Council Immersion Support Page

Monday, July 3-Tuesday, July 18

We hope you might be able to support some of our council ambassadors (listed below) to attend this event. Click here to make your financial contribution.

We invite your participation in this gathering, a culmination of 40 years sharing the practice of council in diverse communities, all kinds of schools, with couples and families, service organizations and prisons. Below you will find the list of those needing support for participation in the Council Summit to be held at The Ojai Foundation this July. You may find more detailed information of this unique gathering here.

As the conveners of this gathering, we want to work together to reach out to those who may not be able to attend the Council Summit, but want to provide support to dedicated council ambassadors. Our hope is that each person will work to raise some of the funds needed from their community and that those who are able to contribute more than their share will do so in support of those who can’t. To support this unique event financially, please visit the Council Summit Support Page.

Each participant will bring their story home of what they learned and what they now have to offer... Your participation will contribute to expanding the sharing and deepening of this practice that is so essential in our world. 

Estimated Total Support Needed: $40,825

International Participants


Ana Carolina Beer Simas—Brazil

Ana Carolina Beer Simas is an educator and researcher in the field of Sustainable Education and Collaborative Communication, working as a permanent lecturer at Federal University of Viçosa, Brazil, since 2001.  She has been learning and working with the Amazon forest, its people and medicines since 1999, serving in projects and initiatives for sustainability with communities in the Western Amazon for the last 10 years. She coordinated the AmaGaia – Ecovillage Design Education (Gaia Education) in the Purus National Forest, as part of an action research project for her doctorate in 2013. Ana met the Way of Council in 2010, and from then it has been a central practice in her personal and professional life.  She holds councils with communities in the Amazon, in the University with students and staff, in her local community and in different educational settings. Ana lives in a small ecovillage project in Minas Gerais with her partner and their three children.
Estimated Financial Support Needed: $1,825

Aslinur Akdeniz—Turkey

Aslinur currently lives in Istanbul and facilitates New Moon women’s circles, inviting women to connect to their unique feminine power and strength.

Growing up in a small town in Western Turkey in a family rooted in Islamic spirituality, Aslinur spent her childhood in council-like gatherings where women would support each other through prayers and community. She developed a strong sense of the interconnectedness of the feminine with other forms of life--an experience which bears fruits in the work she is doing at present.

Aslinur received her BA in English and Turkish Literature from Istanbul’s Bosphorus University and is currently working on her MA thesis on Rumi’s poetry. She intends to apply council in her future projects on Sufism and the Sacred Feminine, blending academic work while assisting others on their journeys of inner growth. Aslinur is currently preparing for a soul journey to the shrines of women saints in Turkey with the intention of rediscovering her Sufi family roots and honoring her ancestors’ gifts. She intends to develop collective journeys for those looking to discover their soul gifts in a spirit of unconditional love and service to the Highest.
Estimated Financial Support Needed: US $2,475

Aura Hammer—Israel

Aura is a teacher of sustainability, an activist with Women Wage Peace and is working to extend the ways of Council to a wider spectrum in order to encompass a vision of possibility. Born in New York in 1957, Aura moved to Israel with her parents and siblings in 1973. She studied architecture at the Technion in Haifa and worked as an architect for many years until she discovered her passion for working for peace. She began by co-founding a local grassroots co-existence group in Galilee, studying facilitation and organization, and facilitating women’s groups, summer camps, dialog groups, and twin-kindergartens. Through her studies and work with Arab and Jewish women she met Ronit Rinat, and discovered Council in 2004.  After studying council she became involved in Amutat Maagal Hakshava, both as a facilitator and as a member of the Leadership Council. She is a long time Council Trainer who is committed to living council and bringing council to everyone in her life.
Estimated Financial Support Needed: US $2,000

Aurore Seher Agra—Belgium

Aurore Seher Agra was born and currently lives in Brussels, Belgium. She has travelled and lived in several countries, mainly in Europe and Turkey where her family has its origins.  Council came onto Aurore’s path about 2 years ago, when she fell in love with its spirit. She also uses council in her private life, shares it as much as possible as a volunteer in a school, and also sits in council with others in Belgium. After 15 years of administrative work in different organizations, Aurore decided to change the course of her professional life and left her job a few months ago to feel into and experiment with new possibilities in the education and well-being field.
Estimated Financial Support Needed: US $2,200

Eran & Nurit Halevi—Israel

Eran and Nurit are a husband and wife team from Israel. Since 2009 Eran and Nurit have trained over 200 people as council facilitators in "the listening heart" program.

Eran is certified by Bar-Élan University as a Group Facilitator and also graduated life Coaching School and Waldorf education teacher's seminar. He facilitates council and group communication skills in Kibbutzim, community centers and organizations.

Nurit is a graduate in creative Education and has a teaching certificate. She has 25 years of experience in group facilitation and taught Continuing Education courses at Western Galilee College and Haifa University. 
Estimated Financial Support Needed: US $700

Frédéric Pjie-- France

Frédéric Pjie was born in Germany and has lived in France for more than 25 years. He is the father of 4 children. Frédéric works as a mediator, coach and supervisor and is trainer in Non Violent Communication. He is just a breath away from his Council Trainer confirmation with the mentorship of Gigi Coyle. He started his professional life as a clown, decades before; and in a way remained faithful to it.
Estimated Financial Support Needed: US $500

Galit & Shay Hanien—Israel


Galit Hanien is from the city of Haifa, in northern Israel.  A wife and a mother of three, Galit has been facilitating and leading the organizational development of the way of council in Israel. Galit and her husband Shay co-founded the Center of Council Insight in hopes of bringing the council approach to teachers, students, couples, families, businesses, and wherever else relationships and communication need to be strengthened. A Council trainer and consultant, Galit has been involved in Council training since 2002, serving as both a leader and facilitator with diverse individuals, couples, and groups. Galit has a Master’s degree in Human Resource Management and has used this training in a variety of settings, private and professional, for purposes of stress management, team building and conflict resolution.

Shay Hanien earned his BA in Business Administration from the Tel Aviv College of Business Administration and his MBA with distinction from Ecole Superiere de Gestion in Paris. Shay has been involved in council training with his wife Galit since 2002 and believes in sharing the power of authentic and open communication and transformational change with teachers, students, elders, retirees, entrepreneurs and businesses. He also has 20 years experience in the business, corporate and academic worlds, helping individuals implement innovative business plans, manage personal communication and catalyze organizational and cultural change. He has been following the path of personal development for the last 20 years.

Galit and Shay are part of the founding members of Council Trainers circle in Israel and are part of the European Council Network community and hope to bring their children, with whom they also practice council, to The Ojai Foundation for the Council Immersion this summer.
Estimated Financial Support Needed: US $4,000

Georgia Ntousikou—Greece

Georgia is from Greece and has been a carrier of the Way of Council since 2013.  She enjoys facilitating various circles with children, farmers, teachers, and women. She is a co-founder of the Soil School, “Touch the Soil, Touch the Soul” initiative and the Iliotropio, a non–profit social and environmental action society in Greece. Through these organizations, she invites people to bring their attention back to soil as a living entity, related to all life forms, and the way that it works with water in order to bring life on earth. Georgia works with children and adults to foster deep healing connections with nature and is the author of the books “Guide for children - Hands on Nature Activities for Children” and “We Can All Live Together.” She supports the School of all Relations in Greece through a one-month youth trek during which they walk and sit in council. Currently, Georgia is organizing a “Soul Journey in the Land of Greece,” an invitation to dig under overlays of nature and culture to explore the essence of the land and our relationship to it.
Estimated Financial Support Needed: US $3,575

Han Delissen

Han Delissen has lived in diverse communities in Europe over the last 20 years. Han is a communicator, graphic designer, council trainer, and member of the European Council Network. He has trained in emotional bodywork/bioenergetics, yoga, breath work, meditation and of course, the Way of Council which has been in his life since 2006. Council took Han by surprise in its simplicity and depth and the importance of listening and speaking from the heart. Han aspires to be of service, available, unconditional and selfless while helping people to follow their impulses, live their truths, and realize their full potential.
Estimated Financial Support Needed: $2,225

Itaf Awad

Itaf Awad  has been committed to women’s empowerment, community development, and conflict resolution for over thirty years.  She teaches that within each person there exists an innate wisdom that promotes growth and healing. Through the use of communication and conflict resolution tools, Itaf helps people get in touch with this simple and powerful wisdom.

Itaf has facilitated the Way of Council with the Sulha Peace Project, Beyond Words, Academy of Central European Schools, and many other organizations in Palestine, Israel, the United States and Europe.

A social innovator, Itaf directs the pioneer bi-cultural Arabic and Hebrew speaking Waldorf kindergarten, Ein Bustan. She has led numerous women's empowerment initiatives, as well as several body and soul workshops. Additionally, Itaf works with Creativity for Peace in New Mexico, and was a featured guest on Global Room for Women. Inspired by the Ojai Foundation in California, Itaf helped found the NGO Circle of Listening, in Haifa. She currently serves as the Middle East liaison to ReGeneration Education.
Estimated Financial Support Needed: US $1,000

Justice Sambo—South Africa

Justice is a confident, humble, and focused young leader from South Africa. He does not let his background or the village where he came from hold him back from achieving his dreams. Instead, he aspires to stand up, speak the truth and spread love and positivity in the face of the enormous division that is happening in our world. Justice found his inner leader while attending his first Global Youth Peace Summit in 2013. He is grateful for the continued mentorship and guidance of the Amala Foundation and looks forward to deepening his wisdom and knowledge of the way of council and peace building while attending the Council Immersion at The Ojai Foundation.
Estimated Financial Support Needed: US $2,875

Marian Brehmer—Turkey

Marian was born in Northern Germany and currently lives in Istanbul working as a freelance writer on literature, music and spirituality. Marian grew up spending his summers in ashrams, chanting mantras and attending spiritual study circles alongside his parents who were meditation teachers and lovers of Indian wisdom traditions. As such, listening was valued more than discussing. Marian is a founding member of the Turkey-based “Simorgh School of Unknowing,” where he became familiar with council work and facilitated his first council last fall.

For the past eight years, Marian’s passion for cultures and sacred traditions has sent him on a journey around the Islamic World. Marian has found a spiritual home in the teachings of Sufism, studying the Farsi language to dive into the poetry of Persia’s great mystic teacher Rumi. He is currently immersed in field work discovering the “Inner experience of modern Iranians with Sufi poetry” within the framework of his Master’s degree. Marian holds the dream of guiding inner learning journeys around Turkey, Iran and India using council as a means to connect deeply in inter-cultural understanding.
Estimated Financial Support Needed: US $2,475

Marie de Beauvoir—Belgium

Marie is a council facilitator from Belgium where she helped share and spread the practice. She is passionate about bridging the worlds, remembering the ancient wisdoms and supporting a new culture to emerge. She is eager to explore ways to reintroduce rites of passage in our western society. She studied herbalism and naturopathy and is currently completing her Master’s in clinical psychology. As a student of life she is living into a holistic vision of human nature. She loves letting her heart meet her feet in the beat and surrendering to the dance.

Marie will be supporting Gigi Coyle to weave and facilitate the Council Immersion. 
Estimated Financial Support Needed: US $850

Naomi Mwangi—Kenya

Naomi Mwangi lives in Kenya and is a leader and representative of peace. She started exploring leadership when she was in high school as a class representative and school president.  She was also active with other young leaders doing community service, which was a springboard to the Global Youth Peace summit and the International Peace Initiative where she served as a youth leader and apprentice. She has been attending the Global Youth Peace Summit since 2012 and while at her first summit, spoke of bringing the summit to her country. This year, with Naomi’s leadership and the help of the Amala Foundation, that dream became a reality. Naomi plans to bring the peace building tools of council and other practices, leadership skills and what she learns about herself back to her country and community so that she can help be a part of the change she sees is needed in the world.
Estimated Financial Support Needed: US $2,875

Pippa Bondy—United Kingdom

Pippa Bondy is a wilderness quest/rites of passage guide and Council carrier/trainer. She has developed a unique program based on a synthesis of Council and Alexander Technique. Her background includes a strong influence from training in the Alexander Technique, Tai Chi and Mediation.

“What moves me deeply is offering Council to those who are socially disadvantaged and or underprivileged - the voiceless ones. What I love is the way Council gives/finds/initiates peoples' own voice. I love to facilitate this more than anything else. I have taken this practice to social care workers, teachers, therapists and environmentalists. I aspire to continue, to stretch and broaden communication, to initiate meaningful intimate connection and a sense of peoples' own worth and beauty.”
Estimated Financial Support Needed : US $2,500

Rob Dreaming—United Kingdom

Rob’s soul purpose in this life to work with different forms of communication. Rob found Council in 2002 in a project in Greece and has been an active Carrier, Facilitator and Trainer ever since. He has over 13 years experience facilitating groups, coaching individuals, and designing and running trainings in consciousness and communication in the UK and Europe. His range of experience and practice include ZEGG Forum, restorative circles, awareness training, dreamwork, acting, and movement meditation. Rob is also a published author of several children’s books, an artist and performance poet. Rob is currently on walkabout mentoring council carriers; supporting visionary, educational and community-based projects; and seeding, watering and educating in Way of Council where it is called. Rob serves as part of the support spiral for the European Council Network. Rob is a member of the Facilitation Team for the Council Immersion.
Estimated Financial Support Needed: US $1,100

Sharon Adam & Yasmin Talmon—Israel


Sharon and Yasmin are from Israel and lead council with principals, teachers, and children in the Ministry of Education. Sharon is also the creator of Connecting Hearts Listening Cards and runs One Adamshalem Center to help people listen deeply and empathically.  Yasmin is connected to peace work around the world, working with Arabs and Jews and engaging with creativity to build peace and embodied connection.
Estimated Financial Support Needed: US $1,700

Yvan Rytz

Yvan Rytz grew up on the shores of Lake Geneva, in Switzerland, in front of the majestic Mt. Blanc, which left a profound imprint into his personality. He holds degrees in Human Geography and Environmental Sciences and a Masters in Holistic Science from Schumacher College (UK). He was the youngest ever member of Parliament at a State level in Switzerland and was an active member of the Green Party. He has lived and worked in various eco-villages and communities around the globe, in particular The Findhorn Foundation in Scotland. He is a Way of Council trainer for the European Council Network and has trained as a Rite of Passage guide with the School of Lost Borders. He currently works as the personal political advisor of a member of Government.
Estimated Financial Support Needed: US $850

North American Participants


Aimee Kelly

Aimee Kelly’s experience in mediation and facilitation ranges from board meetings for local non-profits to couples and community mediation needs. Since leaving her mediation work in 2006, she has continued to host workshops and circles for women and teens that include compassionate listening skills and honoring the essence of group intelligence.

In October 2012 Aimee and her partner began hosting monthly circles using a simple format called “Heart Circle” as a type of social sustainability put forth by Sebastapol’s Transition Town movement. It has been one of her greatest joys to learn from and nurture this circle. She finds that wisdom emerges effortlessly by simply listening to each other with intention and heart reveals qualities of life-sustaining brilliance that could surely "save" our world.

She is now interested in bringing her skills to a new level, to a more dynamic population, as well as integrating the arts with council facilitation. She sees council as a form of facilitation that allows this coming together to happen in a more organic, trusting, heart-centered way than her original trainings. She believes in this ancient and simple technology as an essential component to altering the foundational fabric of human relating in modern cultures. She is currently in Guatemala where she believes there is ample opportunity to employ this work to bridge social issues and inter-cultural collaboration.  
Estimated Financial Support Needed: US $850

Brendan Clarke

Brendan is a lover of all things wild. He grew up near the Potomac River in Maryland before studying Political Science and Spanish Literature at McGill University in Montreal. He began his work as an educator in southwest Chicago, with Teach for America. He then moved to California and spent three years immersed in deep nature connection studies, relational education, and permaculture, before joining the staff of Weaving Earth. He has spent the better part of the last decade designing, staffing, and supporting Bay Area nature-based education in schools, summer camps, homeschool programs, one-on-one mentoring, and rites of passage outings. He is a certified wildlife tracker, Iyengar yoga teacher, and Wilderness First Responder. He carries a deep passion for healing the human relationship to the planet, and especially water. He has been involved with the Walking Water Pilgrimage, and created a long-term response fund as part of his journey to Standing Rock, in the fall of 2016. He is a student of bird language, council, mythology, and the greater dreaming of these times. He currently teaches English, Advisory, and Personal Sustainability at Credo High School in Rohnert Park, and does nature-based mentoring for youth. He is currently on the council trainers path.
Estimated Financial Support Needed: US $1,475

Leslie Roberts                  

Leslie Roberts has grown from roots in wild nature and the healing arts, harvesting fruits from practices as diverse as Bioenergetics, Gestalt Therapy, Hospice, plus wilderness retreats for organizations and spiritual communities. She studied with Steven Foster and Meredith Little, and collaborated with Gigi Coyle and Marlow Hotchkiss in offering Nature of Council both in California and in Findhorn, Scotland.  She is a Senior Council Trainer with The Ojai Foundation for over 20 years, where she initiated the Path of Service programs, in addition to extended in-service trainings to support artists, teachers, care-givers and social workers, including Deepening the Medicine, Tracing the Arc, and Nurturing the Call to Service.  In Leslie’s words, “I strive to live in council, to engage the natural world and our own inner wilderness, returning again and again to the songline that connects us all.”
Estimated Financial Support Needed: US $600

Marlow Hotchkiss                                                  

Marlow Hotchkiss is a poet, educator, wilderness and ceremonial guide, with over 45 years experience working with young people and adults in schools, non-profit organizations, and intentional communities.  In addition to serving on the Ojai Foundation’s staff and Board of Directors for 20 years, he was, with Gigi Coyle and Jack Zimmerman, a co-founder of Ojai’s Leadership Council.  And along with Gigi, Leslie Roberts, and others, has helped to launch and support the European Council Network.  He continues today as a Senior Trainer with the Center for Council Training, and serves as a member of the Foundation’s Elders Council.
Estimated Financial Support Needed: US $600

Siri Gunnarson

Siri Gunnarson is a global pilgrim, council trainer, youth leader and student of community. Interested in both new and ancient forms of learning, she has supported, created and lead journeys and rites of passage for youth. She has coordinated and participated in diverse projects around the world, including natural building ‘peace huts’ in Kenya and Tamera’s Global Campus, a cross-cultural educational initiative to study and create models for peaceful and regenerative living. Siri trained with the School of Lost Borders and is part of Beyond Boundaries, an intergenerational ‘response team for our times’. Connected and committed to the Ojai Foundation, Siri serves on the Council of Advisors and is involved with the Water Regeneration Project. After many years of travel she has returned to California, collaborating with LEAPNOW Transforming Education and fostering connection and community locally.
Estimated Financial Support Needed: US $850

Sharon Shay Sloan

Sharon Shay Sloan is an educator, wilderness rites of passage guide, council trainer and consultant. She is founding director of the Indigenous & Community Lands & Seas program for The WILD Foundation, and has had the honor of working with, alongside and/or for Indigenous Peoples from hundreds of nations. She is co-editor of Protecting Wild Nature on Native Lands and co-author of the report Cross-Cultural Protocols in Rites of Passage: Guiding Principles, Themes and Inquiry. Through it all, she looks to Nature as teacher and to restore relationships toward everyday cooperation with life.
Estimated Financial Support Needed: US $750


Estimated Total Support Needed: $40,825