The International Development Studies Alumni Association of Utrecht University

Welcome to IDSAA

This is the website for the alumni association of the International Development Studies group of Utrecht University - the place to connect and share knowledge with IDS as well as with fellow students, graduates and the wider IDS community.

IDSAA’s mission is to help current and former students and IDS affiliates connect with each other through a wealth of professional and social networking activities including continuing education programs and frequent events. If you are a current Master or PhD student at IDS or SD- ID, a graduate or former staff or board member of Utrecht University under the SGO, SGIO, IDS or SD - ID Master degrees, please register for membership to stay in the loop.

This site is constantly evolving! Check back regularly for interesting updates as well as to take advantage of IDSAA benefits such as the upcoming Alumni Mentor program!

Knowledge for Development 2016: Annual Alumni Day

New avenues towards the Sustainable Development Goals: urban development from a global perspective

On Friday September 9, 2016 the International Development Studies (IDS, formerly SGO/SGOI) program of Utrecht University organises its annual Alumni Day.  This is a great opportunity to catch up with former classmates and lecturers, network with other professionals and enjoy fascinating key note lectures and discussions. Alumni (IDS, SD-ID, SGO, SGOI), former staff members and PhD students are invited to attend this event. Entrance is free, and registration is not necessary.

Friday 9 September  13.30-18.00  incl. drinks        Free entrance
Venue: Boothzaal, UU Library, Heidelberglaan 3 (UU campus), Utrecht

Organized by IDS-UU and IDSAA (IDS Alumni Association)

This exciting event includes : 

  • Three key note lectures by inspiring speakers, followed by a panel discussion
  • A pitch about the Shared Value Foundation (Ruud Bosch and Romy Santpoort)
  • The traditional photo collage competition: new MA students will pitch their photo collages, followed by a prize ceremony in which the jury will announce this year’s winner
  • Network activities with alumni and students
  • Drinks

Keynote speakers:

Paul van Lindert, Associate Professor of International Development Studies, Utrecht University

About old and new urban policy agendas. Some implications for a research agenda on sustainable urban development
Over the past few decades, international urban policy agendas for the Global South have been strongly influenced by UN-Conferences Habitat I (1976) and Habitat II (1996). Even though these agendas included foci on urban governance, housing rights and liveability, much of local government practice was driven by the urge to achieve urban competitiveness and bring their cities into the world class urban league. The New Urban Agenda that is to be agreed upon next month (Habitat III) should address this issue and provide guidelines and support for sustainable urban development that prioritises inclusive local governance and social justice. From this perspective, some suggestions for a research agenda will be discussed.  

Malovika Pawar, Indian Administrative Service and Utrecht University

The New Land Acquisition Act In India: Opportunities and Challenges Ahead
The new Land Acquisition Act in India (2013) was a landmark law to introduce certain limits to the power of eminent domain, and to facilitate  projects for social and economic infrastructure, industrialisation, and urban expansion. However, the Act remains deadlocked, due to widespread opposition to proposed changes by the new government. In this difficult scenario, a new alternative to compulsory acquisition, called Land Pooling, has been introduced, especially in the peri-urban areas.  

Roberto Rocco, Assistant Professor at the group of Spatial Planning and Strategy of the TU Delft 

A New Urban Agenda in times of financial capitalism
This lecture explores the intimate ties between economic system and the production of urban space in order to critically discuss urbanization processes in the Global South.  The point made concerns the exclusion of large amounts of citizens from formal modes of production of the city. Those excluded from formal modes of production of urban space must make appeal to informal modes of spatial production.  This has consequences for their standing as citizens (their ‘right to the city’) and for the sustainability of urban environments.  

Second Transmobilities Seminar: Researching migration and mobilities (Tuesday 15 December)


Human migration and mobilities are part and parcel of our increasingly inter-connected world. Migration and mobility issues are multi-faceted and have relevance to practically all aspects of our global society. How can we, as researchers, study the nature and impact of translocal/transnational mobilities? The second event of our Seminar Series focuses on methodological concerns. We will learn about and discuss the strengths and pitfalls of quantitative (e.g. event history analysis of migration biographies - Hooimeijer) and qualitative approaches (e.g. translocal ethnographic ‘mobile research’ - Schapendonk), and the potential of mixed-method approaches. We invite you to attend the panel discussion

Researching migration and mobilities

By: Prof. Pieter Hooimeijer (Utrecht University) Dr. Joris Schapendonk (Radboud University Nijmegen)

At: Lecture hall ‘Atlas’ (room 1.38), Victor J. Koningsberger Building, Budapestlaan 4a-b, Uithof, Utrecht University

On: Tuesday, 15 December 2015, 15.00 - 17.00

Pieter Hooimeijer is Professor of Human Geography and Demography at the Urban and Regional Research Centre of Utrecht University. He has published widely on household demography, residential mobility, migration and urban development. His main research interest is the recursive relation between population change on the one hand and the dynamics of housing and labour markets on the other at a variety of spatial scales ranging from neighbourhoods to metropolitan areas. His current research projects are based in the Randstad, Chinese cities and Rwanda.

Joris Schapendonk is Assistant Professor at the department of Geography, Planning and Environment of Radboud University (Netherlands) and researcher at Nijmegen Centre for Border Research. His main research interest centers around the topics of transit migration, African im/mobilities, transnationalism, borders and development. His work has been published in various academic journals, and most notably in The Annals of Association of American Geographers, Population, Space and Place and Migration Studies. In 2014, he obtained a personal research grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) to conduct research on the mobility trajectories and experiences of West African migrants in the European Union.

The Transmobilities Seminar Series is a knowledge sharing platform for researchers working on topics surrounding international/transnational migration and mobilities, especially on the interrelation between mobilities and sustainable development. It is organised under the framework of the research theme ‘Transnational Mobilities and Sustainable Futures’ of the Department of Human Geography and Planning at Utrecht University. Activities include regular seminars, international workshops and conferences.

For further information, please contact: Annelies Zoomers,  Maggi Leung, or Femke van Noorloos 

IDS organises Inaugural Transmobilities Seminar

Transmobilities Seminar Series

Human migration and mobility are part and parcel of our increasingly inter-connected world. The recent so-called ‘refugee crisis’ has underlined the need for more attention to migration issues, which are multi-faceted and have relevance to practically all aspects of our global society. The Transmobilities Seminar Series is a knowledge sharing platform for researchers working on topics surrounding international/transnational migration and mobilities, especially on the interrelation between mobilities and sustainable development. It is organised under the framework of the research theme ‘Transnational Mobilities and Sustainable Futures’ of the Department of Human Geography and Planning at Utrecht University. Activities include regular seminars, international workshops and conferences. To commence the Seminar Series, we invite you to attend 

Inaugural Transmobilities Seminar: ‘Immigration, Transnationalism, and Development: The State of the Question’

By Prof. Alejandro Portes (Princeton University and University of Miami, USA)
At Ruppert A, Uithof, Utrecht University
On Friday, 23 October 2015

From 13.30 to 15.30

As part of the book launch of a new volume The State and the Grassroots: Immigrant Transnational Organizations in Four Continents edited by Alejandro Portes and Patricia Fernández-Kelly, Prof. Portes will deliver a keynote speech on ‘Transnational migrant organizations and development’.

Prof. Alejandro Portes is a prominent Cuban-American Sociologist. He is Howard Harrison and Gabrielle S. Beck Professor of Sociology (Emeritus) at Princeton University, and Research Professor at the University of Miami. His academic studies have focused on immigration to the United States and factors affecting the fates of migrants and their children. Prof. Portes served as Belle van Zuylen Visiting Chair in the Department of Human Geography and Planning at Utrecht University from 2008 to 2010.

The keynote speech will be followed by a panel discussion on the current state of and future research agenda on the migration-development nexus. Participants of the panel are: Ajay Bailey (University of Groningen), Margit Fauser (Bielefeld University), Mayke Kaag (Leiden University), Joris Schapendonk (Radboud University Nijmegen), Lothar Smith (Radboud University Nijmegen) and Annelies Zoomers (Utrecht University).

Attendance at the Seminar is free of charge.

For further information, please contact: Annelies Zoomers, Maggi Leung or Gery Nijenhuis.

INVITATION: IDS / SGO 50th Anniversary Celebration & Alumni Day


Looking back and forth at 50 years of International Development: Towards the new Sustainable Development Goals

On Friday September 4, 2015 the International Development Studies (IDS, formerly SGO/SGOI) Master’s and Research Program in the Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning at Utrecht University, celebrates its 50th Anniversary with a reunion and a special program focusing on knowledge-sharing and professional networking through panels and workshops. Speakers include international experts such as dr. Vandana Desai (Royal Holloway, University of London) and Rene Grotenhuis (UU, ex Cordaid). This largest reunion to date is the perfect opportunity to catch up with former classmates and lecturers, share your experiences with professionals and become up-to-date with the most relevant IDS-topics in one day! Alumni (IDS, SD-ID, SGO, SGOI), former staff members and PhD students are invited to attend this event in the Jacobikerk and Oudaen in the centre of Utrecht

On Friday September 4, 2015 the International Development While IDS/SGO is celebrating its 50 years anniversary, the development landscape is experiencing important transformations. We are moving from the Millennium Development Goals to the Sustainable Development Goals: not only are development policies, finance and practices subject to rapid change, so are the underlying paradigms. More and more has development included issues of environmental sustainability and declining natural resources; but it has also moved from a one-sided focus on ‘developing countries’ to a more global interconnected perspective. On the other hand, ‘aid and trade’ are increasingly blurred, particularly in Dutch development policy.
This event will bring you up-to-date with the most relevant IDS-topics, by delving into the question: what do the SDGs and related transformations mean for different topics and practices in (sustainable) development?  After 50 years, in an increasingly globalized and interconnected world, development and Development Studies are very much alive and more relevant than ever for a broad range of topics and sectors. 

When: Friday 4 September 2015, 12.30- 21.00 hrs


Where:   12.30-17.30 Jacobikerk, St.Jacobsstraat 171, Utrecht.  

              18.00-21.00 Stadskasteel Oudaen, Oudegracht 99, Utrecht.


Cost: €20 (event & drinks); €45 (event, drinks & dinner)


12.30    Walk in Jacobikerk  (coffee/tea provided; no lunch)
13.00   Opening speech Gert Tempelman and Annelies Zoomers: Looking back and forward at 50 years of IDS/SGO
13.20    Keynote Vandana Desai (Royal Holloway, University of London) Looking back and forward: emerging trends and patterns in international development 
14.10     Pitch by Rene Grotenhuis (UU / ex Cordaid), followed by discussion between speakers and audience. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) & the future of development
15.00      Coffee break
15.30       Break-out sessions / workshops*
Choice between workshops:

        • Responsible business simulation game (organised by Maarten Pronk, Sjoerd Wiersma, Guus van Westen, and Michelle Nuijen)
        • The global land grab (organised by Annelies Zoomers)
        • Urban development, the SDGs and new actors in development: a discussion (organised by Femke van Noorloos, in collaboration with Emiel Wegelin, Vandana Desai, Paul van Lindert, Ine Cottyn and others)
        • Sexual and reproductive health and rights in the wake of Post 2015 (organised by Dinu Abdella)
        • Migration and new mobilities (organised by Gery Nijenhuis, Maggi Leung and Pete Schumacher)

16.30     Creative intermezzo

16.45      Wrap-up and discussion with IDS Alumni Association (IDSAA), speakers and audience: 
                Community building among IDS alumni and students: creating new ideas
17.30      Sustainable Fashion Show
18.00       Walk Down Memory Lane to Oudaen (400 meters)
18:15 – 21.00 Dinner / drinks at Oudaen

Eelco Koolhaas (Ministerie van Verhalen) will facilitate this event with innovative narrative and visual techniques.

How to register

Click here for registration and payment.  Registration instructions: Please tick ‘IDS / SGO 50th Anniversary Celebration & Alumni Day’ and ‘volgende’. Choose your option and click ‘volgende’ twice (don’t mind the ‘ikzelf’ button below). Now you will be guided through registration and payment. Payment is possible with Ideal and Paypal. You will receive an email confirmation of your registration from the UU Alumni Association (Universiteitsfonds).
Registration is possible up to 3 September; however, it is recommended to register as soon as possible. If you register on 3 September, please bring a payment confirmation to be assured. There is also an option to pay cash at the event (not for dinner), but it is highly recommended to register beforehand. 
For any questions please email


Both locations are within 5 minutes walking distance (400 meters) from each other.

IIAS Annual Lecture: Amartya Sen in Amsterdam

You've read the books, now go see the man.

The Annual Lecture 2015 of the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) will be delivered by the renowned Indian economist and philosopher, Professor Amartya Sen. His lecture will focus on the morbidity and mortality that remain exceptionally high, both in Africa and parts of Asia. The explanation lies partly in the absence of health care and epidemiological interventions, but also in the defective way public health care is organized. There are, however, exceptions from which other countries can learn. Thailand, China, Rwanda, the Indian state of Kerala and Bangladesh provide lessons of different kinds of relevance from which lessons can be drawn. Life and death depend also on policy wisdom, and not only on human predicament beyond our control.

The event is scheduled for March 10, 2015.  Registration, required, happens here.

Summer school 2015: Course on governance and climate change

Climate change and variability are affecting the livelihoods of many communities across the global South. While now prominently on the policy and academic agenda, the complex ways in which the discourses, policies and practices of climate change adaptation and mitigation influence ‘development’ and social change across Africa, Latin America and Asia, are still unknown to many. Governance of climate change adaptation needs a thorough connection to local knowledge, innovations and perspectives.

This course introduces students to the current issues of climate change in relation to development and governance. We discuss climate change dynamics across scales from an interdisciplinary social science perspective. This course allows students to gain a more complex understanding of the challenges and opportunities for increasing resilience. Featuring an interactive format, students are explicitly challenged to bring in their own experiences and expertise on a variety of contexts. Lectures and workshops are given by recognized experts from academia, policy and practice. For more information and to apply, go here.

New release: Report on gender equality and SD

The World Survey on the Role of Women in Development 2014 has been released. The report, released by UN Women every 5 years, focuses on sustainable development and gender equity. This latest report includes chapters on the green economy and care work, food security, population dynamics, and investments for gender-responsive sustainable development. The report comes at a crucial moment, as the global community grapples with the definition of the Sustainable Development Goals and the emergence of the post-2015 framework. Against this context, the report asserts the central role of gender equality in charting the rationale and the actions necessary to achieve sustainable development. The World Survey uses three criteria to assess whether policy actions and investments for sustainable development adequately address gender equality. It offers a comprehensive set of recommendations for gender-responsive policy actions and investments towards sustainable development overall, as well as for the selected areas which the World Survey emphasizes. Download the report here.

IDSAA Book Launch & Drinks: 18 December 2014

On Thursday 18 December IDSAA hosts a special launch of the book "Development in a glance; a journey through a changing world", made by the 2013-14 batch IDS and SD-ID students. The book - a yearly tradition at IDS - brings together a collection of the best journalistic articles about students' research across the world. Besides the launch of this book, two very interesting short field documentaries made by students will be shown. All this will take place in a festive pre-holidays atmosphere with drinks & bites!

When: Thursday 18 December 17-18.30hrs

Where: room Ruppert Rood, Ruppert Building, Leuvenlaan 21, Uithof campus, Utrecht

Attendance is free.

Students' field documentaries

During their fieldwork IDS and SD-ID students frequently engage in more than research: this year for example, two of them have provided a broader outreach for the issues and people they've worked with by making insightful and beautiful short documentaries. Sandro Runci vividly captures the daily lives of the 'illegal' miners he has worked with in Ghana in his documentary 'Going for Gold', which can be watched here. 'Untouchable Food for Untouchable Women' by Rana Kamali  (in collaboration with Ross Fernandez) examines the social exclusion and discrimination of low-caste Dalit and Tribal women and within food related government schemes in rural Madhya Pradesh, India; it can be watched here .



Friday 5 September 2014 from 13:30 - 17:00

Every year on the last Friday of September, the International Development Studies Group of Utrecht University conducts an event on a relevant development issue. For new students in one of the IDS masters programmes (the one year IDS master and the 2-year International Development track of the Sustainable Development master) this day marks the end of the introduction programme and an opportunity to meet previous generations; for all alumni it is an opportunity to touch base at IDS again, meet each other and enjoy interesting talks and debates on issues that are high on the development agenda.

On 5 September 2014 the role of ‘responsible business’ in development is on the agenda. Development policy and international cooperation puts more and more emphasis on the private sector as agent for development. The dynamism of entrepreneurship generates jobs and income and is a major source of innovation, and can thus make important contributions to sustainable and equitable development. Moreover, ideas about the relationship between the private sector and society at large are changing, with increasing interest in social entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility, and the pursuit of ‘shared value’. Various initiatives of self-regulation as in product and process certification programmes and round tables are further examples. At the same time, different critics warn us that there are also clear limitations as to what can be expected from private entrepreneurs.


13:00 Welcome with coffee and tea

13:30 Food for thought on Development:

- Guus van Westen (IDS): Introduction to ‘Responsible Business’: What is new, and is it development?

- Thijs Rutgers (Netherlands-Africa Business Council): Dutch business in Africa

- Peter Konijn / Henk Gilhuis (Utz Certified): The role of certification in upgrading business practices

- Johan te Velde (Double Loop Advisors): Employment and social stability in (post-) conflict areas

Panel discussion on responsible business and sustainable and equitable development


Meet the Class of 2014: A festive welcome to new batch of master students IDS and SD-ID

Followed by drinks and gossip


Boothzaal Universiteitsbibliotheek Uithof, Heidelberglaan 3, Utrecht

Attendance is free but please register here.

Book launch!

The official launch of our collaborative book ‘The Global Land Grab – Beyond the Hype’ is taking place on 3 July 2014 at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague! The minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Minister Ploumen, will be receiving a copy of our book from the editors after which there will be a short presentation and discussion. To register attendance, please email LANDac coordinator Gemma Betsema mentioning full names and affiliation. You can also read a review. Hope to see you there!

Date: 03 July 2014

Time: 12.30– 13.15

Place: Maxvan der Stoel Zaal, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Den Haag

Land Governance for Development summer school 2014

From July 7 to 18 IDS's Land Governance for Development summer school will be coming to Utrecht again. The course will provide participants with thorough knowledge on current problems together with academic and policy debates in relation to land and development. The course is both multidisciplinary in design and attendance, and is therefore geared towards academics and practitioners from a variety of fields who share a common interest in this theme. For registration details and the day-to-day programme see here

IDS news: Spring 2014

The latest IDS Newsletter gives you details about staff changes, new research and publications, impressions from the field and upcoming events. Check it out here!

IDS authors featured in The Global Land Grab

The last two years have seen a huge amount of academic, policy-making and media interest in the increasingly contentious issue of ‘land grabbing’ - the large-scale acquisition of land in the global South. It is a phenomenon against which locals seem defenseless, and one about which multilateral organizations such as the World Bank as well as civil-society organizations and action NGOs have become increasingly vocal. This in-depth and empirically diverse volume takes a step back from the hype to explore a number of key questions: Does the ‘Global Land Grab’ actually exist? If so, what is new about it? And what, beyond the immediately visible dynamics and practices, are the real problems?

This comprehensive and much-needed intervention on one of the most hotly contested but little-understood issues facing Global South countries today is edited by Mayke Kaag and Annelies Zoomers and features contributions from IDS staff among others.
Learn more, check out the reviews or order your copy here.

WRI launches interactive map on natural resource rights in SSA

The World Resources Institute conducted a systematic review of the national framework laws for five natural resources—water, trees, wildlife, minerals, and petroleum—in 49 sub-Saharan African countries. The results are presented in their new Rights to Resources map, an online tool that provides a visual overview of resource rights in Africa and allows users to compare findings across countries and resources. Read the WRI blog post that discusses the findings of the review or access the map for more information.

Lessons to learn about meat and the world

Plate alienation - does this make us more (or less) food secure? Including varied topics such as urban livestock, the Latin American soy empire and superbugs to the impact of a narrow genetic basis of livestock and vegetarianism, this new report outlines the political and ethical dimensions of food to highlight the fact that diet is not a personal matter. Since you won't find this information on food packaging, read the full report, from Heinrich Böll Foundation, here.

The reluctant mogul: David Tran & Sriracha

If you are a foodie, chances are you have tasted Sriracha hot sauce. David Tran, Sriracha creator and Vietnamese immigrant living in Los Angeles, is an unconventional CEO who shuns publicity, claims not to care about profits, and hardly knows where his sauces are sold. Yet sales continue to grow - last year they touched roughly 20 million bottles and $60 million dollars - despite not spending a cent on advertising.Compelled? Read Roberto A. Ferdman's article on Quartz for interesting contemplations into the chili business - one of ten fastest growing industries in the United States at $1 billion a year in global sales - and for what makes a business successful.

From street maps, prison gangs to Spotify: Commons basics

John M. Anderies and Marco A. Jannsen of the Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity at Arizona State University have published a free textbook discussing the main framework, concepts, and applications of the work of Elinor Ostrom and her colleagues for an undergraduate audience. You can read the blog and download the book here.

Andrew Wardell: Who owns the rights to the world's common resources?

It seems the commons debate is quite common at the moment! Here is Andrew Wardell, Director of CIFOR's Forests and Governance research portfolio. In this video, Andrew discusses what is meant by the "commons" as well as the challenges surrounding the common management of resources.

Hardin vs. Ostrom: Managing the Commons

© Alberto Antoniazzi

Garret Hardin and Elinor "Lin" Ostrom are famous for their seminal - and opposing - perspectives on managing the Commons. Tim Hartford's essay, Do you believe in sharing? recently published in Financial Times Magazine, provides an interesting, and more personal, look at the origins of this ongoing debate.

Esther Duflo: Social experiments to fight poverty