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Jeff & Romkje Fountain are the initiators of the Schuman Centre for European Studies. They moved to Amsterdam in December 2017 after living in the Dutch countryside for over 40 years engaged with the YWAM Heidebeek training centre. Romkje was founder of YWAM The Netherlands and chaired the national board until 2013. Jeff was YWAM Europe director for 20 years, until 2009. Jeff chaired the annual Hope for Europe Round Table until 2015, while Romkje chaired the Women in Leadership network until recently. Jeff is author of Living as People of HopeDeeply Rooted and other titles (see shop), and also writes weekly word, a weekly column on issues relating to Europe. Romkje co-leads the Heritage Tours with Jeff and assists in event management. They have three married sons, and seven grandchildren.

Ineta Lansdowne (Rīga, Latvia), Ineta worked in missions and community development in Southeast Asia from 2004-2016. She completed a course in Reconciliation and Justice Studies in England and has focused on international and interfaith relations in the global and European context. She has participated in various peace building projects in England, Latvia, Thailand, Myanmar. She also writes articles for the Schuman Centre as well as for her weekly blog peaceroads.com. Currently she is pursuing studies in Theology and World Religions at University of Latvia.

Mari Blaj (Iasi, Romania): Dr. Marinela C. Blaj (Iasi, Romania) helds a PhD in Antique History (with a thesis about Carthaginian history through the lens of R. Girard’s anthropology), a degree in Linguistics from the Faculty of Letters and did a master in Mediterranean Culture and Civilization at the Faculty of History, State Univ. of Iasi. Mari worked in publishing before joining the faculty of the College of Humanities and Intl Studies from University of the Nations (in 2002), where she teaches Causes of Poverty and Introduction to Biblical Worldview. The last 18 years she lectured and thought in several countries on 4 continents, from Saint Petersburg to Santiago de Chile, from Prague to Melbourne. Dr. Blaj serves in several boards, including the Board of Directors for The Colloquium on Violence and Religion (COV&R). She also served in numerous humanitarian projects in Africa (Mali and Tanzania).

Hobbies: ideas, politics, gardening

Lavinia Besliu (Iasi, Romania)Lavi has a degree in history and a MD in Intl Relationships at the State Univ. of Iasi, Romania. In 2010-2011 she studied Cultural Studies and Comparative Religious at the College of Humanities and Intl Studies, UofN. The last few years Lavi had been trained in oral history through the Institute of Oral History in Cluj. After her training at UofN she joined ywam Iasi as part-time staff. Lavi keeps teaching history in one of the most appreciated high schools in the city, Richard Wumbrandt College. From 2012 she and Mari initiated the Romanian office of SCES. Besides working with SCES as researcher, she was and still is involved in several research projects using oral history methodology, both in Romania and in North Africa, focused on communism and post-communism, as well as European values in Muslim countries.

Hobbies: intl. relations, simple people, education, Tunisia, Tanzania.

Laura Mihaly (Cluj-Napoça, Romania) is married to Florin and has two children: Sergiu and Andrei. Together with her husband she is pioneering a new ministry in Cluj-Napoca, to train Christian leaders living out biblical values in different spheres of society. She teaches in YWAM schools, runs programes of serving in local public schools and leads a youth group in the local church. Her late interests are in oral history.

Prof Dr Evert Van der Poll (senior researcher)

Evert and his wife Yanna are Dutch but have lived in southern France for many years engaged in church planting and academic work. Evert has taught Religious Studies and Missiology at the Evangelical Theological Faculty in Heverlee, Leuven, Belgium. His book “Christian faith and the making of Europe” offers an overview of the origins and nature of Europe, relating contemporary European developments to the formative influence of Christianity. The paradox of Europe, he states, is that it is the continent most shaped by the Bible, but also by the rejection of the Bible and its message. Evert has taught the Summer School of European Studies for over a decade with Jeff in Amsterdam, Geneva and Brussels, and has contributed regularly to the State of Europe Forum.

How can you be involved?

Staff are full-time YWAM personnel, while associates can be part-time non-affiliated volunteers, or affiliated with other organisations or movements. We are building a new team and looking for staff and associates to help with organising, publicity, financial management, writing, website management, and event management. Contact jeff@schumancentre.eu

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