External Experts

The Hague Academy works with a dedicated group of international experts who contribute to our training programmes. They co-develop training content, deliver training sessions and provide feedback on presentations and homework assignments from training participants. In addition to their broad experience, each expert is selected for their excellent capacity to relate specific theories and concepts to the daily practices and geographical settings of the participants. This is a partial list of our network of experts.

Ghada Zeidan 2

Ghada Zeidan

Ghada has more than 27 years of experience in development work on issues of conflict and gender in the MENA region. As an advocate for human rights, social and political justice and equality, and conflict in the MENA region. As an advocate for human rights, social and political justice, gender and equality, and conflict transformation. Ghada contributes to our programmes for civil servants and NGOs in the MENA region.


Dion van den Berg

Dion’s interest fields are democratisation and consolidation of peace, and religion and conflict. Dion has worked with numerous municipalities a.o. in the Balkans, Ukraine, South Sudan and Iraq, and wrote several publications about municipal peace policies. Dion is a senior policy advisor at Pax for Peace and contributes to our courses on peacebuilding and on conflict and local security.  

Eiman Karar

Eiman Karar

Eiman is a natural scientist with over 20 years of experience in water resources management in Africa. Currently, she is a Senior Advisor at the United Nations Environmental Programme. Between 2005-2016, Eiman was the Executive Manager for the Management of Water Resources department at the Water Research Commission (WRC) of South Africa. Before that, she acted as Director of the Department of Water Affairs of South Africa, developing policies pertaining to all decentralised Water Management Institutions and their related governance arrangements. Eiman has extensive experience in policymaking around the decentralisation of management decisions.

Jorge Rodriguez Bilbao

Jorge is an expert in decentralisation and has 20 years of experience with decentralisation programmes and local capacity building in many different countries, a.o. Haiti, Madagascar and Tunisia. He worked for the civil society and local authorities unit at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development.  

Sundus Balata

Sundus Balata

Sundus is an independent consultant with over eight years of experience working in international organisations and NGOs in the fields of social inclusivity, youth, gender equality and women’s empowerment. She has consulted for GIZ (German Development Cooperation), the Aga Khan Foundation, the Dutch Ministry for Foreign Affairs, among others, on gender mainstreaming, entrepreneurship, project management and results-based monitoring.  

Jamie Boex

Jamie is a Senior Fellow at Duke University’s Center for International Development (DCID) and an economist with extensive experience in fiscal decentralisation, subnational governance and public sector finance reforms around the world. He advised on policy reforms in many countries, for organisations such as the World Bank, UNDP, USAID. Jamie is the founder of the expert network Decentralization.net and serves as an expert in our courses on (fiscal) decentralisation and localising the SDGs.

Alfonso Garcia Salaues

Alfonso is an all-round specialist in decentralisation, local government and local economic development. In the past, he held various management positions in the public sector in Bolivia. As a technical expert for development programmes in various countries he advised a.o. on strengthening local government associations, decentralisation in rural areas, urban economic development and financing of water and sanitation.

Neila Akrimi 2

Neila Akrimi-Kemperman

Neila is a Doctor in European Law and a former lawyer and diplomat. She has more than 20 years of experience developing international projects in the fields of public administration reforms, Euro-Mediterranean policies, cultural dialogue, democratic transition, inclusive local governance and local economic development. Neila also has extensive research and teaching experience in several universities around the world. In 2011, Neila founded the VNG International’s daughter-organisation for the MENA region ‘Centre for Innovative Local Governance (CILG)’, based in Tunis. Currently, she works as a senior manager at VNGI’s headquarters in The Hague, and as Director of CILG in Tunis.

Irma Specht

As director of Transition International, Irma supports social and economic development in transition processes, with a special focus on vulnerable groups and gender. She has broad international experience in vocational and business training, small business set-up and private sector development in a post-conflict context. Irma contributes to our courses on conflict and local security, gender responsive governance and local economic development.    

Wouter Wolters 2

Wouter Wolters

Wouter is an independent advisor and trainer on integrated water resources management, with over 40 years of experience. His international experience includes long-term assignments in Egypt and Pakistan, as well as many short-term assignments in various countries around the globe. Wouter has worked for the Dutch Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Agriculture, as well as for the Universities in Delft and Wageningen. He has also been involved in various projects with the European Commission.

Henk Bruning

Henk Bruning

Henk is an international expert in leadership, governance and integrity in public institutions. He led the integrity programme of the city of Amsterdam and has supported governments around the world in establishing effective integrity programmes. Currently, Henk is an independent advisor and coach in modernising and humanising public and private organisations, laying emphasis on the integrity of management and employees, the risks of unethical behaviour and how to prevent them, and ethics and moral competencies as instruments for good governance. 

Ronald Maclean Abaroa

Ronald MacLean-Abaroa

Ronald is a former Bolivian politician and leading international expert in decentralisation, devolution of government powers to local citizens, and anti-corruption strategies. Prior to joining the World Bank as the Lead Public Sector Management Specialist on Governance, Decentralisation, and Poverty Reduction, Ronald served as the first democratically elected mayor of La Paz, Bolivia. The successful anti-corruption experience of La Paz during his term led him to develop the replicable anti-corruption methodology Islands of Integrity™, together with expert Ana Vasilache.

Anal Vasilache

Ana Vasilache

Ana is an anti-corruption practitioner and urban planner, trainer and international consultant with extensive experience as a facilitator of participatory planning processes in communities and organisations. She is also the founder of the Partners Foundation for Local Development (FPDL), a Romanian NGO promoting good governance in the CEE/SEE region and beyond. Together with Ronald MacLean Abaroa, she trains and certifies anti-corruption practitioners, and supports the application of anti-corruption methodology worldwide.

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