IASC Council

Elected Members

Charles Schweik


Professor Environmental Conservation; interim director UMass Amherst School of Public Policy; associate director, National Center for Digital Government, University of Massachusetts at Amherst (US)

Email    Institutional website

Dr. Charles (Charlie) Schweik is a Professor in the Department of Environmental Conservation and School of Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and is Associate Director of the Public Interest Technology Initiative at UMass. In the area of Commons and Commoning, he specializes in the Knowledge Commons area and has studied Commons-based Peer Production for over 20 years. Among other writings, he is the author of the open-access book Internet Success: A Study of Open Source Software Commons, available at https://works.bepress.com/charles_schweik/29/ and has active research studying how nonprofit organizations like the Apache Software Foundation are working to help sustain open source software commons. He leads another Knowledge Commons project called World Librarians where open-access information is provided to offline rural schools in countries like Malawi.

Insa Theesfeld

Past president

Professor of Agricultural, Environmental and Food Policy, Institute of Agricultural and Food Sciences, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg (Germany)

Email    Institutional website

Insa Theesfeld is an agricultural economist, specialized in institutional economics and resource economics and works as Professor of Agricultural, Environmental and Food Policy at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (Germany). Her research and teaching fields compose the desirable fit between policies foreseen to be implemented and the formal and informal institutional arrangements in place. She analyses how communities govern their use of natural resources, taking power and leadership aspects at different scales into account. A significant strand of her work has explored water resource management issues and the linkages to other natural resources, emerging from the property rights structures in place. Based on her geographical orientation she has developed and is leading the research field on pseudo-commons in post-socialist countries.

Catherine M. Tucker

President Elect

Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Florida (US)

Email    Institutional website

Catherine M. Tucker is Professor at the Department of Anthropology, University of Florida. Her research unites interests in community-based natural research management, institutional analysis, and global change processes, with a focus on forest and watershed governance in Latin America, with special interest in the emergence and maintenance of effective institutions, as well as their shortcomings. She is a strong promotor of creating awareness of how commons research can contribute to wiser policy and practice, next to exploring new opportunities for commons scholars and practitioners, especially from the Global South. Catherine is co-founder and board member of The Mountain Sentinels Collaborative Network, a network of scholars, non-governmental and governmental organizations, and stakeholders working towards sustainability of mountain environments and communities worldwide.

Lavanya Suresh

early Career Network Representative (2023-2025)

Assistant Professor at the Birla Institute of Techology and Science (BITS)-Pilani (Hyderabad Campus)

Email   Institutional website

Lavanya Suresh is Assistant Professor at the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS)-Pilani (Hyderabad Campus). She has a PhD in Political Science from the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) Bangalore. My work focuses on political ecology and commons with a broader interest in decentralisation and public administration. She co-authored a book (with Prof. M.V. Nadkarni and N. Sivanna) titled “Decentralised Democracy: Gandhi’s Vision and Indian Reality”. She has published in journals of repute like the Journal of Developing Societies, Economic & Political Weekly, and South Asia Research. Her most recent publication is a monograph titled “Suicidal resistance: Understanding the opposition against the Western Ghats conservation in Karunapuram, Idukki, Kerala. Thiruvananthapuram: Centre for Development Studies (2021) and an article titled, “Understanding the Relationship between Sustainability and Ecofeminism in an Indian Context”. Journal of Developing Societies, 37(1), 116-135. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0169796X211001648.

Armelle Mazé

Council Member (2023 - 2029)

Senior Research Fellow at the French National Research Institute on Environment, Food and agriculture (INRAE, Université Paris-Saclay, AgroParisTech)

Email    Personal website

Armelle Mazé is a senior research fellow working on environmental and innovation policies at the French National Research Institute on Environment, Food and agriculture (INRAE, Université Paris-Saclay, AgroParisTech). Her twenty years of experience, as a field research practitioner, have focus at the intersection of law and economics and property right economics on various forms of “knowledge commons” in the agricultural sectors, including seed commons, traditional knowledge protection and geographical indications, the restoration of cultivated agrobiodiversity, as well as new forms of innovation commons in the context of open science and citizen science. She has deep concerns about the care about nature and environmental justice, as well as to the challenges created by agroecological transitions and adaptation to climate change.

Wai-Fung (Danny) Lam

council member (2023 - 2025)

Professor, Department of Politics and Public Administration; Director, Centre for Civil Society and Governance; Co-Director, Centre for Water Technology and Policy, The University of Hong Kong

Email    Website

Danny’s research has evolved around common-pool resource management, irrigation policy, civil society, sustainability, and rural revitalization, with a focus on institutional design and performance.  Danny has led a variety of action research projects on sustainability, ranging from rural revitalization and corporate sustainability to social inclusion and urban commons.  A major project that Danny is currently working on examines how a collaborative approach helps revitalize rural communities, which won the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation 2020.  Building on the success, an international consortium of four major universities in Asia Pacific has been formed to conduct comparative research and to promote rural sustainability using the commoning approach.  Danny finished his undergraduate study at The Chinese University of Hong Kong; and received a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Indiana University, Bloomington.

Graham Epstein

council member (2023 - 2029)

Research Associate, School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability. University of Waterloo, Canada

Email    Institutional website

As an environmental social scientist Graham’s research explores a wide range of questions at the intersection of people, the environment and policy. Specifically his research investigates how environmental policies influence behavior and sustainability outcomes in different contexts using both qualitative and quantitative method and seeks to uncover the contexts in which particular policies are likely to increase prospects for sustainability. Graham completed an undergraduate degree in Ecology at the University of Waterloo, a master’s in International Rural Planning and Development at the University of Guelph and a PhD at Indiana University. His research has been published in a number of different venues including the International Journal of the Commons, Ecology and Society and Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability.

Koffi Alinon

council member (2021-2027)

Natural resources’ governance researcher at the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) based at the Livestock Research Institute for Development (IRED) in N’Djamena, Chad Email    Institutional website

Koffi Alinon is a natural resources’ governance researcher at the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) and based at the Livestock Research Institute for Development (IRED) in N’Djamena, Chad. His area of work is at the intersection of property rights’ securization and peaceful common natural resources utilization of land, water and pastures. He has a dual expertise in conflicts sensitivity and prevention (CSP) tools design and implementation as well as managerial skills in complex projects management processes. He developed a CSP tool for livestock and pastoral projects now in use in the Sahel and in the Horn of Africa. He supports as technical and scientific advisor, the project on adapting access to agropastoral resources in a context of mobility and climate change (ACCEPT) hosted at IRED in Chad.

Deborah Delgado-Pugley

council member (2021 - 2027)

Assistant Professor of the Social Sciences Department and Director of the Master in Water Resources Management at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru

Email    Institutional website

Deborah Delgado specializes in environmental and climate policy and justice. She has conducted extensive research on the Amazon Basin, with particular attention to climate adaptation and mitigation policies linked to the forestry and energy industries. Over the past decade, she has been active in long-lasting collaborations with indigenous peoples’ communities and organizations and she works from a gender perspective. Professor Delgado has served on five occasions as a representative of the Peruvian delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiating land use and land-use change decisions and climate technology transfer terms. Currently, she is working on research and conservation of microbiota diversity. She holds a Ph.D. in International Development from the Catholic University of Louvain and in Sociology from the School of Higher Studies in Social Sciences of Paris. She enjoys mentoring students in Peru and Belgium on socio-environmental research and engaging in artistic and justice-oriented collaborations with indigenous organizations and allies at different scales.

Gabriela Lichtenstein

council member (2021 - 2025)

Researcher at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET); Affiliate of National Institute for Anthropology and Latin American Thought (INAPL) Buenos Aires

Email    Institutional website

Gaby’s interest in community management of South American camelids started in 1997 while working for IIED-AL when she coordinated a research project on Community based vicuña management in Peru for the Evaluating Eden Project. Since 2003, she holds a research position at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), and is affiliated to National Institute for Anthropology and Latin American Thought (INAPL), in Buenos Aires. She teaches at Master Courses on Biological Conservation (University of Buenos Aires), and Environmental Sciences (University of San Martin). Her present research is about social and political drivers of sustainable use; how to improve governance and management of natural resources as well as an equitable distribution of benefits, and COVID as an opportunity to explore our (broken) relationship with Nature.

IASC Secretariat

Caren Burgermeister

executive director

International Coordinator, Center for Behavior, Institutions, and the Environment, Arizona State University (US)

Email    Institutional website

Coming Soon

Ex-officio Members

Peter Cronkleton

regional coordinator IASC Latin-America

Senior Scientist (Anthropologist) at CIFOR

Email    ResearchGate profile page

Peter Cronkleton is Senior Scientist (Anthropologist) at the Center for International Forestry Research conducting research on smallholder forestry, forest policy and governance. Peter is a specialist in community forestry development, forest tenure, social movements and participatory approaches to research. Currently based in Peru, he has worked as a researcher and development practitioner in Latin America for more than 21 years, concentrating on the western Amazon but also conducting research in Central America and Africa. A graduate of the University of Florida (M.A. 1993, Ph.D. 1998) he has recently focused his research on institutional change in forest communities during periods of policy reform.

Yahua Wang

national coordinator IASC China

Professor School of Public Policy & Management, Tsinghua University

Email    Institutional website

Prof. Yahua Wang has recently been appointed as IASC’s national coordinator for China.

Mansee Bal Bhargava

regional coordinator IASC Asia

Transdisciplinary Scholar

Email    Website

Dr. Mansee Bal Bhargava is a transdisciplinary scholar of built environment that includes architecture-design-development-planning-management-governance. Her twenty-five years of entrepreneurship, research and education of large-scale developments have focus on the sustainability and liveability aspects. She has deep concerns on the rising water distress from drought, flood, and the conflicts of ownership, access, equity, sanitation, gender, and transboundary. She is developing her understanding of water governance and sustainability. She aspires to dedicate herself to water conservation through consulting, advisory, research, writing, speaking, and engaging with community on the ground. She is also on a mission to inculcate ecological research aptitude and attitude among the youth. She believes that research, as a systematic investigation, must lay the foundation of any collective decision and action. She advocates that science with conscience is crucial to build a sensitive society and that we are left with the only choice of peace & ecology for a sensible evolution of humanity. Now a days, she has extensive public speaking engagements on water, women, built environment and motivational. 

Andreas Neef

regional coordinator IASC Oceania

Professor, Development Studies, School of Social Sciences, University of Aukland, New Zealand

Email    Personal website

A practitioner from the very beginning, my 27 year professional engagement has been on working on forests, grazing and water commons, aspects of multi-actor engagement, polycentric governance as well as interrelated issues of ecology, society and economy. I presently lead the Prakriti Karyashala initiative that aims at scaling the work on commons (forests, pastures and water resources) through capacity building. The module based design is designed to help communities and functionaries in securing, restoring and improving the governance over commons. The Karyashala enables community cadres by building their capacities in appropriate social, institutional and technological skills who would facilitate and steer processes at village-level to improve stewardship of natural resources.

As part of the Foundation for Ecological Security (India), I have been a strong supporter of the Association and in 2011, FES was the first civil society organisation to host the World Commons Conference at Hyderabad (India) and I played an active role as a member of the Organizing Committee for the conference. FES initiated the Commons Initiative to build an interface of practice- theory-policy to carry on the momentum generated because of the conference.

Tanya Heikkila

regional coordinator IASC North America

Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs University of Colorado Denver

Email    Website

Tanya Heikkila’s research and teaching focus on policy processes and environmental governance. She is particularly interested in how conflict and collaboration arise in policy processes, and what types of institutions support collaboration, learning and conflict resolution. Some of her recent research has explored these issues in the context of interstate watersheds, large-scale ecosystem restoration programs, and unconventional oil and gas development. Prof. Heikkila has published numerous articles and books on these topics and has participated in several interdisciplinary research and education projects. She enjoys collaborating with faculty and students, especially through the Workshop in Policy Process Research at CU Denver, which she co-directs. Prior to coming to CU Denver, Prof. Heikkila was a post-doctoral fellow at Indiana University’s Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis and an Assistant Professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. A native of Oregon, she received her BA from the University of Oregon and then learned to appreciate desert life while completing her MPA and PhD at the University of Arizona.

Tobias Haller

regional coordinator IASC Europe

Director Institute of Social Anthropology, Universitat Bern

Email    Website

Tobias Haller, is Extraordinary Professor in Social Anthropology at the Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Bern, Switzerland and lecturer at the ETH Zurich. He studied at the University of Zurich social anthropology, geography and sociology and made his PhD and his habilitation at the University of Zurich. After being project leader in the NCCR North-South, he was appointed as Director of the Swiss Network for International Studies in Geneva in 2008. 2009 he became Associate Professor at the Institute of Social Anthropology in Bern until 2014 when he received an extraordinary professorship at the same institute.

Frank van Laerhoven

co-editor-in-chief International Journal of the Commons

Assistant professor Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University (Netherlands)

Email    Institutional website

Frank van Laerhoven works as Assistant Professor at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development of Utrecht University. His research activities focus on environmental governance, particularly the governance of ecosystems, with a special interest in commons, socio-ecological systems, decentralization reforms, local democracy and participation, and the solving of collective action dilemmas. He currently works on the role of NGOs in stimulating collective action of CPR users, and on the role of gender in adaptation strategies in response to climate change. Frank is also involved in several international projects such as the NWO DeltaMAR project, the NWO Living Polders project. He is editor-in-chief of the International Journal of the Commons, issued by the IASC since 2007.

Sergio Villamayor-Tomas

co-editor International Journal of the Commons

Postdoc fellow Humboldt University Berlin (Germany); Marie Curie Research Fellow Institute of Environmental Science and Technology, Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain)

Email    Institutional website

Sergio Villamayor-Tomas is currently Marie Curie Research Fellow at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA), at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He is also affiliated with the Ostrom Workshop (Indiana University) and the Berlin Workshop in Institutional Analysis of Socio-Ecological Systems (WINS). His research areas are climate change adaptation, community-based natural resource management, and polycentric governance. His research approaches are institutional economics, political economy and political ecology. Specific topics include adaptation to droughts and other disturbances in the irrigation sector, bottom-up management solutions to the water-energy-food nexus, trans-boundary river management, and the interaction of social movements and commons management. He is co-editor-in-chief of the International Journal of the Commons.

Michael Schoon

co-editor International Journal of the Commons

Associate Professor, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University (US) Email    Institutional website

Michael Schoon is Associate Professor at the School of Sustainability of Arizona State University. Having studied collaborative, cross-border institutional arrangements covering a range of environmental issues from biodiversity conservation to water sharing to fire management in the Arizona borderlands, the main focus of his research now lies with policy and governance in sustainable systems. His work combines multiple methodological approaches and looks at causal clusters for the formation and governance outcomes of institutional arrangements. Michael Schoon is active in international research communities on resilience, robustness, and complex systems through the Resilience Alliance and the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics and serves on the board for IUCN’s Transboundary Conservation Specialist Group. He is co-editor-in-chief of the International Journal of the Commons.

Emily Castle

Ostrom Workshop Liaison officer

Assistant Director & Librarian, Ostrom Workshop, Indiana University (US)

Digital Library of the Commons

Email    Institutional website

Emily Castle is the Assistant Director & Librarian of The Ostrom Workshop at Indiana University in Bloomington. She also manages the Digital Library of the Commons. The Ostrom Workshop focuses on the study of governance as it relates to a variety of research areas. We have five established research programs: Commons GovernanceCybersecurity & Internet GovernanceData Management & Information GovernanceEnvironment & Natural Resource Governance; and Political Economy. The Ostrom Workshop seeks to leverage the knowledge produced both within and across research programs in order to enhance educational opportunities for students worldwide, to produce innovative and policy-relevant research, and to increase the scope for multidisciplinary collaborations.

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