Board Members

June Maher, Founder

about_board_juneJune Maher met the Mother in 1971 and was asked by her to take up the work of of helping support Auroville. With a group of 4 others, June Maher founded the Auroville Association in California, which, once Auroville International was founded, became Auroville International USA. Since 1971 June made 13 trips to Auroville, and lived there for 1 year. She has served on the boards of the Foundation for World Education, the New Consciousness Foundation and the Sri Aurobindo Learning Center. In line with her commitment to the art and science of aromatherapy, she was a founder and member of the advisory council of the College of Botanical Healing Arts in Santa Cruz. June passed away April 25th, 2014.

 

Binah Thillairajah, President

BinahboardmemberBinah was brought to India by her mother when she was a few months old and accepted into Auroville by The Mother in 1969. She has had the privilege of living in many communities and attended many schools. Originally she lived at Far Beach which is now Sri Ma, then Silence which is now Bharat Nivas, then Kottakarai and from the time she was 7 until her teenage years she lived mostly in Ami. She attended Equals One in Pondi before there was a school in Auroville, then the Kindergarten in Aspiration taught by Eliane, then Last School and when Last School was closed she attended Center School, then was taught by many teachers including Deetra for ornithology, Tim for Biology, Savitra for English and Jeff for math. She briefly attended Johnnie’s school in Fertile but left to go to the Ashram school in Delhi and eventually finished high school at Kodai International school. She attended Skidmore College and then got a Masters in International Deveolopment from American University. After University she worked at the USAID, UNDP and various NGOs.

She is grateful to the many people in Auroville who fed and raised her at a time when even the children of Auroville were communal. She has had the privilege of eating and sleeping in many homes in the green belt in the early seventies. And she is grateful for the chance to have been part of the fun children’s community that was Ami.

She now lives in Denver, Colorado wither her family, Sothi her husband, Appu her 14 year old son and her 8 year old daughter Rasam. Nowadays she is a full time mom and part time volunteers in her children’s schools.

Jeanne Korstange, Vice President

Jeanne Korstange

Jeanne Korstange joined Auroville after meeting The Mother in 1971 for a birthday darshan.  She moved into an Aspiration hut where her husband, Gordon, was living with 2 local boys from Kuilapalayam and 1 boy from the Lake Estate whose Bengali parents enrolled him in the Aspiration school.  She took up work as a teacher in the kindergarten which was located right next to her hut in Aspiration while Gordon and the 3 boys walked down to the Last School for his work as a teacher and their work as students.Jeanne left Auroville in 1980.  She returned to the USA where she worked as an educational counsellor for women and then for elementary school students.  She served as an elementary school principal in the US and abroad.  While working in the US she was able to organise short term informal educational programs for Tamil Aurovilians through Merriam Hill Foundation and The Foundation for World Education.  Through the ongoing support of The Foundation for World Education Gordon and Jeanne were able to start up a teacher exchange program between Antioch New England Graduate School and the Auroville Schools.Now that Gordon and Jeanne are retired they have the luxury of spending the winter in Auroville where they both continue to be involved in education, visit their friends, and find new projects to support in Auroville.

Bill Leon, Secretary

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Bill Leon is a former President of AVIUSA. He has been a member of AVIUSA since 1992. He is a professional geographer, educator and community developer. He has developed and managed programs to bring university students to Auroville and assists many Auroville units with development projects. He is a senior associate with Organizational Research Services in Seattle, where he evaluates health, education, environmental, and other types of programs and trains and coaches staff in nonprofits, government agencies, and foundations. He also teaches evaluation at the University of Washington and is President of Geo Education.

 

Mary Alexander, Treasurer

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Mary Alexander lived in Auroville during its early years, and later moved to the USA, where she headed AVIUSA’s operations as Vice President with her husband, Jack Alexander, for many years. She has recently helped organize several Auroville reunions, and joined the Board again in 2005.

Julian Lines, East Coast Co-ordinator

about_board_julianJulian Lines spent the summer of ’72 in upstate New York with Bob and Deborah Lawlor, Marjorie Spalding, Robert McDermott, Adm. Rutledge Tompkins, Prof. Jehangir Chubb and others learning about Auroville and Integral Yoga. He has been involved in helping Auroville ever since. He currently also serves as a Executive Director of Auroville International and President of Matagiri Sri Aurobindo Center. In 2009 he was appointed to the Auroville International Advisory Council by the Government of India. He and his wife, Wendy own a retail shop called Pondicherry in Woodstock, NY which features many Auroville handicrafts. He is also part of the team dealing with daily operations of AVIUSA, focusing on the eVolve newsletter and other work related to Auroville.

 

Bryan Walton, Board Member

about_board_bryanBryan was approved by the Mother as a resident of Auroville in 1972, where he helped start Fraternity, a handicraft training and employment project that benefited hundreds of villagers, including children. In 1980 he left Auroville with his wife, Fanou, and their two Auroville-born children. They settled in rural Wisconsin near Spring Green, and became part of the community Willow Gold/Global View.Bryan currently is retired, but works summer and fall part-time as a docent at Taliesin Preservation, giving tours of Frank Lloyd Wright’s home, studio, theater and estate.Bryan and Fanou cherish many deep friendships in Auroville and feel very excited about the growth and progress they see. They feel very connected there and have recently been visiting every couple of years. They feel that the Mother’s vision is indeed being realized!

Jack Alexander, Board Member

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Jack Alexander came to Auroville in the early ’70s with his wife, Mary. His son, Satyavan lives in Auroville with his wife and daughter. Jack owns BMH Equipment and lives in Sacramento, CA.

Matthew Andrews, Board Member

MatthewMatthewAndrews_Boardmember first visited Auroville in 2000 as part of the Living Routes program.  It was a pivotal experience, and looking back he saw how his life since then has been shaped by it.  He was attracted to Auroville’s values, efforts, opportunities, and aspirations, and hoped to return to live there.  He returned in 2013, moved by an immediate and powerful inspiration to reconnect.  After this trip more surprising and unexpected opportunities evolved, including buying the Yoga Center Amherst with my wife Corinne, and joining the AVI-USA board. He now leads a weekly Savitri meditation, and an annual Embodyoga® trip to explore Auroville, Puducherry, Tiruvanamalai, and Mahabalipuram, along with teaching weekly yoga asana classes and co-facilitating a team mindfulness program with Shalini Bahl called Re-Minding Teams.  We provide teams in corporate, academic, and nonprofit environments with basic mindfulness skills and opportunities to build trust and efficiency in their collaborations.

Before owning the Yoga Center Amherst, he worked for Best Buddies International for 10 years, most recently as Senior Director, State Operations, where I oversaw 19 offices in 12 states, recruiting, hiring, training, and managing state directors and their staff.

Gordon Korstange, Board Member

Gordon Korstange was a Peace Corps volunteer in Tamil Nadu and then lived in Auroville for 9 years during the 1970’s, primarily as an educator. He currently visits Auroville for 3 months of the year. His chief interest is the interaction of Auroville and the Tamil population in the local bioregion.