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Personal profile

Personal information

Board memberships and management tasks 

  • Member Central Works Council (Ondernemingsraad) Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Member Bachelor Program Committee




  • Organization and Anthropology
  • Master course Theory on Mobility 1
  • Thesis supervision Bachelor and Master Anthropology
  • Thesis supervision Educational Master VUA


Active8-Planet (https://active8-planet.eu/about/

Our department is currently involved in a three-year EU-funded project for Higher Education(from January 2021 to December 2023).


In the Active8-Planet project, we aim to research and experiment with unconventional approaches towards teaching and learning that would empower and mobilize students towards future-oriented climate and sustainability actions and enhance the transformation of the university research and knowledge in planet-centred interventions. We provide young people with a platform to act.

Active8-Planet is an international project co-funded by the European Union under the Erasmus+ Programme: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices, Knowledge Alliances for higher education.


See also our previous EU-funded project PEOPLE: http://people-project.net/. At this project's core was the idea that understanding people should become an indispensable part of industrial development processes, as a means to achieve practical-based education as well as new categories of products, services, or business strategies that truly address people’s needs and lead to sustainable innovation.



Regional and thematic specialisations:

  • Key themes: Identity, ethnicity, indigenous peoples, migration, transnationalism, gender and sexuality. 
  • Regions: South Asia (Bangladesh and India).


Overview recent research activities

Ellen Bal has engaged in ethnographic and historical research on a variety of issues in Bangladesh, India, Surinam and the Netherlands. For a selection of projects see below:


“Migration, livelihoods and SRHR: A triple case-study of young female migrants (YFMs) in Dhaka, Bangladesh”

This was a collaborative project on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young rural-urban female migrants in Dhaka, Bangladesh. It looked at how the self-determination and sexual autonomy of young (unmarried) women living and working in the urban context are enhanced or obstructed through their migrant positions and income-generating activities. 



“Migration, development, and citizenship: Notions of belonging and civic engagement among Indian (knowledge-) Migrants in The Netherlands and Return Migrants in India” (2013-2015)

This NWO-funded research project started from the premise that the connection between migration and development is conditional and contingent on migrants’ notions of belonging and civic engagement in both the host and sending country. We tried to answer the following research questions: How do highly-skilled Indian migrants in the Netherlands and return-migrants in India define notions of belonging and civic engagement; how are these notions influenced by their personal (gendered) migration experiences (during and after migration), and how are they mediated by government policies and practices, and diaspora politics?  

Migration, Development and Citizenship


Also see: Indian migration to the Netherlands, Country Report: Indian migration to the Netherlands. 2012, European University Institute.



Ancillary activities

No ancillary activities

Ancillary activities are updated daily

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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