Benjamin De Loenen

Benjamin De Loenen

Life after AYA2014, Iboga in Bwiti and the West.

Benjamin De Loenen studied audiovisual media in The Netherlands, and received his Masters degree with honors as a film director and editor for his documentary ‘Ibogaine-Rite of Passage’ (2004), which he directed and produced.

He became active as a public speaker about iboga internationally and eventually founded the International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research & Service (ICEERS) in 2009 in The Netherlands. ICEERS has currently an office in Barcelona, Spain and Montevideo, Uruguay, and is involved in scientific research into ayahuasca, iboga and cannabis, policy reform activities, educational activities and services related to risk reduction and legal support.




Presentation Abstracts:

Life After AYA2014: Challenges of the Globalization of Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca has spread beyond the frontiers of the Amazon, shaping its place in a globalized world. This process however poses a number of challenges that require a meticulous and collaborative treatment. In this framework, the ICEERS Foundation organized the World Ayahuasca Conference, Ibiza in September of 2014 (AYA2014), aimed to gather the international ayahuasca community as well as key people working in public policy reform and dialogue about these challenges and ways to catalyze a constructive future for ayahuasca in our globalized world. One of the outcomes of the conference was the establishment of the Ibiza Expert Committee for the Regularization of Psychoactive Ethnobotanicals, composed of lawyers, legal strategists, academics and drug policy reform experts. This presentation will provide more insight into the challenges and our strategies and advances in addressing them since AYA2014.


Iboga: Bwiti vs. the West

Bwiti Ritual

Iboga is used since millennia in Central West Africa by the Pygmies and Bwiti religions in rites of passage and for healing. In 1962 an American heroin dependent man, Howard Lotsof, discovered that after ingesting a pure extract made from the rootbark of the Tabernanthe Iboga plant, his opiate withdrawal and craving vanished. An underground and Western medical model for ibogaine use emerged, very distinct from the traditional ceremonial context. Today, Ibogaine is a prescription medication in New Zealand. It is illegal in about eight countries, the United States being one of them. This presentation explains, supported by audiovisual footage, the context of use of iboga in the Bwiti and compares it with the Western treatment model, emphasizing aspects such as safety, social support and community participation, preparation, etc.


Panel Discussion:

Forces Behind the Movement – Presentation of Organizations
Panelist: Benjamin De Loenen

A representative from each organization will describe their organization, their mission and provide a status on current activities.

The Aware ProjectAshley Booth
Botanical DimensionsKathleen Harrison
ERIELarry Norris
GITAJohn Harrison
ICEERS – Ben De Loenen
MAPSBerra Yazar-Klosinski
NierikaAnja Loizaga-Velder 
Women’s Visionary CongressAnnie Oak
Moderator: Kenneth Tupper, PhD

Film Screening:

Ayahuasca: Operación Ignorancia (Operation Ignorance) working title
A film by Benjamin De Loenen


In 2009 the Chilean Police Department violently raided an Ayahuasca Ritual in the center Manto Wasi in Santiago de Chile. The public prosecutor was on on personal mission to eradicate everything related to this mind-altering concoction – a long legal battle started… Rumi and Danae, accused for endangering public health and drug trafficking, decided to fight for justice, demonstrating that ayahuasca is a valid therapeutic tool. Their struggle to overcome the heavy accusations by the media and justice system and the social stigma around ayahuasca is visualized in this heart-stirring documentary…


ICEERS More about AyahuascaICEERS More about Iboga