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GEN-Europe council members

Robert Hall (President of GEN Europe; Suderbyn Permaculture Ecovillage, Sweden) was born in Los Angeles and grew up in rural northern California. He received a Bachelor degree in International Relations from the University of California, Davis, a Bachelor of Economics from Lund University, Sweden, and an International Masters of Environmental Engineering and Sustainable Infrastructure from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm.

Interested in global development issues, Robert has worked for the Swedish government, EU, OSCE and the UN, living for at least a year in eight different countries. After visiting Svanholm Ecovillage, Denmark in the late 1980s Robert became fascinated with the ecovillage concept. After 20 years of visiting ecovillages all over the world, he finally helped found Suderbyn Permaculture Ecovillage in Sweden in 2008. This led to his involvement in the revival of the Swedish national network, ERO, in 2010 and then the creation of the regional Baltic Ecovillage Network in 2011.

Robert was elected onto the GEN Europe Council for two years in 2010. He also became involved in GEN International and witnessed the birth of GEN Africa in 2012 before being elected GEN Managing Director by the membership in 2014. Since 2013, Robert has been assisting with the launch of the more-inclusive European ECOLISE network of local initiatives on behalf of GEN Europe. As Managing Director of GEN-Europe, he initiated the move of the GEN Europe office to the Arterra Community, Spain where it is to remain through 2018. He continues to be fascinated by ecovillages and the wisdom that they collectively create and the potential they offer for wider society's transition to resilience.

Thomas Heuser (ZEGG, Germany) studied business administration and worked for almost 20 years in one of the largest German construction companies. He has been living in the ZEGG community since the beginning of 2010 and has been Managing Director of ZEGG GmbH for five years - a challenging task in many ways. His contribution is in bringing together the working and decision-making of a large community with the demands of professional business. 

Thomas felt at home in ZEGG from the beginning and loved to live and work with friends, which is why he moved there. ZEGG offers seminars, workshops and camps to give people the experience of a cooperative and sustainable way of living. In ZEGG they also share their knowledge about living together as a community. This makes living and working in ZEGG Thomas his personal contribution to making a better world. What do he loves most in ZEGG? His goddaughter Jessica. She is the child of two friends who ‘joined’ the community two weeks after him. Thomas got to know her on day four of her life and has since spent time with her as often as possible. Why GEN-Council? Thomas has been impressed since day one by the variety of communities that form GEN. Its diversity on a common ground makes it a powerful organization. He was asked to become part of the GEN-Council during the 2012 conference in Krishna Valley. When he was asked to join the Council, he felt that he was needed there just now. He knew that there was so much to do for his community at home, but he followed his heart. Thomas is intrigued by the inspired and inspiring people that form the GEN community. His tasks in the GEN Council? Thomas will help with office structures, work flows, the financial overview and the annual budget. He is looking forward to have a share in building the ecovillage movement.

Rosalie Poskin (Los Portales, Spain) was born in Belgium and spent her early life there. In her early twenties she left for Spain and co-founded the community Los Portales. When she moved to Spain, she had already lived in a community in Brussels for 3 years.

Since her early childhood Rosalie had always wanted to create another way of living life that would not be ‘normal’, that would be extraordinary, with people from all over the world. They would create a world family living in peace, respecting and honoring each other. That was her childhood dream and she has been living it for more than 30 years now with a deepening sense of meaning and a growing feeling of richness and gratitude.

GEN has been an inspiration to Rosalie's community, stimulating and expanding the project through a broader connection with people and lots of different fantastic projects, and it has intensified the awareness of what is possible and what’s being done on a global scale. She is fascinated by the pearls of wisdom that were co-created together and she would really like to see it expand to a broader scale. Rosalie loves the work we do together!

Although the work in her own community takes up most of her time, when she was recently elected to GEN council she said “Yes!” from the bottom of her heart, humbly hoping that the wealth of experience she has gained through 30 years of community life could be put to good use. Rosalie is happy and grateful to be given an opportunity to more deeply involve herself in our collective network and our efforts for global change.

Rosalie graduated as a translator in French, Dutch and English and worked for three years in administration and at the House of Representatives before moving to Spain with the impression that the life she left behind made no sense to her. She then trained as a Jungian psychotherapist, a family and organization constellator, process worker and facilitator of integrated techniques of energetic psychology and shamanism. But her very first priority and passion has been, and still is, the development of innovative ways of life in a co-creative relationship with nature. Apart from the Jungian psychology and dreamwork, Los Portales community found inspiration in the foundations of ecology and permaculture, applying them in the social and psychological dimensions of our lives.

Rosalie has always been convinced that we are the agents of change, and that self-empowerment is key, but that we can only do it together. Los Portales is a visible presence in the local community and beyond, interacting through local and regional networks. They share their knowledge, experiences and practices through visits, workshops, trainings and by offering temporary members the opportunity to experience community life.

During Rosalie's years at Los Portales, she has fulfilled various different roles and functions, including focalising inner and group work, facilitating conflicts and keeping the vision; and, last but not least, she has also been shepherd, cook, teacher, gardener, animal caretaker, baker, mother and grandmother.

İnci Gökmen (Guneskoy, Turkey) graduated from the Middle East Technical University (METU), Department of Chemistry, Ankara, Turkey. She married a colleague from the same department, Ali Gokmen. After receiving an MS degree at the same university they went to the US and received PhDs from the University of Maryland. They started working at METU and are now both professors in the Chemistry Department. They have a son, Onur, who is a visual artist.

İnci and Ali's road and GEN’s crossed through a friend, Mete Hacaloğlu, who was one of the early Council members. Mete started an ecovillage initiative near Ankara and implemented wonderful activities. However, they had a problem with the ownership of the land. Later with a group of ten families they bought a 7.5 ha property near Ankara and started their ecovillage initiative, Guneskoy, Sun Village. They attended the GEN meeting in Poland with Mete. Since Poland, they have attended almost all of the GEN meetings. They have witnessed GEN’s childhood, and how GEN became a beautiful organization reaching thousands of people each year. They made so many friends through GEN and are feeling part of the GEN family.

İnci and Ali are trying organic agriculture on their land and are becoming an example to the villagers as Guneskoy is next to a traditional village, Hisarkoy. Traditional villages are disappearing in Turkey. They are hoping their presence can contribute to the sustainability of Hisarkoy. The GEN family has always inspired them and they have shared their experiences at GEN meetings. İnci has served as a Council member of GEN-Europe in the past.

İnci and Ali have organized EDE courses, Dragon Dreaming workshops and permaculture meetings, and helped students to start vegetable gardens in the neighbourhood and in their university. Besides chemistry İnci is teaching a ‘Sustainable Living and Green Chemistry’ course at METU and talks about ecovillages, amongst other sustainability topics. They are practising Nonviolent Communication with a group of friends. As Gandhi said “I am trying to be the change I want to see in the world.”

Françoise Janin (Hameau des Buis, France) has retired from teaching. She has four children who grew up in a small village in southern France. When they became adults, Françoise looked for a place to share a simple, easy life. She joined the adventure of Hameau des Buis in 2006 while it was still a vision. She subsequently participated in its construction. It was a beautiful adventure shared with more than 1500 volunteers over four years. Some of them went on to live here, and others became professionals in strawbale house building. Hammeau de Buis now has 20 strawbale houses, some huts, caravans and yurts, and a wonderful school with 80 children and teens from three to 15 years old.

Françoise has lived in the Hameau des Buis since the spring of 2008. She host visitors and is part of the team of trainers holding ‘Living in Ecovillage’ a five-day seminar in which they share their experience in education, green building, shared governance, and living together. Françoise participates in several working groups including Reception and Governance. She also offers homemade soap workshops with teens in the school, and adults. She likes living in Hameau de Buis because living in community helps her grow as a person, and participating in a sustainable society experience is rewarding.

Françoise discovered the existence of GEN in 2012, taking part in a Discovery Week at Sieben Linden ecovillage, Germany. This opened her horizons and gave her a lot of energy and hope. She returned to Sieben Linden in 2013 to attend an EDE, and then got more actively engaged in responsibilities at home. As part of the GEN Council, Françoise will help connecting what is happening in France and Europe in order to share experiences with the national networks of other countries.

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