Jan Rotmans | Warda El-Kaddouri | Yousra Benfquih
Dirk Draulans | Ine Renson | Koen Vanmechelen
Anuna De Wever | Olivier De Schutter | Eva Meijer
Marjolein Visser | Hans Van Dyck | Tom Bauler
Hendrik Schoukens | Myriam Dumortier
Lisa Tostado | Els Vervloesem | Dirk Holemans
Christine Van Acker | Paul Demets | Louis De Jaeger
Ignace Schops | Glenn Deliège | Liesl Vanautgaerden
Lara Klaassen | Stijn Neuteleers | Tim Vekemans
Dirk Draulans is a doctor in biology and a well-known ornithologist. As an editor at Knack, he writes about pressing issues such as the illegal use of hormones in livestock farming, and environmental catastrophes such as the disappearance of forests worldwide. Draulans has written sixteen books, including novels and travelogues such as “De Mens van Morgen”, about his travels in search of the endangered bonobo in the equatorial forest of Congo.
Jan Rotmans is a Dutch scientivist, a passionate and rebellious scientist and an authority in the field of transitions. In doing so, he not only examines the tilting of society, but also plays an active role in it. He wants to accelerate the transition by establishing ICIS, Urgenda, DRIFT, Nederland Kantelt and helping to set up Zorgeloos. With his knowledge, he would like to draw up the rules for how this transition can be realized and bring together fresh viewers and cross-thinkers from all corners of society to creatively reach the tipping point together.
Born in 1990, raised in West Flanders, living in Amsterdam since 2016. Warda has completed two Master studies: English and German Language and Literature at Ghent University / Westphälische Wilhelmsuniversität Münster, and European Studies at KU Leuven. She was a UN youth representative when she started negotiating and addressing the UN in New York. The past four years she worked as a researcher at Ghent University, where she successfully completed her dissertation on religion and identity in German literature in 2019. She has been an editor at De Groene Amsterdammer since 2020.
Olivier De Schutter
UCLouvain Faculty of Law Professor Olivier De Schutter is United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. Before that, he served two consecutive terms as United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, spanning from 2008 to 2014 and is a member of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and co-chair of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food).
An internationally renowned artist, working across a multitude of disciplines, Koen Vanmechelen (1965) is one of the most versatile thinkers of these times. He is situated at the confluence of art, nature, science, philosophy and community. As an eternal migrant, he travels the world looking for answers to fundamental questions that touch on issues which are both timeless and acutely relevant today: identity, biocultural diversity, globalisation and human rights.
Yousra Benfquih holds a PhD in law and is valorisation coordinator of the Hannah Arendt Institute for Diversity, Urbanity & Citizenship. She also has a great love for words: she is a writer, columnist and spoken word artist. It is in this latter capacity that she will capture the reflections during Ecopolis in poems created on the spot.
Els Vervloesem is an architect, urban planner, researcher and partner at Architecture Workroom Brussels. In her research she focuses on the complex interplay between urban planning and bottom-up urban development processes, with special attention to migration and the associated inclusion and exclusion processes. Els wants to actively contribute through her work to translating necessary change processes into practice.
Lisa Tostado has been Head of International Climate, Energy & Agriculture Programme at the European Union office of the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung in Brussels since November 2019. As such, she is responsible for issues related to coherence of EU policies for sustainable development, especially with respect to their impact on developing and emerging countries.
Hans Van Dyck
Hans Van Dyck is professor of Behavioral Biology at UCL. He is also head of the Behavioral Ecology and Nature Conservation Laboratory at Earth & Life Institute. He tries to understand the behavior of animals in a human-sized world. In addition to teaching, setting up research and publishing in international professional literature, he is also a columnist for EOS and MO *, and a regular guest on radio and television.
Tom Bauler, ecological economist, holds the Chair on “Environment & Economy” at Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). He was also visiting research fellow at Harvard University (USA). Tom explores the role of policy instruments and tools in the environmental policy domain. Since 2007, he is exploring the significance of ‘Transition Management’ approaches as overarching policy processes for Low-carbon societies.
Hendrik Schoukens is an environmental lawyer and author. Since 2012, he has been affiliated with the Public Law department of Ghent University as a doctoral assistant, where he conducts research into the legal side of habitat restoration. He regularly writes opinion pieces for, among others, Oikos Magazine. Since 2019 he has been Alderman for the greens in Lennik.
Anuna De Wever
Anuna De Wever is a Belgian climate activist. Together with Kyra Gantois she called on students on social media in January 2019 to demonstrate for the climate. Since then, a whole series of school strikes have taken place on Thursdays and Anuna became the main voice of this movement. She is currently doing an internship at the green group in the European Parliament.
Dutch philosopher and writer Eva Meijer works as a postdoctoral researcher at Wageningen University on the agency of animals in the Anthropocene. Her latest novel De nieuwe rivier, a magical realist murder mystery, was published in April 2020. Other publications include her debut Het schuwste dier (2011) – nominated for the Academica Literature Prize and the Gouden Boekenuil – and When animals speak: Towards an interspecies democracy (New York University Press, 2019).
Myriam Dumortier is an agricultural engineer and a doctor of agricultural sciences. She is visiting professor of forest and nature policy at Ghent University. She regularly writes op-eds for Knack and Oikos Magazine, among others.
Dirk Holemans is coordinator of Oikos think-tank and author and editor of the new book ‘Het Ecologisch Kompas‘ (“the ecological compass”). He is doctoral researcher affiliated with the University of Antwerp and active as co-chairman of the Green European Foundation. In 2016 he published Vrijheid & Zekerheid (“Freedom & Security. Towards a socio-ecological society”) which led to the essay ‘Freedom & Security in a Complex World‘.
Christine Van Acker
Christine Van Acker is author of ‘L’en vert de nos corps‘ (2020, L’Arbre de Diane), a collection of poetic fragments oscillating between the intimate and the scientific, Christine Van Acker takes us on a discovery of the plant world. (photo: Thierry Van Roy)
For four years, Paul Demets (1966) observed, as the officially appointed rural poet of East Flanders, plants, animals and people and reflected on our relationship with nature. His latest book of poetry De Hazenklager (De Bezige Bij, 2020), in which anthropocentrism is overhauled, is an ardent plea for accepting otherness, strangeness and ambiguity.(photo: Stephan Vanfleteren)
Louis De Jaeger
Louis De Jaeger’s mission is to make as many hectares as possible sustainable and as many people as possible happy. He does this with his gardening-, agricultural- and landscaping architectural firm Commensalist, with the Food Forest Institute, with numerous campaigns such as ByeByeGrass, by making documentaries and by writing. He wants to inspire others to strive for a world in which we work together with nature instead of fighting against it.
Ignace Schops is a Belgian environmentalist. He is the Director of the Belgian NGO ‘Regionaal Landschap Kempen en Maasland’ (RLKM) and President of EUROPARC federation.
He was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2008, better known as the Green Nobel Prize. Ignace Schops and his team designed the (Re)connection Model. This model (re)connects society with natural heritage and is used in several countries in the world.
Glenn Deliège holds a PhD in Philosophy from KU Leuven and specialized in environmental philosophy. He is affiliated with the Department of Architectural Design of KASK in Gent, where he teaches landscape philosophy. In collaboration with Sylvie Van Damme, he developed the practice-oriented scientific research project Animalhood: towards a shared space for humans and animals.
Lara Klaassen dedicates her working life to nature conservation and social innovation. She studied environmental sciences in Utrecht and currently works for the Elisabeth Strouven Fund on nature conservation and landscape restoration.
Ine Renson is a journalist at the newspaper De Standaard. She works on features, interviews and research projects on broad social themes. In recent years she has mainly focused on climate and transition. She was the driving force behind the air quality study CurieusNeuzen Vlaanderen and as correspondent she researched the Flemish ‘concrete boom’. Previously she worked for the newspaper De Tijd. Her work has been awarded several times for (investigative) journalism.
Stijn Neuteleers is a philosopher associated with the Department of Environmental Sciences of the Open University of the Netherlands. His research is situated at the interface of sociology, economics and philosophy.
Liesl Vanautgaerden is Head of the Area Development Directorate of the Flemish Environment Department, and project coordinator of ‘Vlaanderen Breekt Uit’. She offers us insights into the vision of the Flemish Government on the further development of our public space.
Tim Vekemans is an architect and partner at RE-ST. He also teaches at UHasselt. He supports municipalities in softening or even removing roads. In addition, he is an active and critical thinker about the densification issues that we face as a society.
Marjolein Visser graduated in 1991 as an agricultural engineer at Ghent University and obtained her doctorate in the restoration of agricultural land in dry regions. She also worked on wildlife management by farmers in Ireland. Today she is professor in agricultural systems and agroecology at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB).
Leonida Odongo is a Kenyan social justice activist. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Sociology from the University of Nairobi and is currently undertaking a Masters in International Conflict Management. Leonida focuses on Food Justice and climate justice building technical and political consciousness amongst smallholder farmers, rural women networks and communities adversely affected by climate change.