Member of Living Lab

Meet our International Living Lab Teams and Partners!

Our ERI Living Lab program for Central America is headquartered in Guatemala under the leadership of Zachary Towne-Smith.  We offer a cultural immersion study abroad program focused on sustainability.  We have numerous local partners who are part of the program such as: Imagitlan, Kula Collective, Seeds for a Future, Collectivo Ejo and others.

Zachary T. Towne-Smith

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Co-Executive Director of ERI Living Lab

Zachary Town-Smith was first hired as our ERI Living Lab Program Director for Guatemala.  His position was to oversee the coordination and administration of all aspects of our program in Guatemala including planning, organizing, staffing, leading, and controlling program activities with our partners on the ground.  His primary duties and responsibilities was to do the planning of the program, developing long-term goals and objectives and together with the USA team created a business plan and evaluation framework.  After a few months, Zachary became our ERI LL co-Executive Director for Guatemala and expanded his role to assist in the promotion of the program to faculty, grad students, organizations and companies overseas especially in the USA.  It was his idea to initiate the creation of our  first ERI LL online course that evolved into our UDEMY online course "Become a Leader in Sustainability"  Both Zachary and Annie are the co-writers and instructors on this course.

Daan Lambrecht

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Program Coordinator for ERI Living Lab

Daan Lambrecht was brought on our team by Zachary Towne-Smith.  They worked together for Imagitlan in Guatemala.  His position is to help with the coordination on the ground for our ERI LL Guatemala.  He was instrumental in planning and providing our organization with the overall logistics for the study abroad program.  Extremely well organized inidivdual, Daan helped us develop our program and evaluation framework. 

He was born in Mexico, with a Guatemalan mother and a Belgian father.  Daan has an extensive experience in issues of development and community organizing, having done consulting work with various organizations in themed community organization and project management, among which may be mentioned the development and research design, problem trees and solutions, logical framework, schedule of activities, stakeholder mapping, fundraising plan, regulations and administrative manuals, monitoring plan, among others.

Fernando Soto Tock

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Central American Advisor and Director of Colectivo No'j

Fernando has a Bachelor degree in Philosophy and Science from the Free Institute of Philosophy and the University Iberoamericana in Mexico City. He also received a Bachelor degree in Technical Journalism from the School of Journalism Carlos Septien Garcia in Mexico City. He studied Non Violent Conflict Resolution at the Cooperative Institute in Panama focused on Ludopedagogy and Creative Interculturalism.

Angeles Rodriguez Garcia

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Central American Advisor and Director of Colectivo No'j

Angeles holds a "Business Manager" degree from the National Polytechnic Institute in Mexico. She studied technical journalism from the School of Journalism Carlos Septien Garcia of Mexico City. Angeles did studies in Agriculture and Environmental Law and graduated with a focus on Gender, Ethnicity and Religion.  She received her Ethnic National Diploma on Reality and Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as did graduate research in the Social Sciences, Ludopedagogy and Creative Interculturalism. She has been the  Program Coordinator of the Austrian Development Cooperation in Guatemala on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Rights of Women and Youth from 2002 to 2013. Experienced in developing training processes on gender, Human Rights and Identity.

Suzanne and Earl de Berge

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Field Study Coordinators

Suzanne and Earl De Berge ​are the founders of one of our Guatemala partners, "Seeds for a Future".

Suzanne, also President of Seeds, participates in the organization's community development and health initiatives. Suzanne's interest in traditional culture and women's issues finds expression in her work within the context of rural Guatemala.

Earl brings 40 years of experience in the social sciences, business and urban planning to the challenges of sustainable development in rural Guatemala. With his wife Suzanne, Earl has been visiting and working in Guatemala since the late 1970s.

About Earth Rights Institute

The Earth is the birthright of all people

Earth Rights Institute (ERI) is designed to be an equilateral knowledge platform, where local people collaborate with academics and development professionals, both local and foreign, by exchanging skills, experiences, and knowledge to solve crucial development issues such as widespread poverty, land right disputes and environmental degradation.

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