• 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

    Marthe Derkzen started working for LANDac in March 2018 and is responsible for the overall coordination of the LANDac partnership: network facilitation and project management. She coordinates the annual international conference, events and board meetings and is in charge of communications and extension work. Her research focuses on (peri-)urban development, ecosystem restoration and stewardship of the commons in the context of social justice and climate change. She published on quantification and valuation methods for urban ecosystem services, working with the municipality of Rotterdam on green infrastructure for climate adaptation and with Azim Premji University in Bangalore on slum dwellers’ reliance on rapidly degrading urban lakes. Marthe has a PhD in Urban Social Ecology from VU University Amsterdam and an MSc in Sustainable Development & International Development from Utrecht University. Prior to her role with LANDac, Marthe worked as a policy officer at the research funding agency NWO (WOTRO & Life Sciences) on a Circular Economy programme and for the Food & Business Knowledge Platform.

  • LANDdialogue & Learning Platforms

    Gemma Betsema has a background in Sociology and International Development Studies. Areas of interest within international development include land governance, inclusive business and multi-stakeholder processes. Prior to starting at LANDac, Gemma 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. She started working at LANDac in 2012 as a general coordinator. Since 2017, Gemma leads LANDac’s work on multi-stakeholder processes, including the design and implementation of Learning Platforms in investment hubs in Tanzania, Mozambique and Uganda. Next to her work on Learning Platforms, she is responsible for the LANDdialogue, an initiative by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The LANDdialogue brings together policy makers, universities, NGOs, private and financial sector partners to identify practical solutions for better land governance in line with the UN Voluntary Guidelines on Land Tenure.