OUR TEAM

Sylvie Meynier

Co-founder and President

Sylvie combines 15 years of experience in adult education and training with being a professional coach and facilitator to create innovative inclusive activities that are specifically designed to support people and help them thrive. She has led projects with such notable Geneva organisations such as OSEO, AMIC and independently with her company Laughing Butterfly.
Sylvie is convinced that every human being, with support, accurate information and a positive environment, can achieve their potential. She believes in real human connection, authenticity and the power of co-creating. Sylvie co-founded the Refugee Cultural Festival and Interactions to show that it is possible to create a meaningful event beyond differences and prejudices, and that we can all learn from one another.

Samad Amiri

Co-founder and Co-President – Co-head of the video project and the music project

Samad is an asylum seeker from Afghanistan, who lived in Iran for 22 years and has been living in geneva since June 2016. He is working as a volunteer with the Versoix Accueille helping to organize events and activities for residents of the Versoix Abri. He organises such events as discos, football games, picnics, and visiting local areas. He often works as a translator helping the social assistants from the hospice general.  He enjoys collaborating in events with Bellevue accueille such as the webster photography project and Nuroz festival for Afghans and Kurds.

Léna Strasser

Co-founder and Vice-President – Co-head of the music project

Léna came to Geneva to study. She ended up staying. She loves this city because it includes the entire world. She became an adult trainer 13 years ago by chance, and she became passionate about it. She is specialised in teaching French  as a foreign language; she is also an expert in migration and plural societies issues. She has collaborated to different projects mixing creation to identity: writing, photography workshops and exhibitions, and theater. Lately, she has coordinated and played with an heterogeneous theater company, Babel 2.0. To her, Interactions is a place to create connections, a laboratory to bring out new ways to take action together differently.

Anna Golubeva

Treasurer and Activity Coordinator

Anna is Russian, she has been living in Geneva since 2012. She fell in love with accounting while studying at school. She has 10 years of experience as an accountant and a treasurer. Anna enjoys physical activity, such as hiking and dancing. She also loves good food. Anna attended several French language courses in Geneva; during one of these classes she met Sylvie, a good mentor. Thanks to her, Anna joined Interactions because she likes to help people and wants to share her experience. She also has a lot of activity ideas. Anna will be happy to help you as a Russian speaking mentor in Geneva.

May El Kurdi

Event coordinator 

May is from Lebanon and has been living in Geneva since 2014. She has always been passionate about art ; she was a member of the association l’Atelier de l’Art Plastique in Lebanon. She has participated in several exhibitions and in 2004, she had her own exhibition at UNESCO in Beirut. She was a high school art teacher for ten years. In Geneva May participated in the co-creation of the Refugee Cultural Festival in June 2017. She organizes and participates in artistic activities in several associations. She is patient and enjoys working as a team and loves sharing ideas with others.

Ali Boushaki

Activity Host

Of Algerian origin, Ali is passionate about music. He likes to gather people around his passion and to compose together through the diversity of styles. He teaches adults as well as children. Smiling and always ready to participate in interesting projects, Ali will make you vibrate to the sound of percussion. Ali appreciates Geneva for its open-minded attitude but appreciates somewhat less the winter cold.

Veronica Santangelo

Logistics assistant

Veronica is Italian, she reached Geneva in 2016 for a career relocation. She works in financial audit for the private sector. She found integrating in Geneva very hard, at the beginning and still today. Now she believes that the best way to integrate is helping others to integrate: giving and receiving in a continuous exchange. Veronica feels welcome making others feeling welcome. She practices sport on a regular basis and she loves the natural environment generously offered by Geneva. Veronica has to deal with her shy character but it normally goes better when she feels at home, that’s why she loves Interactions!

 

Ykhelf Salah Eddine

Committee member, video project assistant

Of Algerian origin Salah arrived in Geneva 10 years ago. He joined Interactions because he likes working in a team and wants to find solutions to problems that affect everyone. He loves Geneva because it is a cosmopolitan city where he feels comfortable and respected. He finds that Geneva opens new horizons and allows beautiful meetings. He finds joy in helping others. He is passionate about human rights and calls himself an “ambassador of oppressed people”. He is also a volunteer in another association specialising in human rights.

Scotti McLaren

Head of finance

Scotti grew up in Alaska, spent many years wandering the world in search of a home, and finally landed in Geneva in 2010.  She has worked for 25 years in finance, first in the private sector and then with Médecins sans Frontières. And now she is following her passion by studying nutrition and functional medicine, with a specific interest in preventing and treating burnout and depression.  Her other passions include mountains, running, spiritual growth, beauty through literature, music, film, art … and above all else: connection with others.  Geneva has become her adopted home over these past years, and she is happy to welcome and connect with other people seeking a home here, too.

Irene Kowalenko

Communications

Irene was born in Russia, grew up and studied in Germany before she came to Geneva in 2016 to work as a consumer and market researcher. She quickly discovered that Geneva is a great place to live and is grateful for its cultural diversity and beautiful surrounding nature. In love with the mountains where she hikes and skis, she also enjoys yoga, roller blading, cycling, dancing, playing volleyball, and climbing. Having lived in four countries and being passionate about travelling, to her, home is where authentic and open-minded people are. She is an enthusiastic about understanding human beings and is always curious to learn more about cultures.  In Interactions, she finds a space to celebrate the beauty of diversity and power of humanity together. Like the other “Interactors”, she is convinced that there is always something people have in common and that we can learn from each other.  That is why she thrives in being Interactions’ ambassador and supporting with communication and community development.

Deea Alsaid

Head of Mentoring project

Deea is from Syria. She has been living in Geneva since 2015. In Syria she was a student at the faculty of Petroleum Engineering. At the moment she is attending courses at the Faculty of Earth Science as an auditor at the University of Geneva. She likes Geneva because she thinks it’s a city where differences are not a source of worry, and everyone can learn to co-exist. Deea has always been passionate about volunteer work. She finds herself whenever she is helping others. She enjoys playing the guitar, going to the movies and walking through old cities.

Léonore Rougemont

Co-head of Mentoring project

Half French and half Swiss, Léonore was born in Geneva. She is  a certified biologist. She has always been volunteering in various activities. She has not only facilitated French conversation workshops for migrants but also worked as a public writer to help people with their administrative letters. She loves travelling and has friends from all over the world. What she likes the most about Geneva is its international side, but she is also aware of how difficult it might be for a newcomer to integrate. She is therefore willing to grab any occasion to connect with newcomers and help them feel welcome.

Murat Güngör

Webmaster

Murat manages the Interaction website. He is an online communications specialist working for international organizations. Originally from Mersin, on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, he has been living in Geneva, since August 2016. As someone who has grown up on the sea, he enjoys the change of scenery very much.

Claire Lalande

Communication  and  General Coordination

Claire is French, settled in Geneva for almost 6 years. After a few years working as an engineer, she decided to dedicate herself to the practice and teaching of yoga. For her, yoga is joyful, inclusive and accessible to everyone. She believes that every human being should have the opportunity to thrive and realise his or her potential. Geneva is a very multicultural city, and it is important that people meet each other to learn from each other, open their minds and spirit.Claire joined Interactions to meet like minded people and help a little. 🙂

Leonore Heldman

Volunteer coordinator

You are not mistaken, there is another Leonore.  This one represents the reconciliation of two nations who were the greatest enemies in war, Germany and France; she has had an intriguing nomadic journey that saw her move every 2-4 years living in more than five different countries throughout her life. She discovered to her delight, though contrary to all expectations, the cultural diversity of Geneva in 2014 and has since made it her home. She thinks that here she will be better understood since the nomadic lifestyle had left her feeling without roots. Leonore loves laughing, intercultural exchanges and sharing. She also loves the mountains, salsa and singing. If she is committed it is especially for the purpose of changing the little things in our society for the better since she understands that it is not easy for someone from another culture to integrate into our more individualistic Western society. Leonore believes in progress through the commitment to making small changes. For some time she has been coordinating the group of volunteers and helps where there is always plenty to do.

Daniel Stein

Co-founder and Honorary Member

Daniel Stein, is a co-founder of the Refugee Cultural Festival and Interactions. He was previously in the role of Co-leader. His background includes working for several years in project management, initiating and running grassroots community activities centered on integration and social cohesion. He was previously the President and Co-Founder of Cuisine Lab, a Swiss association that brings a community of locals and newcomers together, using food and cooking techniques as a catalyst for intercultural exchange, personal growth, and integration. He continues to work as an informal volunteer for the association helping however he can.

Martina Ambruso

Co-head of the Video Project

Martina is passionate about all aspects of migration. She believes that whether you speak about identity, law, integration, diaspora, or anything else, every topic is good to reflect on and move forward with building a better way to live together. She also loves theater, a passion that she has kept going over the years and the places where she’s lived. With Interactions team she is exploring a new Geneva, one of “we are stronger together”. With the video project, she is learning – hand in hand with the participants and friends – how to collectively create a short film based on real life stories. Born in Buenos Aires, Martina grew up in Geneva; she speaks Catalan, English, Italian, French, Spanish and is currently learning Tigrignya.

Ana Escaso

Co-head of the Video Project

Ana arrived to Geneva in summer 2016 to work with a feminist NGO. Previously, she worked for several broadcasting and news outlets in Spain, Denmark and London. She holds a MA in Journalism and Media within Globalisation. Currently she is the Communications Officer of a humanitarian analysis provider and she offers support to Interactions on communications related issues. She is passionate about music, food and nature. But what Ana really loves the most is trying to make this world a better place.

Lisa DiPangrazio

Project manager

Lisa has been living in Geneva since January 2016 and hopes that she will stay for many more years! After seeking adventures around the globe and working in humanitarian affairs for 10 years, Lisa is grateful to be in a beautiful and safe country where she can spend time in nature, nurture her interests in health and healing, and get involved in her community. She is currently studying yoga and meditation and is interested in their influence on survivors of trauma. She can usually be found hanging out with her dog, Millie, hiking in the mountains where she collects wild herbs, scouting the weekend markets for the coolest farmers, taste-testing her husband’s incredible food, and reading stacks of books.

Iris Hughes

Photographer