The relationship between our current, beloved and always kind Executive Director, Alexis Katsaros and MedINA counts 11 years. Below, he describes his “journey” within the organisation, his first thoughts, his trajectory and development -alongside MedINA- and sends his own special wishes.
“As the organisation celebrates its 20th anniversary, I am filled with a deep sense of pride for all that we have achieved. My journey of over ten years with MedINA has been a transformative experience. Although I had not started out with a passion for environmental conservation and sustainability, being involved with the organisation was a catalyst for the formation of new values and a deep commitment to contribute as much as possible at this critical time for us all.
As a social scientist, I was very concerned about environmental problems, but I felt they were beyond my scope. My view was that an environmental organisation’s focus was solely on conservation and that this was primarily the job of biologists. However, MedINA’s vision of a harmonious symbiosis between humans and nature began to pique my interest, and my first conversation with the founder and long-time director of the organisation, Thymio Papayannis, opened up a new world to me, introducing me to holistic approaches to environmental and social issues.
My arrival coincided with a new chapter in the organisation’s history – the inclusion of local communities at the very heart of its activities. Not only did this broaden my understanding of environmental issues, but it also fuelled my passion for learning and for exploring new approaches to the protection of the environment.
Over time I came to work alongside experts, scientists and local community members – a condition that encouraged a sense of comradeship and common purpose. This spirit of co-operation has been vital both to the successful implementation of our projects and to my continued commitment to the organisation. Regardless of age, discipline, experience or gender, it is my belief that a culture has now been established within the organisation where everyone feels welcome and valued. I believe this enables MedINA’s employees to interact with people from different backgrounds, regions, educational status and professions, enriching their knowledge and experience, but also reinforcing the importance of collective action to address environmental and other challenges.
Over the years the organisation has not stood still. On the contrary, it has continued to evolve, to adapt and to innovate in response to the ever-changing landscape, and I have been fortunate enough to be a part of this transformation. New strategy, new partners, new projects and activities, with the vision of a harmonious relationship between humans and nature remaining constant.
I look forward to being part of the journey towards a more sustainable and resilient future, as the next 20 years hold enormous potential to address critical environmental issues.
Let me conclude by wishing MedINA a happy birthday and a continued presence and intervention for as long as the communities of our country and the wider Mediterranean region need it. May it continue to bring together people from different backgrounds, further develop its interdisciplinary approach, embrace technological developments, constantly seek for new and innovative solutions, and play an increasingly important role in highlighting key issues and proposing ways to address them”.