Dr. Irena Ateljevic
Irena grew up on a Dalmatian island and spent her childhood deeply rooted in traditional Mediterranean nature and culture. Growing up, she watched her grandmother give her heart and hands to the land through her daily toil of the soil.
And the soil always gave something back.
Irena left her island to travel the world and feed her intellectual and modern desires. This journey took her to a doctoral study in New Zealand followed by a strong international academic career. On her research trips, she studied how community after community had been ravaged by corporate capitalism, her critical worldview expanded.
She realised that the beautiful world that her grandmother left her was disappearing.
Then one day she asked herself: ‘What kind of a world do I want to leave my daughter?’
At the peak of her successful career Irena decided to return to her native land of Dalmatia. She felt she needed to move from ‘talking the walk’ to ‘walking the talk’ of sustainability.
At first, she created Feniks with two of her former students, an NGO for Developing Human Potential and Innovative Actions to run sustainability projects in her native village of Murter. Then she created a social enterprise SHE – Sibenik Hub for Ecology, the first step towards the ultimate vision of Terra Meera.
Born in 2020, Terra Meera is a Centre for Regeneration and Human Potential. Located in an abandoned valley in Croatia, Terra Meera pioneers are laying the foundations for a community project dedicated to local and regenerative agriculture in the area. The project is a fertile meeting ground for change-making, art, leadership and wellbeing that inspires sustainable living based on interbeing. Since its founding, the project has planted over 200 diverse and indigenious trees in order to restore the land.