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Board and management

Āris Ādlers – President (Latvia)

Elected as a president in 31st of october, 2018 (Reelected as a board member in 9th of october 2019)

I am expert of rural and regional development. Since 2007, I have managed and developed National Civic rural development network (Also LAG network) “Latvian Rural Forum”, by strengthening cooperation between rural NGO, Local Action Groups, Municipalities and National Civic networks. Recently I am manager of Local Action Group “Jūras Zeme” (Sea land), president of  “PREPARE network”, president of Alliance for Cross- sectoral  development and lecturer in Riga Technical univercity.

I have more than 16 years’ experience in project, activities and organizations management. The main expertise covers civil society development projects and public participation, campaigning and advocacy projects. 10 years of experience in providing training on community and business development issues for community animators, members of partnerships, local development and local action groups facilitators.  (+371 26468620, aris.adlers@gmail.com)

Goran Šoster- Vice President (Slovenia)

Elected as a board member in 31st of october, 2018

I am executive director of Development Agency Prlekija and LAG Manager. Co-founder of the Slovenian Rural Development Network (2002) and it’s President in the years 2008-2014, Coordinator of PREPARE in the years 2009-2014 and President of PREPARE in the years 2016-2018. Co-founder of the Slovenian Rural Parliament and co-chair of the European Rural Parliament. Co-author and editor of the book Rural Parliaments – Emerging Participative Democracy. Researcher, economist, ecologist, pioneer of organic farming in Slovenia and PhD candidate in Local Economies. More than 30 years of experience in the field of regional and rural development, organic agriculture, sustainable tourism and ecology.

Urszula Budzich-Tabor – Board Member (Poland)

Elected as a board member in 31st of october, 2018

I am co-founder and board member of the Polish Rural Forum and represent the PRF in PREPARE. I am also president of the Agroline Association and vice-president of LDnet (a network of European practitioners of local development). Expert, trainer and author of many publications on the LEADER/CLLD approach. Coordinator of PREPARE in the years 2006-2009. Since 2009 until the present, Thematic and Territorial Coordinator in the European Fisheries Areas Network (FARNET); from 2014 till 2016 I was also responsible for LEADER in the Contact Point of the European Network for Rural Development (ENRD).

Leotrim Gërmizaj – Board Member (Kosovo)

Elected as a board member in 31st of october, 2018

I am National Coordinator of Network of Organizations for Rural Development of Kosovo (NORDK) and founder of World Youth Alliance Kosovo. I have been engaged as a consultant in various national and regional projects and campaigns including past engagement for three years in Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development and in Assembly of Kosovo as a external consultant engaged through project.  I worked directly with some active organizations and youth networks in Kosovo and in region, aiming development of youth policy and promotion of active youth in rural areas. I have been graduated from Faculty of Law in University of Pristina , Master in Administrative Law – University of Pristina and I am finalizing the Executive Master in European Union Studies, an international study program based in Berlin,Germany.

Kim Smedslund –Board Member and Secretary-General (Finland)

Appointed as a Secretary General in 31st of october, 2018 and elected as a Borad members in 15th of May, 2020

I am Master of company law and teacher of French and Swedish languages, started with local and regional rural development activities in 1997 as project responsible in a municipality and a business development centre. I have published a study on EU institutions development from a politico-legal perspective in 1993. Since 2001, I am in different managing positions in a LEADER-group. International coordinating activities in the Finnish Village Movement from 2007 led to participation in European community/villages networks of rural development (ERCA/PREPARE) and finally to a joint coordination role in the European Rural Parliament (ERP) partnership/network in October 2016.

Nikša Božič – Board Member (Croatia)

Elected as a board member in 15st of May, 2020

Nikša Božić is a registered architect with more than 20 years of experience in the fields of urban and spatial planning. The area of his professional interest is spatial planning for small towns and rural areas as well as planning for protected cultural heritage areas. He is an active member (on a voluntary basis) of Croatian section of ECOVAST (European Council for the Village and Small Towns). He was actively involved in organizing a number of conferences and/or gatherings (including the first and second Croatian Rural Parliaments), and was an editor of several publications related to rural development and small towns. He lives in Zagreb, Croatia

Evelina Azizaj – Board Member (Albania)

Elected as a board member in 15st of May, 2020

Evelina is the National Coordinator of the Albanian Network for Rural Development leading capacity building, networking and advocacy initiatives for improved well-being of rural communities in Albania. In addition, Evelina is the Program Manager of Local Governance and Integrated Development at the Institute for Democracy and Mediation. She has more than 15 years of experience in programming and management. She is highly involved in evidence-based and bottom-up advocacy initiatives which seek to put forward the priorities of local communities in rural areas. She has been the Coordinator of the first nation-wide and bottom-up advocacy platform – the First Albanian Rural Parliament in 2017. Evelina holds a Master of Science in Administration from Andrews University, U.S. In addition, she is also a qualified project manager and holds the PRINCE2® Practitioner level qualification – a global project management methodology – awarded by APMG-International in 2015.

Virginija Šetkienė-Treasurer (Lithuania)

Appointed as a treasurer in 15st of May, 2020

From 2001 I’ve started to work with most wonderful, honest and sincere people – it’s rural people and rural movements, and I still do and love what I do. I’m chairperson of Lithuanian Rural Communities Union (LRCU) from 2018. LRCU unites more than 1200 rural communities, which in our organization are represented by 41 regional rural communities association or LAG. We are members of PREPARE family from 2004.

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