The EFTRE Executive manages the day-to-day business of the organisation. At the General Assembly a Chair, Secretary and Chief Treasurer are elected from among the members of the Board. These officers along with a Website Manager and up to five other nominated members form the Executive Committee. They will serve for three years unless there is cause for them to be removed or if they step down in which case replacements shall be voted in at the next meeting of the Board.
Lesley has been involved in Religious Education in England for nearly thirty years. She has served as a part-time Senior Lecturer in RE at the University of Roehampton in South-West London since 2009 where she is involved in initial teacher training for those preparing to work in both primary (4–11 years) and secondary (11–18 years) schools. Lesley is also an RE advisor to eleven different local government areas in Greater London and runs training for serving teachers in their schools as well as helping to develop their new syllabuses for the subject.
Lesley first became aware of the work of EFTRE in 2001 when she attended the EFTRE Conference in Edinburgh in Scotland and she had been part of every EFTRE Conference since then. Lesley joined the Board and the Executive after the Budapest Conference in 2007 and became Chair of EFTRE in 2013.
Elisabeth has been teaching Religious Education since 1992 and currently teaches RE in Upper Secondary Education at Aalborg Katedralskole in Denmark. Elisabeth also teaches History. She lives and works in the northern part of Denmark in the city of Aalborg. Elisabeth graduated from Århus University in 1992 with a BA in History and an MA in Religious Studies. Elisabeth has arranged courses about Buddhism and about Japanese and Chinese religion. Elisabeth has been supervisor for new RE teachers.
Elisabeth has been an EFTRE Board Member for the Danish RE-organisations since 2005 and EFTRE’s secretary since 2013. On the EFTRE Board she represents her own organisation The Danish Association for RE teachers in Upper Secondary Education., the Danish organisation for Primary School RE teachers and the Danish organisation for College Teachers. She has attended the EFTRE conferences in Budapest, Bruges, Malmø and Vienna.
Elisabeth can be contacted at
Hugo Verkest is a senior lecturer at the University College VIVES situated in the Flemish part of Belgium. He has worked in this higher education institute for more than 30 years. Training students to become teachers in early childhood, primary education is his core business. His main course is didactics of religion at the teacher training college in Torhout and Kortrijk. Ten years ago he started up with a colleague an optional courses of Remembrance Education in relation to World Wars and colonial history and the refugee crisis. He has organised study trips to Poland, Baltic States and Andalusia.
You can find his name on publication in relation to guidelines for RE textbooks (Theo, TOV, Respons,…). With some colleagues he did some practice-based research about new tendencies in RE. He has also worked as expert, trainer or trainee on a range of international programmes (Pestalozzi – Council of Europe) and recently for a Jean Monnet project about citizenship education.
Hugo has been a board member of EFTRE (2001). Since 2007 he has been its treasurer.
Sandra Cullen is Head of School of Human Development and Assistant Professor of Religious Education at Dublin City University. She is also the Director of the Irish Centre for Religious Education which supports research, practice and policy development in RE. Sandra taught post-primary RE for fourteen years before moving into initial teacher education for RE teachers. She teaches a range of modules at undergraduate and postgraduate level and supervises doctoral theses in RE. She contributes to a number of academic books and journals and regularly presents at workshops for teachers. Her own PhD focused on the religious education of the RE teacher.
Sandra has been a member of the EFTRE Board since 2011 and was delighted to host the EFTRE Conference in Dublin in 2019. EFTRE has given her a wonderful opportunity to connect with enthusiastic and committed RE teachers across Europe.
Sonja has been involved in Religious Education in Austria since 1991. She has first become a teacher at a gymnasium and in 1999 she started organizing the in service training of RE teachers of secondary schools. In 2000 she became head of department of the in service training of RE teachers of secondary schools in Austria in the Protestant Institut for Religious Education. Sonja started teaching primary teachers at the Private University College for Teacher Training Vienna/Krems in 2007, and secondary teachers at the University of Vienna in 2017 and at the Private University College of Linz in 2020.
Sonja got in touch with EFTRE for the first time at the Conference in Edinburgh in 2001. She joined the executive till 2004 when she was elected Chairperson of EFTRE at the Budapest Conference. She stepped back in 2013 and remained an executive member.
Bianca is an educational researcher at the Comenius-Institute in Münster, Germany. Her role is entitled „ Protestant responsibility for education in Europe”. Her task is to promote exchange and research in religious education in Europe. She is engaged in various European networks around Church and School issues such as ICCS and CoGREE. Beforehand, Bianca worked at the education department of the EKD church office as project manager for the worldwide network of Protestant schools “GPENreformation”. Bianca studied political sciences including a focus on European studies and speaks German, French and English.
Bianca has been part of the EFTRE executive since 2019 and is currently the person responsible for membership management.
Marios Koukounaras Liagkis
Marios Koukounaras Liagkis is Associate Professor of Pedagogy and Religious Education at Dep. at Theology at National an Kapodistrian University of Athens. He holds degrees in theology, education, and Greek literature. His research interests focus on Religious Education (learning and teaching), Curriculum, Teacher’s professional development, Human Rights, Inclusive Education and Drama/Theatre in Education. His publications include 8 books and a numerus of articles. He is currently working on a project on the teaching of Competencies of Democratic Culture, in the RE Curriculum development in Greece and on EWC’s ‘School for all’-Integration of refugee children in Greek Schools project.
Marios has been a member of the EFTRE Board since 2009. EFTRE has given Marios the opportunity to connect with RE teachers and research more on RE as an active member of EFTRE’s learning community. He was from the beginning member of executive board and since 2019 is member of the board.
Outi Raunio Hannula
Outi came to the executive board of EFTRE in 2008. She worked as a teacher of RE over 20 years and now she is a Councellor of Education in Finnish National Agency for Education. She has master degrees in both Theology and in Arts (Education).
Outi can be contacted at
After qualifying as a teacher in 1969, Norman taught Religious Education and Music in secondary schools in London before continuing his career in Belfast, Northern Ireland, from 1973. There he became closely involved in cross-community work in Northern Ireland’s separated schooling system, while also developing and promoting inclusive approaches to the teaching of RE. In the early 1980s he was appointed as an ecumenical peace education officer, developing resources and training in inter-community relationships and inter-religious understanding. Since 1997 Norman has worked with student teachers as a Lecturer in Religious Studies and Diversity Education at Stranmillis University College, currently post-retirement in a part-time capacity. In his research and writing he continues to focus on inclusive and multi-faith approaches to RE and is involved with a range of professional RE organisations in Ireland, the UK and internationally. Norman is a long-standing member of the Corrymeela Community, Northern Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation organisation.
Having attended the Budapest EFTRE Conference in 2007, Norman joined the EFTRE Board as representative for Northern Ireland. He has attended all the EFTRE Conferences and Board Meetings since then, often leading workshops on themes such as teaching controversial issues in RE, and in 2012 hosted the Board in Belfast. Following the 2019 EFTRE Conference in Dublin, Norman organised an optional extension programme in Northern Ireland. He currently serves on the EFTRE Executive Committee as the UK Treasurer.
More information will follow.