In June 2011, Rewilding Europe has been formally established by registering a foundation and a limited company in The Netherlands. An Executive Board of Directors is active and is responsible for daily management of the organization. A Supervisory Board will be established in spring 2012. Apart from these formal structures, Rewilding Europe is also establishing a small and dedicated team of Special Advisors. Such Special Advisors have a specific role in supporting Rewilding Europe with their skills, expertise, reputation and networks. Special Advisors can represent Rewilding Europe at specific occasions to external audiences and assist in relationship building with key partners and (potential) donors.
In specific cases, Special Advisors can also have a business relationship with Rewilding Europe, to provide strategic and technical assistance and support.
Key areas of expertise that Special Advisors could bring to the table are conservation, marketing & communication, business & finance, science and policy-related expertise.
The first three Special Advisors for Rewilding Europe are Princess Laurentien van Oranje, Dr. Claude Martin and Mrs. Odile Rodríguez de la Fuente. For their biographies and roles in building our initiative, please read below.
Laurentien has been a Fellow of the European Climate Foundation since June 2008. She is also the author of a children's books series inspired by sustainability and climate change. The first book in the series was published in October 2009 (Mr Finney en de wereld op zijn kop; English translation: Mr Finney and the world turned upside down) and has since been translated into English, Catalan, Spanish and Chinese. The second book was published in February 2011 (Mr Finney en de andere kant van het water). She also set up the Missing Chapter Foundation, an NGO that facilitates inter-generational dialogue to change mindsets primarily among decision-makers for a more sustainable future. The Princess is Vice-President of Fauna & Flora International. Previously, she has been working with WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) and African Parks.
The Princess is also active in the field of literacy. While living in Brussels before her marriage, she worked as a volunteer, teaching adults to read. In the Netherlands, Princess Laurentien chairs the Reading and Writing Foundation (Stichting Lezen & Schrijven), which was set up at her initiative in 2004. Its mission is to help prevent and reduce illiteracy in the Netherlands. She was appointed Chair of the High Level Group on Literacy of the European Commission in February 2011, whose report is due in September 2011.
In March 2009, Princess Laurentien was designated UNESCO Special Envoy on Literacy for Development. In this capacity, she acts as a advocate for literacy globally. She is patron of the Dutch Listening and Braille Library (NLBB) and the Dutch language society Genootschap Onze Taal and honorary chair of the Association of Public Libraries. She is also president of the European Cultural Foundation.
She started her career as a video journalist for CNN Headline News in Atlanta, Georgia (USA), where she worked from 1991 to 1992. From 1992 to 1995, she was executive director of the Belmont European Policy Centre in Brussels, a think tank on European affairs. From 1995 to 1997 she worked for Philip Morris in Brussels, where she was manager of government relations. In 1997 she was appointed deputy director of Edelman Worldwide, an international public relations agency, and in February 2000 joined the board of directors of the Brussels branch of Adamson BSMG Worldwide, an international consultancy specialising in strategic communications and public affairs. After their marriage in May 2001, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien went to live in London, where the Princess worked for BSMG Worldwide, the consultancy she had worked for in Brussels. In London, she was head of Corporate Communications Practice, first for the UK, then for the European market. BSMG Worldwide merged with Weber Shandwick in January 2002. Since May 2003, she has been working as a freelance communications consultant.
Laurentien van Oranje-Nassau has a broad view on conservation issues, given her experience in EU policy-making on climate change, conservation in Africa and strategic communications. She has already been key to Rewilding Europe by facilitating the launch of our initiative on 18 November 2010 in Brussels. She is fascinated by our vision, mission and approach and will provide support on the positioning of Rewilding Europe, assist us with partnership building and strategy development, facilitate gatherings and identify opportunities for strengthening our initiative.
Claude Martin has been the Director General of WWF International from 1993 to 2005. During his term WWF developed into the world’s largest conservation organisation active in about 100 countries, and with over 4500 staff. Claude Martin pioneered new approaches in international conservation, such as WWF’s target-driven programmes, and many partnerships such as the WWF-World Bank Alliance on forest conservation, and the Amazon Region Protected Areas Plan (ARPA) between the Brazilian Government, the World Bank, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and WWF. He also initiated conservation partnerships with large corporations such as Lafarge and Nokia. From 1995-2006 Claude Martin has been a member of the China Council on International Cooperation, Environment and Development (CCICED) – a high level advisory body to the Chinese Government. Before joining WWF International, he was Director and Chief Executive of WWF-Switzerland from 1980 to 1990. From 1975 to 1978 he served as Director of several tropical forest National Parks in Ghana. His career with WWF started in the early 1970s, when he lived in Central India, studying the ecology of a threatened deer species - the barasingha.
Currently he is the Chancellor of the International University in Geneva (IUG) – a business school, and the President of “NATUR” – the Swiss Forum for Sustainability. He also serves as Vice Chairman of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), and as Chairman of the Sustainability Advisory Committee of Precious Woods, the tropical forestry company leading in FSC certified timber production in Latin America and Africa. He is a Board member of MAVA – Fondation pour la Nature, founded by Dr. Luc Hoffmann, and he continues supporting WWF as Honorary Advisor of WWF International and as Vice President of WWF France. In 2003 he was awarded the “Commander of the Golden Arc” by the late Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, and “Officier de l’Ordre National de Madagascar” by the President of Madagascar.
Claude Martin was born in Zürich, Switzerland, in 1945. He holds a MSc. in biology from the University of Zürich where he graduated with a PhD thesis in wildlife ecology in 1975.
With his wealth of experience and extensive network, Dr. Claude Martin will advise the Rewilding Europe team on conservation subjects and will assist in building relationships with potential partners relevant to Rewilding Europe, in particular in Switzerland.
Odile Rodríguez de la Fuente is the vice-president, founder and general director of Fundación Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente in Spain which was founded in 2004. She went to high school in Spain, England and Switzerland, a worldwide association of schools called RoundSquare.
Odile holds a BS in Biological Sciences (1994) and a BA in Cinema Production (1995) from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. She started her career in 1996 at National Geographic Television in Washington DC as an intern, associate producer and producer. Among others, she worked on a film about rain forests in Mexico and a major, worldwide communication campaign on conservation, in collaboration with IUCN.
In 2004, she was the Director of Scientific Film Awards of Ronda, the first initiative of its kind in Spain. In 2005 she worked as a producer at RTVE, doing a production of a two-hour documentary of the life and work of her father Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente. In 2006, she became a member of the board of WWF Spain.
Currently, Odile’s main work is for the Fundación Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente, an important NGO in Spain, named after her father who was a very famous Spanish nature filmmaker. Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente produced some very famous films and books. Unfortunately he died in a plane crash in Alaska when Odile was only 7 years young. Odile has followed the footsteps of her father and dedicates her life to protect and to communicate about nature and its wonders.
About her father, Odile says: "I always wanted to follow on my father´s footsteps even before he left us but the impact of his sudden death probably influenced me even more to dedicate my life to the defense and communication of nature and its wonders. My father supposed a huge influence in Spanish conscience about conservation. He was responsible for positioning Spain as one of the pioneering countries in Europe to first have laws protecting predatory birds and wolves. If we still have wolves in Spain it is because of my father´s work both on a political level but mainly as the most popular communicator in Spain during the 60´s and 70´s. His television series “El Hombre y la Tierra” was first on ranking for the eight years they were aired in Spain, surpassing any other international documentaries (like BBC or National Geographic) in both technological and narrative style. They were seen by millions of people worldwide including countries like Russia and Japan and showed Spanish fauna and flora to Europe and the world.
On the editorial end his best known work was the world wide encyclopedia “Fauna”. It was translated into 16 languages and sold more than 40 million volumes worldwide.’’
As a conservationist, Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente was the co-founder and vice-president of WWF Spain and responsible for the preservation of many of the most important wild spots in Spain that are now National and Natural parks. He is still a major reference in Spain and many Spanish speaking countries and his style and passion still motivate and are an inspiration to thousands.
For Rewilding Europe, Odile Rodríguez de la Fuente will have a particular role in communication and networking, representing the initiative towards certain external audiences, especially in the Mediterranean parts of Europe. She will also help facilitating to reach certain target groups, such as major land owners/holders in the rewilding areas, national top media, and early adopters within the key government structures in Spain and Portugal. Also, Odile will play a key role in representing Rewilding Europe during the upcoming Wild Wonders of Europe Outdoor Exhibitions in Madrid, Barcelona and Sevilla, and at the World Wilderness Congress (WILD10) in Salamanca, Spain in October 2013.