGO in Bhubaneswar, India. As a freelance copyeditor and consultant with NGOs, academics and activists, Jane has supported the dissemination of critical news and research on human rights, gender equality and conflict dynamics.

Juan del Río, Co-Director

Juan is an international facilitator of community transformation and social an ecological innovation processes. He has worked for 15 years designing and implementing projects and trainings on local resilience, systemic change and sustainability in Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. He has been involved in several social movements and transnational networks, developing skills as a network weaver and outreach expert. He is co-founder of Transition Spain and member of the project Municipalities in Transition. He is also the author of “Guía del movimiento de Transición”, and codirector of the film ALTER NATIVES. Juan holds a BSc in Biology and a MSc in Sustainability. He lives 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.

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.

Ricardo Silva, Transformative Learning Project Manager

Ricardo has been writing, designing and coordinating innovative projects for almost a decade. Originally with a MSc in Innovation Management, he has become active in climate action movements such as Extinction Rebellion, Ende Gelände or Stay Grounded – founding his own collective Camp Collapse, to support individuals in their own journey of socio-ecological transition.

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