Committee of Recommendation


Loek Hermans

Loek Hermans was Member of the First Chamber of the parlement for the VVD from 2007 to 2015. As of 2011, he was parliamentary party leader and in 2011 and 2015 he was a list leader in the elections to the Senate. Mr Hermans had previously been a Member of the Lower House of Parliament (1977-1990), Mayor of Zwolle (1990-1994), Queen’s Commissioner in Friesland (1994-1998), Minister of Education, Culture and Science in the Kok II Cabinet (1998-2002) and President of MKB Nederland. He currently holds a number of advisory and management positions.



Ton Dietz

Ton Dietz is emeritus professor at Leiden University and former director of the Africa Study Centre in Leiden. He was trained as a social geographer and was previously professor at the University of Amsterdam and the University of Utrecht (as director of the research school CERES). He is currently senior researcher at the Africa Study Centre in Leiden and co-coordinator of the Leiden African Studies Assembly.



Henk Ovink

In addition to being a Dutch special envoy to the United Nations, Henk Ovink is also a flood expert. In 2015 he was appointed the first water ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.



Marc Dierikx

Senior Researcher at KNAW – Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen. Responsible for the publication of an online source edition on the foreign policy of the Netherlands towards European Integration, 1950-1986.



Ron Keller

Ron Keller (1958), economist, was an ambassador for the Netherlands in Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and China. Before that he was Director-General for International Cooperation (DGIS) for five years at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He started his career at the Ministry of Finance.
Ron Keller currently works (2019) as a consultant and adviser to companies and policy makers. He is also affiliated with the University of Groningen and the University of Leiden.



Sjef Ernes

Sjef Ernes, mechanical engineer, water professional with national (utility-industry) and international (expat) experience and for 16 years (2003-2019) CEO of Aqua for all, now founder of WickedWater, a supporting platform for scaling social entrepreneurs.



Sybe Schaap

Sybe Schaap grew up in the Noordoostpolder on a crop farm and now lives in Emmeloord. He started his studies at the Higher Agricultural School, MO Economics, and later obtained the degree of Doctor of Social Sciences (Wetenschappen) and was promoted to Doctor of Social Sciences (Filosofie), which enabled him to obtain a habilitation in Prague.
He started his career as a farmer on his parents’ farm and in Ukraine, then became a lecturer / professor of philosophy (Amsterdam, Prague, Kiev). He continued his career as Water Authority Chairman (Noordoostpolder Water Board, Purification Authority West Overijssel, Groot Salland), was president of the Union of Water Boards, Netherlands Water Partnership, professor of water management at TU Delft and Wageningen WUR. He was also a member of the VVD party in the Dutch Senate, where he served as first vice-chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Development Cooperation (BDO).
Sybe Schaap is currently Chairman of the Genetic Modification Committee, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Aqua4All and author of books on philosophy.



Bram van Ojik

After studying development economics in Amsterdam, Bram van Ojik started his career as a policy officer at Oxfam/Novib and then became a Member of the Second Chamber of Parliament on behalf of GroenLinks (1993-1994).
From 1994 he worked as a freelance journalist with a specialization in international relations and was chairman of the environmental defense association (1995 -1997). From 1997 to 2012 he continued his career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Director of Information Development Cooperation, Ambassador in General Service, Ambassador in Cotonou (Benin), Director of Development Cooperation Inspection and policy evaluation (IOB) and Director of Social Development.
In 2012, he returned to the Second Chamber of Parliament where he served as GroenLinks group chairman until 2015 and worked as Special Envoy for Migration at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2015-2017).
Bram van Ojik is once again a member of the Lower House of Parliament for GroenLinks from 2017.


Marja Spierenburg


Marja Spierenburg

Marja Spierenburg is a professor at Leiden University, with the teaching mandate “the Anthropology of Sustainability and Livelihoods”. She previously worked at Radboud University in Nijmegen as a professor of development studies. Her research focuses on the role of the private sector in nature conservation and land reforms in Southern and East Africa.
Marja Spierenburg is also a member of UNESCO’s International Advisory Commission for Biosphere Reserves, and involved in several Future Earth projects.