Maria Lucia heads the strategic direction of the Ethics Education for Children initiative and oversees its operations, partnerships, and budget. She is responsible for strategy, positioning and resource mobilization to grow the organization’s impact, influence and reach. Maria Lucia is also in charge of Arigatou International’s engagement in child rights initiatives with UN agencies and mechanisms, and child rights-focused NGOs in Geneva.
Prior to her appointment, Maria Lucia was the Coordinator and Deputy Coordinator for Education and Fragility for the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) and served as Program Officer for Arigatou International Geneva.
She convenes the International Consortium on Nurturing Values and Spirituality in Early Childhood for the Prevention of Violence, and the Working Group on Children and Violence of Child Rights Connect. Maria Lucia is currently a member of the Executive Committee of Child Rights Connect.
Maria Lucia believes in the power that children and young people have to transform their societies and the critical role that education can play in their empowerment and in creating more inclusive and peaceful societies.
Maria Lucia holds a Master's in Peace and Conflict Transformation, a specialization in Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Finance.
Maria Lucia is from Colombia and lives in France. She speaks Spanish, English and French.
Eleonora currently serves as Senior Expert for Ethics Education for Children for the Arigatou International Geneva on the implementation of ethics education programs and the delivery of training programs on interfaith and intercultural education using a transformative pedagogy approach. She has expertise in onsite and online training design, delivery and evaluation. In addition, Eleonora leads Arigatou International‘s partnerships development, resource mobilization and organization strengthening processes, including coordinating communication, advocacy and outreach, as Head of Partnerships and Development.
Eleonora has been working for over 16 in the field of sustainable and inclusive development covering multiple assignments in diverse international organizations and NGOs both in the field and in headquarters. Her first formal employment was as an intern at the Italian Embassy in Damascus in 2007.
Eleonora works in the areas of policy advocacy and outreach, as well as program design, coordination & management. She is the author of several policy papers and knowledge resources, including teachers’ guides developed for UNESCO and Constitution Building Recourses developed for International IDEA.
Eleonora started her non-profit career in 2005 setting up an NGO in Italy to support incarcerated people to achieve University Degrees in Economics and Political Science, in order to access the job market after the detention.
Eleonora has a BA in Diplomatic Studies from the University of Trieste, majoring in Rule of Law and Human Rights, an MA in International Relations from the University of Florence, Majoring in Comparative Law and Islamic Law, and a second MA in International and Public Policies from LUISS Guido Carli University, Majoring in Migration policy of the EU and sponsored with a full scholarship from UniCredit and Universities Foundation from Milan, Italy. Eleonora completed her Quantitative Research and Analysis Course at the London School of Economics in London in 2013.
Suchith currently serves as the Program Lead for the Ethics Education Fellowship program on behalf of Arigatou International - Geneva and is based in Sri Lanka.
He has 14 years of experience leading training programs on interfaith and intercultural ethics education in over 40 countries, including for ministries of education, educators, religious leaders and youth. Suchith had previously served as the lead trainer for Arigatou International's partnership with UNESCO IICBA from 2017-2022 focusing on building teacher capacity in education for peacebuilding and prevention of violent extremism. He has also served as an international trainer of Arigatou International's Learning to Live Together program since 2010.
Reflecting on his immediate context in Sri Lanka, Suchith is passionate about contributing to social healing in divided societies. He has a background in Conflict and Peace Studies and speaks English and Sinhala languages.
Paula leads the communications strategy of Arigatou International Geneva, ensuring consistency, coherence, and a better impact and reach. She is responsible for the development and implementation of the organization’s external and internal communication strategies, including media/public relations, marketing, general communications and program-focused communications.
Paula is from Chile. She speaks Spanish and English and has good knowledge of French. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Humanities with a specialization in History and a minor in Social Communications. She also holds a Diploma in Business Administration.
Before her engagement with Arigatou International, she founded and managed her own social entrepreneurship to help women in Chile to overcome poverty. She has been a volunteer teaching children and adolescents for many years.
Paula is convinced that education is our most powerful tool for building peaceful and inclusive societies, and she trusts in the efficiency of effective communications to inspire deep reflections and spark positive social change.
Sandra is responsible for overseeing the engagement of children across all ethics education programs; this includes ensuring that children are reached out in meaningful, respectful, and child-friendly ways and that programs create opportunities for children to actively participate, lead collective actions, and be connected across borders. Sandra also coordinates the Children’s Solution Lab, a program that provides support and small funding to child-led projects in different parts of the world.
Sandra believes that actions towards ensuring the wellbeing of children can attain long-term impact only when children are taken into account and empowered to take the lead. Sandra is deeply committed to listening to children with an open heart and respect, and to working on their suggestions, requests, and needs.
Sandra joined Arigatou International in 2016, before her engagement she served as a staff and volunteer at non-profits in Japan and Latin America. She also worked as a reporter and editor for printed and online media, covering current affairs on a wide range of topics. Sandra holds a master’s degree in Cultural Studies with a major in Communications and a Bachelor's degree in Journalism and Communications.
Sandra is based in Brazil. She is originally from Ecuador and speaks Spanish, English, Portuguese, and French, and has knowledge of Japanese.
Bethany is responsible for managing and coordinating ethics education programs to promote the holistic development of children and to advance their well-being. She is the global coordinator of the Toolkit to Nurture the Spiritual Development of Children in the Early Years, developed by the International Consortium on Nurturing Values and Spirituality in Early Childhood, comprised of over 22 diverse partners. Bethany provides technical support to the training area and implementation of other ethics education programs, contributes to their design and development, and ensures their quality through follow-up evaluations and monitoring.
Bethany is originally from the UK and speaks English and intermediate Spanish and Portuguese. She holds a master’s degree in Gender Studies from Utrecht University, Netherlands, and a bachelor’s degree in History from Cardiff University, UK.
Prior to joining Arigatou International, Bethany worked as an Early Years educator in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and in Lisbon, Portugal focusing on inclusive practices through play- and project-based education. She published her first children’s book, Suzie The 8 Legged Painter, in March 2021, which aims to encourage conversations with children aged 3-6 on social issues. Bethany is also an associate of RINGS, the international network of institutions of advanced gender studies, which connects leading research institutions from the global North with the global South.
Vedika is responsible for the advocacy and external relations for Arigatou International Geneva, in which she maintains and seeks out potential partners and advocacy opportunities. She also supports the Executive Director in her responsibilities for resource mobilization.
Vedika holds a master’s degree in Children’s Rights from the University of Geneva. Before that, she completed a bachelor’s degree in Education. Additionally, she has a certificate in International Law and UN mechanisms.
She has always wanted to work in helping children create a more peaceful world and she believes that through the power of education, it is possible.
Vedika has Indian origins, and she is from Switzerland. She speaks proficient French, English, and Marathi, and has knowledge of Italian.
Emma is responsible for supporting the GNRC (Global Network of Religions for Children) Children´s Committee, which includes developing and implementing a learning program, liaising their global participation and overall facilitating empowerment spaces. She is also responsible for developing a child engagement strategy for Arigatou International, liaise children's participation in Arigatou International activities in collaboration with the different initiatives, and supporting safeguarding training opportunities.
She is especially committed to the promotion of participation, as a fundamental means to nourish the well-being of children and youth. She is thoroughly engaged and passionate about inclusion and diversity, and highly values multiculturalism as a pathway to achieve significant results in any domain.
Prior to joining Arigatou International, Emma worked in Bolivia with different organizations ranging from grassroots, to non-governmental organizations, local governments and intergovernmental organizations, in the field of childhood, adolescence and youth. She has also worked for Tik Tok, moderating emotionally triggering content, putting her on the front line of ongoing social media interaction. This has heightened her quest to advocate for mental health and well-being for this segment of the population.
Emma holds an MSc in Social and Cultural Psychology, a Specialisation in Psychosocial Community Intervention, and a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology. She is from Bolivia, currently based in Portugal. She speaks Spanish and English and is proficient in Portuguese.
Sanjanee Ambegoda is from Sri Lanka and is based in Colombo. She is the Coordinator of the Ethics Education Fellowship Programme. She is responsible for coordinating the Fellows, Partners and other stakeholders.
Sanjanee has a bachelor’s degree in Law and in Social Work, as well as a master’s degree in Sociology. She is a visiting lecturer at the University of Technology, Sydney, Sri Lanka Branch, teaching Society and Culture.
She has worked as a consultant on media issues, gender equality and social inclusion, as well as with several organizations on projects related to disability, sexual violence, youth advocacy and democracy. She has also worked with the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka.
Sanjanee is a Trainer of Arigatou International’s Learning to Live Together program and has been a Facilitator of ethics education and peacebuilding training programs in Sri Lanka.
As the coordinator of the implementation of the Toolkit: Nurturing the Spiritual Development of Children in Early Childhood in Mexico, Silvia works closely with implementing partners to support capacity-building activities and collect evidence from the field.
Silvia firmly believes that nurturing children's spirituality in their early years is essential for building resilience, overcoming violence, and promoting peace. She is committed to leveraging her expertise to help safeguard the well-being of children and believes that her work can make a significant difference in children’s lives.
Silvia is also supporting the implementation of the PREVENIR project for the Child Protection Alliance in Central America and Mexico. She holds a degree in International Cooperation, a master's in Education, and a second master's in Theology and Contemporary World. As a trained psychologist, Silvia has worked with various faith-based organizations and networks, gaining invaluable experience in promoting social justice and advancing human rights.
Silvia is Mexican and resides in Oaxaca. She is fluent in English and a native Spanish speaker, and is currently studying French.
Currently working as an Intern on Ethics Education, Ikran supports the mapping of ethics education programs being implemented worldwide.
Hailing from Kenya, she is a third-year student pursuing Information Science at the University of Nairobi.
Ikran's journey with Arigatou International began in 2020 when she joined the GNRC Children’s Committee. Through this platform, she actively voiced and shared the challenges faced by young children and girls in her community. In 2021, she coordinated the implementation of a project that used art to demonstrate the importance of education to young girls in her community. The project was awarded funds and support from the Children’s Solutions Lab, a flagship program of Arigatou International that promotes child-led initiatives.
As a child advocate, Ikran has represented Arigatou International in global meetings sharing her ideas and letting the world know of the various issues young children go through. In 2021, she served at Arigatou International –GNRC Nairobi as a Communications Intern.
In 2022, she was part of the Children and Youth Advisory Group for the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children.
Ikran is passionate about promoting education for the younger generation and is an advocate for girls’ education. She believes that education is a powerful tool that can be used to eradicate harmful cultural practices that are still being perpetuated in her community. Ikran is also looking forward to continuing her education and creating an impact in her community standing out as a role model to younger girls.
Dorel is originally from Romania, and has lived in Switzerland for 14 years. With more than 17 years of experience, he is an expert in tailored accounting and advising SMEs and NGOs in administrative and accounting processes.
Dorel graduated from Electronics Engineering and holds a Postgraduate Diploma in IT from the University of Iasi; he also holds a specialization in the field of Educational Technology from the University of Geneva and a Diploma in Accounting. Dorel speaks Romanian, French, English, and German.