Your Charter Officers in Alphabetical Order:
Pontus Dabrink (Ockelbo, Sweden)
Role: Youth Co-ordination Team
Hi! I am Pontus, I am 21 years old, and I come from Ockelbo, Sweden. Currently I work as teacher’s assistant in my municipality, and I am committed in the board of the local ice hockey club, besides being also committed in volunteer work.
I am also a proud member of the YCT and the Charter because I like the way how people get a chance to see other countries, cultures and ways of living and meet new people as well.
All of this makes us youngsters feel to be part of something big, and makes us believe that we have a chance to make the difference in our municipalities, spreading knowledge to other youngsters about the EU and our projects, and on what the EU is, that is friendship and learning from others’ way of living.
Ingrid Mercedes Dan (Ibănești, Romania)
Role: Audit Committee
I was born in Bacău and I currently live in Ibănești.
I graduated from the University of Mathematics and Physics in Iași in 1989 and since then I’m a math teacher. At the university I met my husband and we’ve been living in Ibănești, his hometown, since 1994. We have two daughters, Lavinia and Laura.
Starting 2011, I’m director at the Ibănești Schools where I co-ordinate 465 students and 34 teachers. In addition to that, at the community level I’m involved in several cultural and social projects.
My first experience with the Charter was in 2008 when I attended a small meeting in Bièvre, Belgium. Since then, I have been to several meetings and I’ve made many friends all over the place. I think the Charter, with his unique spirit, is an extraordinary connection between us and I’m very honoured to be part of this wonderful community!
Niall Gregory (Cashel, Ireland)
Role: Presidium Member, Application Team, Web Master
Hi. I was born in Dublin and moved to Cashel in 1999. Before then, qualified as an archaeologist in Dublin and later with my PhD in Edinburgh in 1997. I started working as an underwater and maritime archaeologist in 1988, before I evolved to all other fields of archaeology. My specialisation in freshwater prehistoric and historic boats led me to being one of the founding members of Early Water Craft global organisation in Slovenia in 2015. I am also Safety Consultant for public events and festivals.
I have a son working as a Media Analyst and I married my wife, Karen in 2017. We live 3km outside Cashel, with our cats, in the countryside – surrounded by farmland.
I first participated in the Charter in 2008 at the meeting in Lefkara (Cyprus), when I was president of Cashel Chamber of Commerce. I was immediately blown away by the Charter. I have been very lucky to participate every year since and have attended many meetings. I became Communications Officer for Cashel in 2009 and then served as Charter Web Master from 2014. I am privileged to have made friends throughout Europe as part of our Charter Family.
Adina Gruia (Ibănești, România)
Role: Web Co-ordinator
Hi, I’m Adina! It is said – Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life. I believe and feel that this is my case, because my profession – I’m journalist – is also my passion.
I studied Journalism and Communication Sciences at University of Bucharest and I worked for several central press agencies, newspapers and magazines. I wrote articles for Beau Monde, Glamour, Esquire, FHM, Harper’s Bazaar magazines and I am contributing editor for National Geographic Traveler Romania magazine. Currently, I’m focusing on online writing and I am 2nd year student at the Faculty of Economics and Law. I’m also editor for www.ibanesti.ro, the official website of Ibănești Municipality, where I am publishing reports, interviews, news, pictures in order to capture the most important moments, but also the daily life of our community.
In July 2016, I took part at the Charter’s Annual Meeting in Medzev, Slovakia, my first participation at a Charter Meeting. Since that, I attended several meetings and starting 2019 I’m Charter web-coordinator. I am an optimistic and enthusiastic person, I like to travel, to write travel articles, to make new friends and I strongly believe that everyone has a beautiful story to tell!
Frank Holle (Hepstedt, Germany)
Role: Presidium Member (1st Vice President and Treasurer)
I live in Ottersberg, Germany, between Hamburg and Bremen in Lower Saxony with my wife Christine and our three children Jesper, Greta and Freda. Not to forget our cat Bo.
From 1999 – 2006 I worked as a lawyer. Since 2006 I’m working as a professional (fulltime) mayor in the Samtgemeinde Tarmstedt with 11.000 inhabitants. Hepstedt is one of eight communities in our Samtgemeinde.
My first experience with the Charter started in Stary Podvorov. I was very impressed!
Since 01.08.2014 I am member of the presidium and since 2016 I am the treasurer of the Charter. It’s a nice job – really!
Marko Jović (Tisno, Croatia)
Role: Youth Co-ordination Team
Evala!* My name is Marko. I was born in 1993 in then war-torn Croatia, a country that would wait twenty more years to become a rightful member of the European Union. Today, I’m proud of what both my country, and my local community, the Municipality of Tisno, have achieved since the official accession to this big European family of countries in 2013. And active participation in the Charter of European Communities is for sure one of those things.
In July 2016, I joined Tisno’s delegation for the Charter’s annual meeting in Medzev, Slovakia, after which I became more actively involved in my local community. The latter allowed me to put all the knowledge and skills gained through studying English Language and Literature and Art History at the University of Zadar to use. So far I have curated several exhibitions of some of Croatia’s most important artists in collaboration with prominent Croatian Art History scholars, translated Art History-related texts, and organized a number of cultural events in the Municipality of Tisno.
After being elected as the first president of the Friends of Europe Tisno Association in December 2018, I also became the first president of Tisno Youth Council established in February 2019. Both of these positions allowed me to get better acquainted with the problems and needs of my fellow citizens regardless of their age and social status, and to work on the improvement of life in my local community, which I perceive as a great honor, but also as an even greater responsibility.
My involvement with European matters, projects and meetings in the last couple of years led me to become a member of the Youth Co-ordination Team in late March 2019, which I consider to be a wonderful opportunity to contribute even more to the organisation and community that have definitely widen my horizons, and brought nothing but positive changes in both personal and professional life. Considering the latter, I will give my best for all the current and future members of our Charter family to experience the same, and perhaps join us in building common European future.
*Old Dalmatian greeting used when meeting someone
Karlo Klain (Tisno, Croatia)
Role: Application Team Member
My name is Karlo. I was born in 1979 in Šibenik, a little coastal town in Dalmatia, Southern Croatia. I live with my family in Jezera, part of the Municipality of Tisno. We have been running vacation rentals for more than 35 years. I studied Czech and Italian language and literature in Zagreb, and since 2007 I have been working as an Italian language teacher in two schools in Tisno and Šibenik area.
Starting with 2013 I’ve been actively involved in local politics serving as a member of the Municipal Council and the Council’s First Vice Chairman since 2017. I’m also Chairman of the local branch of one of the political party, and the Vice Chairman of the regional one. In December 2018, I helped to establish the Friends of Europe Tisno Association. As a Board member I really enjoy all of our activities.
The first Charter meeting I attended was in 2014 in Starý Poddvorov, Czech Republic. It was love at first sight. I was completely overwhelmed by the amount of cultural and linguistic exchange in just a few days. All I wanted back then was more Charter. After unsuccessful application by Tisno in 2016, I’ve started doing small projects for my Municipality. It paid off in 2017 and 2018 when we had two projects from Twinning towns measure of Europe for Citizens Programme in Tisno.
My effort was recognised by the new President of the Charter, Mr. Boy Scholtze who invited me to newly established Charter Application Team along with my friends Zsuzsanna from Hungary and Niall from Ireland. It’s a huge honour and responsibility to be a part of this Team.
Tomáš Kuchař (Starý Poddvorov, Czech Republic)
Role: Presidium Member
Hello, my name is Tomáš Kuchař. I graduated from a university school focused on wood buildings. Then I lived in England, where I worked as an au pair. Today I live with my wife and children Cristine, Matthew and Claire in a beautiful small village in the southeast corner of the Czech Republic. Our region is known for its warmth and keeping alive folklore tradition. There are vineyards everywhere and almost everybody produces their own wine.
I have my own company dealing with the sale of materials for surface treatment (especially wood) and also popular nanotechnologies. Because I am in charge of my time, I´m able to work for the Charter at any time. And I have been very happy to do this sort of job since 2009, when the annual meeting took place in Starý Poddvorov. Since then, I´ve been the person responsible for Charter in our municipality. I´ve had the opportunity to visit almost every meeting, so I can say that I can offer my experience and ideas.
I have known other members of the presidium for many years and I´m very honored to be in this great company because we all have a common target – People meet people.
Zsuzsanna Lukács (Nagycenk, Hungary)
Role: Youth Co-ordination Team, Presidium Member (2nd Vice President), Application Team
“I have a Master degree in Economics, and work as financial controller for a railway company. I live in Nagycenk, where I try to help my community as much as I can, I’m the vice president of the Friends of Europe Nagycenk Association.I have 2 dogs, I like playing tennis and travelling. My passion about the Charter began in 2011 at the Annual Meeting in Cashel. Since that I took part in several youth and annual meetings, but the most important that I met a lots of Friends all around Europe. I participate in communication between the Presidium and the YCT. I will remain a member in the YCT, and we will manage the youth program, work together and help the municipalities who apply for the youth project.”
Nicolai Røge (Næstved, Denmark)
Role: Youth Co-ordination Team
“My name is Nicolai. Currently, I am attending Copenhagen University, where I am studying to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Theology. I’m involved in local politics and voluntary work in my municipality. In addition to that I’m a member of the board in my local “Friends of Europe” association. I am committed to the Charter because I believe that Europe only has a future if people know how other people live, eat, talk and sleep. I think it’s very important to spread the word about how people live their lives, and to show people that, even though we come from different countries, we are all similar in some way. The European Youth needs to cross borders, as we are the future, and that is why I am a part of the Charter; I want to show people that we can learn from each other in many different ways!”
Annette Savin (Cissé , France)
Role: Presidium Member
I was born in Cissé and I always lived in this municipality which registered a significant evolution, passing from 800 to 2700 inhabitants. My career was dedicated to the teaching of the biology in an agricultural high school. But in the meanwhile, I was engaged in the whirl of municipal life with Michel BOUCHET who integrated me into in his municipal team.
I was elected as deputy mayor in 1983, then Mayor since 1995, I participated actively in the starting of “The Charter of the rural communities of Europe”, because Cissé was the municipality initiatory of this big gathering of municipalities.
I participated actively in the progress of this charter, which began with 12 municipalities, then 15 then 25 and 28 nowadays. In the meantime, an association “Friends of Europe” was born to help the multiple exchanges. Martine GARNIER is an active President who wants to promote «Europe of Citizens», in straight relation with the city hall.
Single woman, I share my house with an authoritarian cat which lays down the law! Culture is my favorite pastime, with reading, classical music (especially opera), exhibitions, travels and the discovery of big towns.
Conviviality and human contacts are very important to me.
Boy Scholtze (Esch, Netherlands)
Role: Presidium Member (President)
My name is Boy Scholtze. In 1991 I was born and nowadays I live in Biezenmortel, together with my fiancé. Biezenmortel is a small village, part of the muncipality of Haaren. Esch and Helvoirt are the two remaining villages in our municipality. In daily life, I’m a property developper. I have studied public administration and administrative law for couple of years, something which is very useful in my second job as council member and party leader in our municipality.
In 2007, I was invited to join a meeting in Bucine by Frans Ronnes. It was my first encounter with the Charter and it was an experience I will never forget. Coming home, I contacted the board of Friends of Europe Esch. I was wondering if there was a possibility to help them with attracting more youngsters to the Charter activities. Before I knew it, I became youth coordinator in the board! In 2008, Frans Ronnes and Helma van Drunen invited me to become youth coordinator of the Charter as a whole. Due to the new project system, there was an extensive youth programme containing several meetings. They asked me to coordinate the programme, to involve youngsters from all countries and to help standing up a new Charter generation. It was a very instructive period of my life and I am proud that the programme we had at the time, was awarded by the European Commission with the Golden Star Award.
Since 2017, I am chairman of Friends of Europe Esch. In June 2018, I have been elected President by the mayors and representatives of our 28 member villages. I feel honoured and privileged to execute this task together with the presidium and all members of our beloved Charter. “People meet People” is our slogan, our friendship is our most valuable asset. I am certain that, accompanied by good discussions and the exchange of experiences, we can help each other to a next level. Youngsters, adults, municipalities and ordinary Europeans. With respect for our differences, but most of all by cherishing our similarities.