Ernesto studied architecture and development cooperation in the United States and Europe. He has collaborated with indigenous communities and local grassroots organizations for over 30 years. His work is guided by the belief that a deep-rooted identity and a strong sense of cultural self-esteem are the foundation for sustainable and self-determined development. Over the years he has designed training programs that encourage indigenous youth to reconnect with their endangered heritage and to become actively involved in the shaping of their communities’ future. His work has included cooperation with the Tibetan exile community in Northern India, the Himalayan population of Ladakh, the nomadic reindeer herders of Northern Siberia, the Santa Clara Pueblos of New Mexico, the Maya Itzá of Guatemala, the Mbyá Guaraní of Argentina and Paraguay, Quechua and Aymara communities of the Andean region, the San of Namibia and with the BaAka forest peoples of Central Africa. Ernesto is responsible for the strategic direction of OrigiNations and leads the implementation of projects on the ground.
Tatjana studied English Literatures and Political Sciences with a focus on environmental politics in Heidelberg, Germany and Belfast, Northern Ireland. She has worked for Global Footprint Network in California, and IUCN’s World Heritage Programme in Switzerland on the participation of indigenous peoples and local communities in protected area management, cultural heritage and human rights. Together with Ernesto she has accompanied youth initiatives in Central Africa, Guatemala, Peru, Namibia and India, and co-organized a youth summit in Japan with participants from various UNESCO World Heritage Sites. At OrigiNations, she is responsible for the coordination, preparation, implementation and documentation of projects, the exchange with partner organizations and public relations.