• Chair

    Annelies Zoomers is Professor of International Development Studies (IDS) at Utrecht University and chair of LANDac. After finishing her PhD in 1988, she worked for the Netherlands Economic Institute (Rotterdam) and the Royal Tropical Institute (Amsterdam) on long and short-term consulting assignments for various organizations (World Bank, IFAD, DGIS, ILO, EU, DGIS etc.) in various countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Between 1995 and 2007, she was Associate Professor at the Centre for Latin American Research and Documentation (Amsterdam), and was Professor of International Migration at the Radboud University (Nijmegen) between 2005 and 2009. She has published extensively about sustainable livelihoods; land policies and the impact of privatization, tourism and international migration. She is member of the permanent commission for development cooperation (COS) under auspices of the Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV) and member of the world connectors.

  • Co-Chair

    Guus van Westen is a Geographer with the International Development Studies group at the Faculty of GeoSciences, Utrecht University, since 1994. His main research interest is in regional and local development, in particular the link between private sector development on the one hand and specific social and political institutions on the other. He conducted research  on regional economic systems and their developmental outcomes by comparing several regions in South East Asia. Other work focused on urban geography in Africa, notably on habitat and residential mobility. He lectures in the IDS master programmes as well as in the Bachelor programmes in Human Geography and Planning of Utrecht University, as well as at University College Utrecht. His teaching concentrates on Development theories, human geography of Developing countries, regional economic development, and political geography. He is also the coordinator of the International Development track of the Sustainable Development Master programme, offered in collaboration with the Environmental Studies Department of the same faculty. Recently, land rights and land governance have been taken up as a new subject area, especially within the framework of LANDac.

  • Research Coordinator

    Griet Steel joined LANDac as a postdoctoral researcher in April 2016 and has been the Research Coordinator since January 2017, where she manages LANDac’s academic agenda. She studied cultural anthropology and development sociology at the Leiden University. Since defending her PhD in October 2008 at Utrecht University, she has worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute of Development Policy and Management (IOB) at the University of Antwerp, the Institute of Anthropological Research in Africa (IARA) at KU Leuven, and the International Development Studies (IDS) group at Utrecht University. Her research focuses on global flows such as migration, land acquisition and small-scale entrepreneurship. She has mostly worked in Latin America (Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Nicaragua) and has recently started to broaden the geographical scope of her research to the African continent, Sudan in particular. She is involved in international research projects addressing the interplay between technology, land and migration and the broader challenges of urban land governance in terms of speculation, foreign investments and real estate development.

  • Coordinator

    Lucy Oates has an academic background in Geography and International Development Studies. She graduated cum laude from the University of Amsterdam in 2016 with a thesis about the governance of multi-functional landscapes in Vietnam, specifically focusing on forest fragments and their important contribution to rural livelihoods. Prior to completing her MSc, Lucy spent three years working in the public sector as a transport engineer in London. Lucy has also worked on short-term assignments for DFID/IIED (United Kingdom), Tropenbos (Vietnam) and REDDForests (Australia). She is now the Coordinator of LANDac, where she is responsible for – among other things – communications, events, and desk-based research. Her research interests are in processes of urbanisation with a focus on large-scale infrastructure development (particularly public transport infrastructure) in the context of social justice and climate change.

  • Knowledge Facilitator

    Gemma Betsema has a background in Sociology and International Development Studies. She graduated from the University of Amsterdam in 2010 with a thesis about local adaptation strategies to climate change of small-scale farmers in rural Cambodia. Research areas of interest within international development include small-scale agriculture, climate change adaptation strategies, land issues, the UN Voluntary Guidelines on Land Tenure, responsible investment and food security. Gemma has worked for research funding agency WOTRO, and was involved in short-term assignments for the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), the VU University’s Centre for International Cooperation (CIC) and as a consultant on land governance for DGIS (Directorate General International Cooperation) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In addition, she contributed to a MVO Nederland commissioned study at the Utrecht University into Dutch and European entrepreneurs in the agro-food sector and their CSR activities. She started working at LANDac in 2012. Since 2015, Gemma has been closely involved in the development of a knowledge agenda on land governance and food security (together with the Food & Business Knowledge Platform and other partners), including a country-specific learning trajectory on land governance and food security in Ethiopia, Ghana and Uganda. As part of this knowledge agenda, she also co-authored the publication ‘Flowers for food? Scoping study on Dutch flower farms, land governance and local food security in Eastern Africa’.