ECI Announces a Change in Executive Leadership

After having served for two years as executive director of Earth Charter International (ECI), Alan AtKisson is returning to his work in the private sector. Mr. AtKisson joined ECI to lead a transition to a new phase of expanded global activity and this transition is now largely complete. He will continue to be active in the Earth Charter Initiative and to work with ECI as an Advisor.


Mirian Vilela has been appointed by the ECI Council as the new executive director of ECI. Ms. Vilela has worked with the Earth Charter Initiative since 1995. Over the past two years she has served as the director of the Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development at the University for Peace in Costa Rica. Ms. Vilela will continue to direct the Earth Charter Center for Education, and the office of executive director of ECI has been moved from Stockholm to UPEACE in Costa Rica.



Commenting on Mr. AtKisson’s many contributions to the Earth Charter Initiative, Steven Rockefeller, co-chair of the Earth Charter International Council made the following statement: “Over the past two years, Alan AtKisson brought a fresh and much needed new strategic vision to the Earth Charter Initiative. Motivated by a deep personal commitment to the Earth Charter and the goal of sustainable development, Alan led us through a major transition and into the third phase of the Initiative, involving creation of Earth Charter International and the ECI Council. For all the many ways in which he has inspired, guided, advanced and generously supported the Earth Charter Initiative and assisted the ECI Council, on behalf of the entire Council I extend to Alan our deep gratitude and heartfelt thanks. We wish Alan great success with his future endeavors and look forward to a continued association with him as an ECI Advisor.”


Mr. AtKisson developed a new strategic plan for the Earth Charter Initiative in 2005, and he worked with ECI to implement that plan in 2006 and 2007. This involved clarification of ECI’s mission, the drafting of a new vision statement, and a major reorganization of the governing and management structures for ECI. A new 23 member Earth Charter International Council was formed and charged with oversight of the Initiative, replacing the former Steering Committee of the Earth Charter Commission. The former Earth Charter Secretariat was renamed Earth Charter International. The ECI Council and executive staff worked together to create the new policies and management systems necessary for an expanded global operation. Over the past two years, ECI has developed a new website with ten times the number of visitors as two years ago and has greatly expanded programs in education, and youth and new initiatives in business and religion. A network of Earth Charter Ambassadors and Advisors has been formed. ECI has also built many new partnerships and formed many new affiliates around the world, including a partnership with UNESCO in support of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.


Mr. Rockefeller also stated: “The ECI Council is very pleased that Mirian Vilela will serve as the new executive director of ECI and greatly appreciates her willingness to take on this responsibility. As a result of all that has been accomplished over the past two years, the Earth Charter Initiative is well positioned today to continue to grow and to contribute in significant ways to the great work of building a just, sustainable and peaceful world.”


ECI Council

December 19, 2007