DR. GERARDO OJEDA-EBERT A lifelong commitment to community service
For decades Dr. Ojeda-Ebert has been a pro-active community service volunteer with enormous experience in developing creative solutions to rebuild communities and empower children, youth and adults as well as professionals and organizations. Combining his ongoing studies, professional work and volunteer community service, Dr. Ojeda-Ebert has been committed to building—and rebuilding—groups of survivors for most of his life: in Europe and in Poland in particular, where he lived for more than 25 years, as well as in Seattle, WA and Latin America (in Panama City, Panama and beyond). He is also an experienced international cross-cultural consultant in strategic sustainable business development, public affairs, media relations and marketing communication for corporations with social responsibility programs and non-profit organizations/NGO’s.
For most of his life Dr. Ojeda-Ebert has been a community service volunteer and advocate for social justice, human rights, environment and bio-diversity conservation & recovery, as well as a pro-active interfaith dialog and cooperation activist. With a multi-ethnic family background with diverse faith traditions, he has been predestined to specialize in cross-cultural communication. Dr. Ojeda-Ebert has up-to-date lived, studied and/or worked in 10 counties worldwide and he speaks English, Spanish. German, Polish, French, Italian and Yiddish/Judesmo. He also reads Dutch and Portuguese.
A CHILDHOOD OF COMMUNITY SERVICE - CHILE
Dr. Ojeda-Ebert's life work is inspired and modeled after his father, Jorge Ojeda-Fehrenberg- a lifelong social justice and human rights activist in Concepcion, Chile, who also served as a volunteer fireman and board member and sponsor of various local nonprofit organizations. Gerardo’s first community service experiences were at the very young age of 10, assisting his father in hosting, at their home, various families of survivors of the largest ever registered earthquake and Tsunami with its epicenter in Concepcion, Chile. He also subsequently assisted his father in his “Roof Volunteers” brigades (Voluntarios del Techo/VT) a grassroots initiative launched by his father in the aftermath of the earthquake, helping survivors to re-build roofs over the ruins of their homes.
He also supported his father‘s yearly Inter-Provincial Bicycle Raises (Carrera Ciclisticas Inter-Provincias) to foster biking as a healthy participative outdoor sport in Chile. His first independent year-long volunteer job was then at age 14 at the Protectora de la Infancia Leonor Mascallano in Concepcion, Chile, where he facilitated after school art workshops and outdoor activities and games with orphaned kids of that Chilean orphanage.
At that young age he also became an advocate for the rights of the indigenous people in Chile specially of the Mapuche nation. As a university student (Communication Sciences/Journalism) in Santiago de Chile he actively advocated for social justice, as well as for social, educational and economic rights for the underprivileged in Chile and Latin America. This is also when he started studying comparative religions and got interested in interfaith dialog and cooperation for peace and understanding in the world.
EARLY UNIVERSITY YEARS - GERMANY & POLAND
In Germany he studied Sociology and Philosophy at the University of Leipzig and simultaneously worked as a pro bono community service volunteer. For over 5 years he supported the international human rights campaign for Chile and other Latin American countries suffering under human rights violations by the military dictatorships, as well as attending the incoming flow of Chilean refugees to Europe. He followed his time in Leipzip with a pro bono associated researcher cooperation with the Institute for the New Chile (INC) in Rotterdam, the Nederland, exploring peaceful ways to secure Chiles reencounter with democracy. In Germany he also starts a pro bono community service cooperation with the Lutheran Church in Germany (Aktion Suehnezeichen/ Atonement Action).
Subsequently in Warsaw, Poland he conducted academic research at the Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences (while working for his Ph.D. in Social Sciences with a focus on national minorities and nation building processes); he simultaneously studied Yiddish drama for three years; attained an Actor Status in Yiddish Drama (With the Jewish State Theater in Warsaw); and enlivened performances at the Jewish State Theater in Warsaw (PTZ) as a professional actor and singer for over 10 years. In Poland he also performed extensive community service and worked rebuilding communities with Holocaust survivors and their families. In Poland he continued his previous interfaith pro bono community service cooperation with the Lutheran Church in Germany (Aktion Suehnezeichen/ Atonement Action), helping to foster dialog between Germans and former victims of Nazi Germany: Poles, Jews and Gypsies. Simultaneously, (shuttling regularly between Warsaw-Vienna-Nuremberg-Amsterdam for two years) during the completion of his Ph.D. thesis at the Institute for Sociology and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), he created in Utrecht, The Netherlands, in memory of his grandmother, the Ilse Kroneberg Stichting (IKS) an interfaith foundation to foster family-style homes for biological and social orphans.
RELOCATING FROM POLAND TO SPAIN - LATE '80s
An active member with the Polish independent and free trade unions, NSZZ Solidarnosc, starting summer 1980, Gerardo relocated with his Polish family to Spain in 1985 under General Jaruzelsky Military Martial Law in Poland after his military coup December 13, 1981. In Spain, Gerardo underwent an intensive training in meeting & quality tourism industry (Congress, Conventions & Incentive Trips), as well as event planning and marketing communication in Madrid and Seville. He worked as Director of the Spanish Meeting Industry professional magazine, Congresos, Convenciones & Incentivos (CC&I), and became an associate with VKV, an event planning agency in Madrid.
After the catastrophic Chernobyl nuclear accident (April 26, 1986) and the radioactive cloud going over Ukraine, Bielorusia, Poland and other European countries, he started with the support of the Polish Airlines representative and the Jewish Community in Madrid, Spain, a solidarity campaign purchasing and sending large shipments of iodine tablets and canned condensed milk to Warsaw.
RETURN TO WARSAW, POLAND - '90s
Gerardo returned to Warsaw after the fall of the Berlin Wall and regime change in both Chile and Poland in 1989, as Managing Director of the first western advertising agency to open doors in Warsaw in 1991 (Ideapiu-MAPP). Still in Madrid, he had already become co-founder and would remain Long Year’s key shareholder of one of the leading Polish Public Relations and Event Planning Agencies: Multi-Event Communications (still one of the top five in Poland www.multipr.pl).
In Warsaw, Dr. Ojeda-Ebert also became the co-founder of a Tourism Publishing House & Media Relations Agency: United Publishers. He works, even still today, as a consultant to large multinational corporations entering the emerging markets of central Eastern Europe (PepsiCo Inc, PCI, KFC, TacoBell , PizzaHutt, SmithklineBeacham Pharmaceuticals, etc) with a special focus on crisis management and damage control. He also participates successfully in strategizing and executing important components of parliamentary and presidential electoral campaigns in democratic Poland.
Gerardo volunteered for several years as an advisor with the president of the Association of Polish Volk Universities in Warsaw; fostering education for youth and adults from the country side and small towns in Poland. Simultaneously, he transferred the official seat of his Ilse Kroneberg Stichting IKS childcare foundation from Utrecht to Warsaw. He went back to school in Warsaw and attended psychotherapy studied at Warsaw's Laboratorium Psychoedukacj. A going back to school that would soon be followed by several years of ongoing trainings in NLP, Hypnotherapy, Transformational Education, Science of Mind, Life Coaching and Psychological Kinesiology in Seattle, WA. FORMATION OF LIFE-INTEGRATION IN SEATTLE
At this point, he simultaneously started the first incarnation of Life-Integration Counseling and Coaching practice in Seattle. In 2015 he retrained as a Transformational Life Coach with Seattle Life Coach Training (SLCT) and completed additionally Psychological Kinesiology training (PSYCH-K).
YOUTH WORK - SEATTLE TIKKUN OLAM (For the improvement of the world)
After his relocation to Seattle, Dr. Ojeda-Ebert started his extensive community service volunteering activities with various youth development NGO’s in Seattle, WA such as:
Co-founder of two High School Robotics Clubs in West Seattle with US First Robotics www.usfirst.org
Board Member in Seattle with Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility (WPSR), the Peace Nobel Prize winning NGO www.psr.org, with a special interest in their “Cops & Docs” teen gun violence prevention program
In Panama and beyond, he joined forces with nonprofit agencies such as The Benjamin Kullmann Foundation in Liechtenstein www.kullmannfoundation.org and the Fundación Pingüi www.pingui.edu.co in Colombia, to develop and realize a new model of family-style orphanages for at-risk kids in areas of extreme poverty in Latin America with special focus on Barranquilla, Colombia.
As a volunteer mentor with Community for Youth at Risk (CFY) Dr. Ojeda-Ebert underwent ongoing youth mentor training during the several years he volunteered as a mentor, mentor-recruiter and mentor-coach. He also obtained training as a volunteer youth counselor with Power of Hope during the various years he volunteered for their yearly summer youth gatherings.
“A common friend in Panama City doing sustainable reforestation there, had introduced me to Benjamin Kullmann, a successful young German entrepreneur with the dream of establishing such a facility for orphaned kids in Latin America. Very quickly we synergized his dream project to help orphaned kids in Latin America with my postponed family-style orphanage project. We brought this dream to life with his generous funding via his Foundation in Lichtenstein and my child & youth counseling/coaching know how and family style orphanage model. The required documentation for the Childcare model and the Operation Manual for the planned home cumulated to a total of 460 pages of my authorship. It was like writing my second Ph.D. thesis. Two and a half years later our NGO and Family Home for orphans obtained Operation License by the Colombian Institute for family Welfare (ICBF) and first kids got assigned to our home in Barranquilla. Official inauguration was in October 2014. (Dr. G.J. Ojeda-Ebert)”
INTERFAITH DIALOGUE AND COOPERATION After the tragic events of September 11, 2001 in New York Dr. Ojeda-Ebert joined the Interfaith Council of WA (ICW) in Seattle, today called The Interfaith Network, www.theinterfaithnetwork.org, where he authored and led the Uncommon Bonds interfaith youth programs at Washington’s Interfaith Council for five years.
Starting in 2015 Dr. Ojeda-Ebert co-facilitated with Rabbi Olivier Benhaim and Seattle, WA-based Bet Alef Meditative Synagogue & the Bet Alef Learning Institute (BALI) www.betalef.org, an interfaith Meditational Jewish Heritage Study Tours to Czech & Poland.'
Back in Europe for one to three months a year, Dr Ojeda-Ebert is now also providing Life-Integration™ coaching, facilitation and training to individuals and groups. He works on interfaith dialog and cooperation and volunteering with environmental protection projects in Europe.