A New International Gakyil Team

Dear Members of the International Dzogchen Community,

On May 31, 2024, a new International Gakyil (IG) team was elected. The new IG hails from across the globe and is composed of seven long-time IDC members who currently live in geographically diverse areas of the world: Australia, Germany,  Italy, New Zealand, Poland, and the United States.

We look forward to working together and with you for the benefit of our International Dzogchen Community.

Miranda Shannon
3 years

A student of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu from the time she attended Rinpoche’s first retreat in Subiaco, Italy in 1976, Miranda has since remained actively engaged in the Dzogchen Community. She passed her SMS Base exam in 2017, and served on the Tsegyalgar East Blue Gakyil from 2017-2020. She has served on the International Gakyil since 2021 first as Blue and then as President since October 2022.
Miranda earned her Bachelor of Arts in Literature and Music from Bennington College in Vermont. She is an educational consultant, and her professional experience includes event and program planning and management, communications, fundraising, and social media programs for educational and performing arts organizations.

Gabriella Schneider
3 years

Rinpoche’s student since 1998, Gabriella served on the Blue and Red Gakyil in Merigar East from 2007 to 2010, and on the Blue Gakyil in Dargyäling, Cologne from 2012 to 2015. She has served on the International Blue Gakyil since 2021.
In 2016, Rinpoche authorized Gabriella to be an SMS Base Instructor. She passed her SMS Base Exam in 2007 and the SMS Level I Exam in 2010.
She is a member of the International Publishing Committee for Romania.
She graduated as a Doctor of Internal Medicine and Angiology.

Fabrizio Calistri
Vice-President & Yellow

Interested in Dharma since adolescence, Fabrizio became a student of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu in 2014 after various experiences in other Buddhist schools, particularly Nyingma. This is Fabrizio’s first experience with Karma Yoga within the community, and he is eager to make a positive contribution.
From a professional standpoint, Fabrizio has forty years of experience in corporate accounting and related stakeholders (tax authorities, banks, etc.). Currently, he is an account manager at a medium-sized company in Italy and the C.E.O. of a small company in Madrid (Spain).

Oni Mckinstry

A student of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu since December 1999, she passed the SMS Base exam in 2001. A continuous member of IDC since she was authorised as a Level 3 Yantra Yoga Instructor by Rinpoche in 2016.
Oni was Secretary for Tsegyalgar East in 2007, and recently an Administrative Officer for Namgyalgar for almost 5 years as well as fill-in Gekö for Rinpoche’s retreat in 2015.
Her professional work experience includes 2 years as an Executive Secretary in the commissioner’s office of an Alaska state department and 2 1/2 years as an Administrative Specialist for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.
Oni has also been a Hatha Yoga instructor since 1993.

Rosa Altamirano

Rosa has been a student of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu since 1998 and passed her SMS Base exam in 2005. She was authorized by Rinpoche as a Vajra Dance Level 1 Instructor in 2010 and a Level 2 Instructor in 2011.
Rosa served on the Tashigar Sur Red Gakyil in 2002 and as its secretary from 2003 to 2005. She then served as the secretary for Tashigar Norte from 2006 to 2009. She also served on the Yellow Gakyil at Yangdakling in 2018.
Rosa holds a Commerce Degree in Accounting and Taxation, a Graduate Diploma in Chartered Accounting, and an Executive Master’s Degree in Business Administration.

Richard Clarke

Richard became a student of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu in 2003. He passed his SMS Base Exam in 2009. Living in New Zealand, he has served on the Gakyil in Yangdakling for a number of years. He holds a Master of Osteopathy and is currently running a software business he developed for New Zealand health professionals.

Piotr Marcik

Piotr has been a student of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu since 2011, and a member of the Merigar East Gakyil from 2012 to 2015, and again from 2018 to 2021.
Piotr is happily married to Monika, and they joyfully live with her son Szymon in Warsaw, Poland. He enjoys working with clients as a business development consultant, and occasionally also works as a film translator.

Our team is also supported by Svetlana Zoricheva – Red IG Assistant, Nikol Stanisova – IG secretary, and Marija Desal Bajic-Jovanovic – International Membership Coordinator. We are grateful for their indispensable assistance!

Svetlana Zoricheva
Red Gakyil Assistant

Svetlana has been Rinpoche’s student since 2016. She started becoming involved in the Russian Dzogchen Community activities in 2019. She became an IG Assistant in 2023.
Svetlana graduated from Moscow’s State Technical University with an Engineering Degree in Special Mechanical Engineering in 2006. Her working experience includes managing contemporary art and international photo and film visual media.
Svetlana is a practitioner of Japanese martial arts.

Nikol Stanisova
Secretary of the International Gakyil

Nikol has been a student of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche since 2006. She passed her SMS Base Exam in 2009.
Nikol was on the Yellow Gakyil in Prague, Czech Republic from 2010 to 2012, She then was the Geko in Merigar West, Italy from 2013 to 2016, and secretary of Meriling in Dzamling Gar, Tenerife Spain from 2017 to 2019. Nikol graduated from the  University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague, Czech Republic in 1996.

Marija Desal Bajic-Jovanovic
International Membership Coordinator

Marija was born in the former Yugoslavia and emigrated to France when she was young. She was surrounded by Dzogchen Community practitioners since childhood and took a serious interest in the teachings around the age of 18. Marija studied mathematics at a French university and became a high school math teacher for several years, and concurrently organized Vajra Dance study groups for interested practitioners in central and western France. Marija became the Membership Coordinator for Palriling (Paris) in 2020, served as Gekö of Merigar West for one year starting in September 2021, and has been on the Palriling Yellow Gakyil since 2022. Marija has been the International Membership Coordinator since October 2022 and became a First Level Yantra Yoga Instructor in April 2024.

Please join us in thanking the IG’s two recently retired members for their many years of service – Barbara Giurlanda our indefatigable and dedicated former Yellow and Vice-President of the IG, and Vince Li Wen Tai for his devoted service as Red Gakyil. We wish them both all the best in the years to come.

Best wishes,

Miranda, Fabrizio, Gabriella, Oni, Rosa, Piotr, Richard,  and Svetlana, Nikol and Marija

Your  International Gakyil Team

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