Our Team

Oliver Frohling, director


Oliver received his masters in geography and has been working on his doctorate from the University of Kentucky for the last fifteen years. His work has focused on strengthening lifestyles and forms of social organization beyond the market and state system, while also promoting educational exchanges between universities across the world. In addition to his role as SURCO director, he is involved in organic agriculture and projects to reclaim the urban environment for human life and to defend environmental and territorial rights. Oliver is not a vegetarian, but he respects different dietary practices.


Rocío Landa,Coordinator for Physical and Environmental Healing


Rocío is an anthropologist, interpreter, specialist in communications and water issues, Reiki therapist and writer. She has done health workshops in many communities from northern Mexico to the south. She has been living in Oaxaca for over 15 years in her self-built, sustainable house that now serves as a demonstration center to support different ecological workshops and serves as a healing center to practice alternative therapies.



Jonathan Treat, academic coordinator and delegation


Jonathan is a professor, journalist, and activist with extensive experience in Mesoamerica. He has spent the last 13 years living in Oaxaca. During this time, he has focused on themes including human rights, environmental rights, and alternatives to the neoliberal model of “development”, organizing and leading international delegations, writing (CIP Americas, Upside Down World, NarcoNews,etc.), and acting as Academic Director for various study abroad programs and alternative learning programs.



Melquiades (Kiado) Cruz Miguel, Coordinator of Information and Communication Technologies


Community organizer, communication technology innovator, and indigenous scholar, Kiado hails from the Zapotec town of Santa Cruz Yagavila. Everything Kiado has learned in his community as well as outside of it, he has used to reflect, motivate, and search for a different way of regenerating culture through communication. In the last few years Kiado has worked in various sectors—civil organizations, alternative and independent media, and public institutions. Through these experiences he has learned that the process of democratizing expression and creating new and expanded kinds of relationships,accompanies the hope that society can create new and autonomous ways of life.



Mónica Merino, Head of Administrative Affairs


Mónica has a degree in Tourism Business Administration. She joined the SURCO A.C. team in 2012. She is responsible for managing student delegations and cultural exchange logistics Additionally, Mónica manages the organization’s resources and finances.




Gildardo Juárez Vega, Coordinator of Popular Indigenous and Community Communication


Originally from Nativitas Coatlán Mixe and member of the Ayuuk people, Gildardo joined SURCO A.C. in August of 2015. In addition to his Degree in Communication for Social Development, he has had various experiences in community communication and alternative media.



Catalina Hernández Cisneros, Green space director


Catalina has worked to take advantage of small urban spaces including small rooftops and open spaces in houses and offices to grow vegetable by implementing solutions that are suitable for each unique space and ultimately promoting the food sovereignty of Oaxacan families. She is responsible for keeping the surcos (furrows) of the milpa in harmony.



Luisa Alejandra, community liaison


In an ongoing learning process around healing and music, Luisa works tending bridges between cultures and people in an attempt to negotiate the wealth of diversity for the common good.



Lindsey Elizabeth Funke, spatial technology coordinator


Lindsey, a graduate of the University of Kentucky, is a GIS Specialist and Digital Mapper with wide experience designing and facilitating mapping workshops.



Eugénie (Eu) Tailhandier, instructora trilingüe de sociología y traductora


Eugenie Tailhandier has a masters in sociology and political science. She has collaborated for several years with independent media collectives in Mexico, with a focus on communities who struggle for self_determination and autonomy. She is not only a dedicated communicator but she has also been involved in a variety of skill sharing projects with youth and community members who wish to produce their own media about their own struggles. She also investigates the use of violence against women in order to impose neoliberalism in communities in Mexico and the world. Since yoga does nothing for her, she trains Muay Thai. Better not mess with her.



Simón Sedillo, Instructor of geopolitics and political economy


Simón Sedillo has contributed to the production of a wide variety of documentary films, which focus primarily on the effects of neoliberalism and militarism on native communities, immigrant communities, and communities of color in the US and Mexico. Sedillo tours universities and community centers throughout the USA screening films and facilitating discussions and workshops on political economy and geopolitics. His work and research has primarily focused on strategies of implementation for the neoliberal military political economy. His favorite sport is eating.



Joe Bryan, Associate Researcher


Has worked with indigenous peoples’ movements in the Americas since the 1990s, researching questions related to territorial rights, environment, and participatory mapping. Since 2012 he has been a SURCO collaborator, participating in the Indigenous Geopolitics Seminar and developing research projects on territory, indigeneity, and political economy in Oaxaca. He is the author with Denis Wood of Weaponizing Maps (2015), as well as numerous articles and book chapters. He is Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Colorado, Boulder.