Organization Earth was officially founded in January 2010 by 40 founding members who come from a variety of backgrounds and activities (media, academics, business, creatives) bringing different perspectives and insights to our mission.
The Board of Directors is made up by 7 members with 3 alternate members:
Maria Alexiou; Chair of the B.o.D of CSR Hellas and ESG Senior Advisor
Maria Alexiou studied Law in Athens, Greece, and specialized in human rights and civil liberties in international and European law at Leicester University, U.K. She is a member of the Athens Law Bar and Chair of the Board of Directors of CSR Hellas, a non-profit-making business association representing 140 companies (2012, www.csrhellas.org), as well as a member of the Board of Directors of CSR Europe (2018, www.csrweurope.org), member of the Board of Directors of Global Compact Network Hellas (2021, www.ungcnh.org) and current member of the experts group of the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG Lab, www.efrag.org) Project Task Force on Sustainability related to Risks and Opportunities. Maria currently serves as Environmental, Social, and Governance Advisor at TITAN Cement International (2020, www.titan-cement.com) at Group and regional level, supporting management in embedding sustainability and social responsibility in strategy and decision-making. She headed the TITAN Group CSR Department for almost two decades (2003 to October 2020). She also sits at the Advisory Board of HIGGS (2017, www.higgs.org), supporting programs to empower civil society and social entrepreneurs in Greece.
Maria Vassilakou served as Vienna’s Vice Mayor responsible for Urban Planning, Traffic & Transport, Climate Protection, Energy and Public Participation from November 2010 to July 2019. She is an experienced urban leader, devoted to livable, inclusive and green cities, with a passion for urban transformation processes leading to sustainable change. Having founded Vienna Solutions, Maria Vassilakou now works worldwide as a strategist and global advisor on urban transformation and transition management, sharing her experience and know-how with cities, NGOs, organizations and corporations. Since September 2019 Maria Vassilakou also serves as a member of the EU-Horizon Mission experts board on “Climate-neutral smart Cities“ advising the European Commission on the design and implementation of the respective mission aiming at 100 European climate-neutral cities by 2030.
Alexis Galinos currently serves as Executive Director of the BoD of Organization Earth as well as Vice President at the Athens-Epidaurus Festival. Alex holds extensive experience in local sustainable development, having produced and managed (on behalf of the Municipality of Athens), one of Europe’s first ERDF pilots in Integrated Territorial Investments (ITI). Moreover, Alex has worked extensively on Public Private Partnerships, urban regeneration and place-making, having focused on stakeholder engagement and co-creation. Previous posts include Managing Director of the Municipality of Athens Development Agency, Special Secretary and Senior Advisor at the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs and external consultant of the World Bank. Alex Galinos has worked in Greece, USA, India and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University, an MSc in Social Policy from the London School of Economics and a BA in Economics from Bates College.
Dr. Dimitris Dermatas is a Professor of Geoenvironmental Pollution at the School of Civil Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Greece. He has recently served as Chair (2018-2019) of the European Union Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law (https://www.impel.eu) and as the Special Secretary of Inspectorate of the Ministry of Environment & Energy in Greece (2017-2019). In the past he has served as Executive Governing Board Member of the Panhelenic Network of Solid Waste Management Associations (2007-2013), Governing Board Member (2010-2013) of Municipal Waste Europe (MWE) and as the General Director in the Solid Waste Management Association of Eastern Macedonia – Thrace, Greece (2007-2010). Before he was the Director of the W. M. Keck Geoenvironmental Laboratory and Associate Professor at the Department of Civil Environmental and Ocean Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology, USA (1991-2006). There are more than 4300 citations of his work and he is listed amongst the top 2% world's leading scientists (http://www.civil.ntua.gr/news/2020/12/3/16-professors-school-civil-engineering-among-top/). He has received numerous awards for his teaching and research accomplishments. He has gotten his MS (1988) and Ph.D. (1992) from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley, USA. Dimitris also volunteers in the non-profit ‘Organization Earth’ (www.organizationearth.org), of which he was a founding member (2010) and member of the Board of Directors. He was born in Thessaloniki, Greece and has three children.
Amalia Zepou served as vice mayor for civil society and innovation from 2014 to 2019 at the Municipality of Athens. In 2013, she created a civil society platform “synAthina” which was further developed into an idea that won the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge award in September 2014.
synAthina led to two flag projects in the Athens administration, both based in new collaborative processes with civil society: A strategy for addressing the graffiti phenomenon and a new model for the management of a public market building in a neighborhood in Athens.
synAthina was further developed as a dynamic network for connecting with active citizens for the integration of migrants and refugees, a project named “Curing the Limbo” funded by the European Commission’s initiative “Urban Innovative Actions”.
She was responsible for the nomination of Athens as European Capital of Innovation 2018, and the establishment of an Athens municipality new sector of social innovation.
Prior to the Municipality, she was working as an independent documentary producer while raising her three children in Athens. She has a B.A. in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics and an M.A. in Media Studies from the New School for Social Research in New York.
Avid traveler, experience gatherer, nature lover. Grew up in the city of Athens, always living with a dog. Owner of a travel agency for more than two decades specializing in African safaris and Himalayan treks. Has been involved in the humanitarian world with missions in Kosovo, Iraq and Moria, currently running Elaionas refugee camp as site management support program manager with Athenian municipality’s development agency. With a degree in marketing, a sky diver, a speleologist, having climbed Mt Kili, a trained wildlife ranger, having crossed Sahara Desert and currently training to paraglide. Owned a holistic and natural healing, feeding and keeping dog space and has organized multiple trekking and motorcycle camping trips. Devoted to the Center of the Earth which provided ample of purpose and tons of happiness and fulfillment. Always looking for a new – sustainable- kick.
Favorite quote: how you treat people you don’t know defines who you are
EU Climate Pact Coordinator for Greece. Team Leader at Aephoria.Net. President of the Hellenic Platform for Development. Member of the Steering Committee of SDG Watch EU, General Secretary at IFOAM Organics Mediterranean. Member of the Board at ActionAid Hellas, at Margarita Vocational Training Center for people with intellectual and atUN Global Compact Network Hellas. Former Executive Director at Organization Earth from 2015 to 2021.
Sergios Fotiadis studied Industrial Design at Rhode Island School of Design, he has worked for Rubbermaid in the USA, Maddison Limited, in England, J.N.Leoussis advertising, and has taught at Vakalo school of art and design. He is involved in the design and production of objects, furniture and exclusive design, interior and retail design, set design, for television and theater, graphic design, sculpture.
In 2001 he founded the creative studio “We design”, with his brother Philip, and Theano Petridou, while, since 2005, he teaches at the Department of Product and Systems Design Engineering at the University of the Aegean, in Syros, and at the International Hellenic University, in Thessaloniki, Product Design and Design Thinking. He is one of the General Secretariats and founding member of the non profit Organization «Organization Earth».
Christos Zouras and Petros Kokkalis deserve special notice since they have been involved with our Organisation from day 1, planting the seed! Today, Christos holds ex officio position of Honorary President of Organization Earth, while Petros, having been elected as an MEP, is no longer involved in matters of governance.
Christos Zouras envisioned the Center of the Earth and shaped its relationship with Organization Earth which he cofounded in 2008 and directed for 7 years. Since then he holds a seat in its Board as Honorary President.
During 2005-2008 he was the CEO of ARCTUROS NGO. For the period 2008-9, he was appointed as a Permanent Member of the Greek National Council of Country Planning & Sustainable Development. He has experience in Public-Private Partnerships, having worked in the field with Ernst & Young Consultancy Office in Athens and cofounded M-Stat Mobile Statistics SA (Telecommunications Industry). Since 2015 he joined Costamare, the leading International Container Shipping Company, with duties ranging from Internal Control to Corporate Development.
He holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Bocconi University Milan Italy, a Financial Management Certificate from ALBA Graduate Business School Athens Greece, a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from DEREE College Athens Greece, an Internal Control Diploma from the Greek Institute of Internal Auditors (Member of the International Certified Internal Auditors Association), and has completed the Art & Science of Negotiations Executive Education Program of Harvard University - Kennedy School.
Petros Kokkalis has been actively involved in public service for the past 25 years, developing social innovation focused on human and sustainable development.
In 2019 he was elected MEP with the Progressive Alliance - Syriza ticket, representing Kosmos: an association seeking to put the SDGs in the heart of the European policymaking, and aiming at the empowerment and engagement of civil society and all stakeholders to take bottom-up action for implementing the European Green Deal and the SDGs.
He is a member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) and a substitute member of the Committee on Budgets (BUDG), the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI), and the Committee on Fisheries (PECH). In the Intergroup on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development he is the co-chair of the SDGs Working Group.
He is co-founder and secretary of the non-governmental environmental Organization Earth (2009 - present) whose work on environmental awareness and education for sustainable development has been awarded by the International Union for the Protection of the Environment (IUCN).
He was elected and served as the Vice-Mayor responsible for economic development and climate change in the municipality of Piraeus (2014 - 2019), where he promoted sustainable entrepreneurship and support of start-ups in the maritime economy.
The European Commission has acknowledged its work, awarding the Blue Growth Piraeus initiative at the European Entrepreneurship Promotion Competition 2018.
During his term of office he led the humanitarian support during the Refugee Crisis in the period 2015-2016 and served as the President of the Municipal Council for Refugees.
Alexandros Kotsis Giannarakis is responsible for the design and implementation of agri-food in Organization Earth. He serves as Program Coordinator in IFOAM AgriBioMediterraneo, the Mediterranean Regional Body of IFOAM Organics International, the largest umbrella organization regarding Organic Agriculture. He is also a European Union Climate Pact Ambassador, representing Organization Earth. He holds a degree in Environmental Geoscience, from the University of Edinburgh.
Nikoletta Karystinou heads the design and implementation of educational environmental workshops in Organization Earth. She is an agriculturalist with a degree in Natural Resources Development and Agricultural Engineering from the Agricultural University of Athens. She holds a teacher certification for adult training, and she is currently studying for a master‘s degree in Bioeconomy, Circular Economy, and Sustainable Development at the University of Piraeus and the Department of Biology of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
Alexandros Kostaras, Program Officer. His academic background is focused on humanitarian and social studies, holding a B.Sc. in Culture, Media and Communications from University of Aegean, with postgraduate studies on IT, Strategic Innovation and Management. He joined Organization Earth in 2021 as a Program Officer for the Sport for Development programs of the organization.
Irini Lorentzatou is a sports educator who plans and implements programs aiming to develop and improve the social and physical health of the participants through sports. She holds a degree from the School of Physical Education and Sport Science of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens where she specialized in adapted physical education. She also holds a Psychology degree from the University of the Aegean. She has been involved in and worked with Paralympic sports, as a Referee Boccia and Goalball coach, as well as in a series of programs designed for children with or without disabilities.
Angel Babalouka has studied Communication at the State University of New York. In 1995 she started working in Marketing positions, and from 1998 she began her career in the media. She has served as Commercial Director for international media both offline and online – Mad tv, NatGeo, Fox, LinkedIn, Twitter, Wetransfer, etc.
In 2018, she joined Organization Earth team as Head of Strategic Partnerships with companies.
Giannis Borsis oversees all activities at the "Center of the Earth'' and the "Pocket Parks". He has also been responsible for Organization Earth cooking activities for the last 8 years, as part of the collective cuisine set up for corporate events that take place in the "Center of the Earth '', as well as in the "Sundays on Earth". He was responsible for organizing and implementing the kitchen at the temporary refugee camp of the Port of Piraeus as well as for the project Shamiyaana – Food for Thought: Thought for Change during Documenta 14.
Yorgos Xepapadakos has been responsible for the operation of
“Center of Earth”, since 2012. Throughout the years he has been engaging in organic cultivation, conservation of the natural environment, and implementation of experiential learning programs.
He specialized in plant production, arboriculture, viticulture, and landscape architecture, by working on the orchards and gardens of the Iviron Monastery, located at the monastic state of Mount Athos (1998-2006), and the oasis of Mount Sinai Monastery (1997).
He has published a variety of articles and investigations on ecological, humanitarian, and social issues in the Greek Press (Vima, Kathimerini, Eleftherotypia, Ethnos, Real News, Protagon.gr). He has also hosted radio shows in Greek radio stations (EPA-4, Kosmos 93.6FM, Galaxy 92FM). He has written essays on folklore, travel books, and guides for “Pegasus” editions.
Kyriaki Retzeka is Head of Programs. She develops and coordinates the annual programming, including implementation and management, as well as new strategies and partnerships development, grants applications, and events and activities planning. She holds an MBA from the University of Piraeus. She has managed and coordinated more than 30 projects with 6000 beneﬁciaries in total (humanitarian and environmental fields) in partnership with international NGOs (UNHCR, IRC, UEFA Foundation for children, Barcelona Foundation, Yuri Djorkaeff Foundation, UNICEF).
Foteini Retzo has been responsible for European, National, and privately funded programs since 2018. A sociologist with a degree from the Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, she also holds a degree in Design and Management of European Programs from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
In 2015, Foteini started working as a Ministry of Migration coordinator in the Elaionas Refugee Camp.
Foteini first joined Organization Earth as a project manager for the “Livelihoods for Vulnerable Populations in Athens” project.
Vassilis Stamogiannis, Community Engagement Manager, has been a key NGO executive on a national and European level (JEF-Europe, MEDASSET, Aegean Rebreath) and has extensive experience in developing participatory actions and initiatives in collaboration with active citizens groups, municipalities, institutions, and agencies. From 2016 to 2019 he was a member of the synAthina team, the award-winning civil society platform of the Municipality of Athens. As Community Engagement Specialist of the UIA program "Curing the Limbo" (2018-2021), he contributed to the development of collaborative actions between refugees and active citizens groups of Athens. He holds a Master's degree in European Studies from the Catholic University of Leuven with a dissertation on the European legal framework for genetically modified crops.
Vickie Stavropoulou is a program manager responsible for designing and implementing Environmental Education and Social inclusion programs. EU and nationally funded, the programs aim to educate participants about sustainability issues and foster social inclusion of vulnerable groups. She holds a degree in Marketing and a postgraduate degree in Environmental Management. She has extensive work experience in planning and running projects in partnership with NGOs, companies, and educational establishments in the UK.