Curriculum

1. Personal data

Birth date: 29 September 1958, Basel, Switzerland
Marital status: Married to Carmen Olaechea
Languages: German, Spanish, English, French
Email: georgengeli@hotmail.com
Website: www.georgengeli.com  
 

2.Education

After studying art, philosophy and law in Münster (Germany) and Basel (Switzerland), I graduated from law school in 1983 and as attorney-at-law in 1985. In 1987 I finished my doctorate in constitutional law on the crisis and coherence of a modern society (“Die Innere Sicherheit der Schweiz”).

These studies were accompanied by internships in a law firm specialized in tax law, the court of Aarau, and commercial arbitration and settlement procedures.

3. Service

Between 1978 and 2000, I did my annual military service in the Swiss army, concluding my carrier as lieutenant colonel and commander of the combat battalion 97 in the infantry regiment 22. The Swiss armed forces are structured on the basis of the militia system formed by the citizens themselves who, following the basic training around the age of 20, continue amplifying and deepening their proficiency in their respective units. The obligation to serve terminates according to rank and function. Everyone begins as a soldier and may – depending on aptitude, qualification and personal desire – climb the subsequent ranks and functions, for each of which he receives the corresponding training.

4. Business world

Between 1987 and 1991, I worked for CREDIT SUISSE: first, in the global logistic department, then as the personal assistant to the chairman of the executive board, and lastly in the unit for integral financial services for Swiss multinational companies.

Between 1991 and 2000, I worked for ERNST & YOUNG: primarily in the legal services department (merges & acquisitions, restructuring, IPO, due diligence). Then I was named responsible partner for the development, implementation and heading of knowledge management, marketing and planning, simultaneously working as a member of the respective steering groups of Ernst & Young International headquartered in New York. In 1996, I started and managed the new client service area of special investigations in international companies and organizations. This included also risk and crisis management, and the design and implementation of programs for corporate integrity and ethics codes.

5.Humanitarian world

Between 1997 and 2002, as partner of Ernst & Young, I was adviser to the “Holocaust Fund” of the Swiss government in the areas of structuring its international operations, monitoring and evaluating its local operations, and identifying and handling political, economical, social and operational risks in the various country-specific contexts.

The Fund’s assets amounted to 303 million Swiss francs donated by Swiss banks, insurance companies and the Swiss National Bank. The mission was to provide humanitarian aid for 309,000 persons in over 60 countries who had been persecuted in Nazi-occupied territories: be as Jews and members of other persecuted religions, Sinti and Roma, or be because of their political credos and physical and mental conditions.

A special priority was given to the Eastern European countries where, prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall, survivors in general had not benefited from the compensations payments made by Germany, and where the humanitarian aid met particularly pressing needs.

6.Social world

Between 2000 and 2002, I worked in the AVINA Foundation as the director of the then central office in Miami. I was responsible for the operational management of the foundation (human resources, finances, organization, monitoring and evaluation, communication and IT).

In addition, I was responsible to develop and head knowledge management of the organization as well as the foundation’s risk management in the interface between philanthropy and business.

AVINA – founded by the Swiss entrepreneur and philanthropist Stephan Schmidheiny – partners up with social and business leaders in order to jointly articulating agendas for sustainable development in Latin America. The foundation has offices in most countries in Central and South America.

7.Development as artist

In 2002, I decided to continue my personal and professional way independently. Since then I work as artist and author.

As a visual artist I have created the personage of Mr. Fivehair: a passionate seeker who accompanies me also in my other endeavors as artist and consultant, and has been published in Europe and Latin America.

In addition to the free creation of images and texts, I also embark in joint ventures with scientist in research programs, experts from various disciplines and subject matters developing new lines of thought and concepts, in initiatives concerning social issues and furthering the intercultural dialogue, and in the field of architecture designing spaces (see: Jerez project). In such projects, art joins the chorus of other voices, bringing to the table a multiple offer: being a stimulus for and vehicle of the communal quest; capturing what escapes the reach of precise representation; articulating in a symbolic language what rationality alone may fail to grasp, and opening an emotional access to complexities that otherwise often remain unapproachable due to barriers of education, language, social status and culture.

I have had the opportunity to exhibit my drawings and paintings in individual shows (Buenos Aires, Stuttgart, and Vienna) and group shows (Stuttgart).

8. Development as consultant

Along with the resolution to work independently, I have also decided to put my experience, my knowledge and my questions at service for others who – en route on their own paths – also seek developing new perspectives, aiming to amplify and deepening their own views and understandings.

Independent consultant

Together with my wife Carmen Olaechea – writer and specialist for processes of social transformation in Latin America – I accompany individuals and decision-makers in civil society, business and in private and public institutions in Europe and Latin America, namely in times of transition and crisis. As independent advisors, we help them to find the access code to their own and their organization’s inherent potentials. We aim to strengthen a conclusive dialogue between their outer and inner realities, so as to pragmatically build routes for a natural growth.

Thematically we focus our contributions on risks and crisis, the design and development of learning architectures, knowledge management, and leadership development including decision-making processes.

On the basis of our own hands-on leadership experiences in three sectors (private, civil society, and public) in different contexts and cultures, we prioritize mandates with considerable thematic complexity and contradictory internal and external interests and conflicts. Our aim is to empower our clients’ intellectual and operational response capacity.

Navigation maps

Over the past years we have developed Navigation Maps: a methodology and tool tailored to the specific challenges and needs of each individual person, organization or network. These maps allow capturing the complexity of the issues at hand, and deepening the comprehension both of the actual situation and the available present and future potentials. The maps help to correlate, in a meaningful and conclusive way, contradictions, opposites and dilemmas. The Navigation Maps emerge from the specific work with each client, thus representing the particular questions and problems at hand. The maps aim to integrate what otherwise often is perceived as an antagonism – critical reflection and practical action.

Clients

In view of the sensitive nature of our clients’ challenges, and of our unassailable commitment to professional ethics (including client-attorney privilege), we do not publish the names of our clients. We are however prepared, upon specific requests of interested callers, to arrange for personal client reference.

Young people

We consider it a privilege and obligation to work with young people. In very few years from now, they will replace us in our positions and responsibilities, taking on the burden and joy of continuing and expanding mankind’s quest. We both dedicate a considerable part of our time thinking and working with young people. They come from quite different walks of life. We aim to encourage and help them to amplify their views and panoramas so as to gain autonomy.

9. Publications

Arte y Transformación social -
Saberes y prácticas de Crear vale la pena

Art and social transformation –
Knowledge and practices of Crear vale la pena

Written in co-authorship with Carmen Olaechea: on the role of art and creativity in social developments in Argentina and Latin America. Taking as a lead case the organization Crear vale la pena (co-founder of the Latin American network for art and social transformation), our book presents the fundaments, experiences and challenges of entangling artistic and social visions on society.

Mr. Fivehair

My personage Mr. Fivehair is published as a series in the German magazine “changeX” for decision-makers in business and society, government and education, and the media. In addition, Mr. Fivehair is published as an integral part of many of my other publications, and within the framework of the initiatives I partake in.

Navigationskarten der Achtsamkeit -
Achtsamkeit in Zeiten der Krise

Navigation maps of Mindfulness –
Mindfulness in times of crisis

Book with essays by experts (medicine, neurology, science, psychiatry, psychology, therapy, philosophy: on the power and role of mindfulness in healing processes; edited by Dr. Ulrike Anderssen-Reuster, Dresden. My essay “Navigation Maps of Mindfulness – Mindfulness in times of crises” describes how individuals and organizations in times of great outer and inner turbulence can design their search for re-orientation. The text is illustrated with Mr. Fivehair.

Ich – der ganze zerbrochene Krug

I – the entire broken pot

Book with essays written by experts (neurology, psychiatry, psychology, and therapy): on the question how the vanguard findings of scientific research modifies our understanding of trauma and human consciousness; edited by Dr. Peter Geissler, Vienna. This book presents the key results of an international symposium held in Vienna in 2006, to which I was invited to partake as an artist. My essay “I – the entire broken pot” explores the dynamics of the disintegration of our existential images of life, reality and our selves. The book is illustrated with the paintings that I have prepared for the symposium, and the images with which I captured the presentations and discussions during the congress.

¡Por qué todo tiene que cambiar!

Why must everything change!

This children novel – written by Carmen Olaechea and illustrated by me – was published in the collection “the family narrates” by the Madrid government (ministry for family and social affairs). The first edition of 100,000 copies has been deployed in schools, public offices and agencies, and social organizations. The novel relates the profound and moving questions that children face when their divorced parents find a new spouse. The young protagonist, Ana, experiences an inner transformation facing her new challenge to integrate in her life her mother’s new partner and his two sons. Category: children novel (9-12 years).

YIch – Feind meines Feindes –
Mr. Fivehair im Friedenslabyrinth

I – enemy of my enemy
Mr. Fivehair in the peace labyrinth

Book with essays written by experts (attorneys, psychologists, sociologists, and others): on the resolution of complex conflicts with multiple stakeholders; edited by Dr. Peter Geissler, Vienna. My essay “I – enemy of my enemy; Mr. Fivehair in the peace labyrinth” explores to what extent, and how, we ourselves fabricate our enemies, projecting onto them properties that – although being our own – we are unable or unwilling to recognize and accept. The text is illustrated with Mr. Fivehair.

10. Selected initiatives

Y vos qué?

And you, what?

An educational tool produced in co-authorship with Carmen Olaechea, Silvio Gruber and the Federal Office for Anticorruption of the Argentine government; directed to students finishing high school, and their teachers. Taking up the notion of a general “culture of transgression” in society, the tool aims to deepen and broaden the understanding of diverse and diverging points of view, and to create awareness of the tacit credos, assumptions and beliefs underlying the commonly known everyday opinions on “obedience to the rule of law”.

Respect

Financed by the Federal Cultural Foundation of the German government, this multinational initiative brought together young adults from Germany, Argentina, Bulgaria, the Check Republic, Rumania and Slovakia. During six months they worked together on the question: what does respect signify for social and cultural coexistence in diversity? The results of this artistic and intellectual co-development was incorporated in a stage performance (dance, music, theater) that we created during the three weeks of an artistic residence of all participants in Germany, and presented to the general public in Germany and Slovakia. Apart from being the co-initiator and co-leader of this initiative, together with Inés Sanguinetti, I created the images for the artistic and intellectual production, and the stage for the performance: projections in motion harmonized with the choreography and the music.