Hans Hageman - Executive Director, North America
Hans Hageman is a social entrepreneur. He has developed visionary solutions to improve education from Harlem to India. Hans grew up in Spanish Harlem, New York. His home was Exodus House, a pioneering residential drug treatment center started by his father.
Hans's parents were his first teachers in the importance of service to others. He went on to attend Princeton University and Columbia University School of Law. His law practice included work as a prosecutor, chief counsel to a U.S. Senate subcommittee and as a defense attorney.
In the early 1990s, he shifted his mission to work with children who had been under served by the education establishment. This led to his founding of the East Harlem School at Exodus, an independent school that predated charter legislation in New York.
His work there was honored with an Essence Magazine award and the Robin Hood Foundation Heroes Award, among others. It also brought him national media coverage from CNN, the New York Times, People Magazine, and the major television networks.
Hans went on to found two more schools. One school worked with teens who had left the public education system. Those students learned about the wider world through activities like desert survival training with Boulder Outdoor Survival School and First Responder training. They furthered their real world learning with service projects to Ghana, Senegal, and Nicaragua.
The other school was for poor Hindu and Muslim girls at the primary/elementary levels in India. During this time Hans also worked with major metropolitan police departments to improve their communications with the local communities.
In 2014, he became the interim Executive Director for Jitegemee, Inc., a program that works with homeless children in Kenya. He currently serves as the Executive Director of Children of Conservation (CofC). CofC supports sanctuaries for chimpanzees, gorillas, and elephants in Africa. It does this in large part by addressing the roots of poverty in the local communities. Extreme poverty in these communities leads to poaching and environmental destruction.
Hans's time in the Army Reserve, training as a Reiki master, Ashtanga yoga teacher training under David Swenson and his certification training in Permaculture Design through PRI, all inform his approach to the work.
“You don’t invent your mission, you detect it.” - Viktor Frankl