Welcome to my personal website.
Until July 1, 2022 I was the President of the Wageningen University & Research Executive Board and professor at the same institution, but I am also a columnist, a writer and a public speaker. I am passionate about many subjects, first of all of course the future – and history – of food and agriculture in the world. I am a vocal advocate for research and innovation, acknowledging the importance of combining the life sciences with the humanities, and the essential role of public dialogues. I firmly believe in éducation permanente or life long learning: a day without a new insight or fact, is a day of poverty. If knowledge is one pillar of human life, art is the other. I am a true lover of classical music and opera, theatre and the visual arts in their manifold forms. And of course, literature, fiction and non-fiction – a daily need (like writing).
I have been blessed throughout my career by the opportunity of travel to some 90 countries, experiencing an enormous diversity of landscapes and cultures, and meeting wonderful people. My 15 years in the UN, and many more in multilateral programs have shaped my understanding of how we humans change but also adapt to the dynamics of our planet. I firmly believe that we progress collectively through learning and correcting our mistakes. Notwithstanding the severity of the challenge we face, I remain firmly optimistic about future progress, in food, agriculture, science, welfare and equity.