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Sandra J.T.M. Evers Ph.D. is associate professor and senior researcher at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, VU University Amsterdam. She specialises in Africa, Canada and the South West Indian Ocean (Madagascar, the Seychelles and Mauritius) and Europe. Her research concerns indigenous studies, media & mediation, anthropology of children & youth, history and globalization, inequality, poverty, international development, natural resource management, “land grabs”, ethnicity and race, othering and empathy, human and children’s rights, applied & engaged scholarship.

In this regard, she directs two Research Programmes: (1) “Development as a Trojan Horse? Large-scale Land Deals in Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal and Uganda.”  (2) “Mediation and Intermedial Dialogue: Children’s Rights, Globalization, Empathy and Othering.”

Initiator and chair (2009-2018) of the Anthropology of Children and Youth Network of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA).

Sandra Evers is appointed as ambassador for childhood of the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI, ). The Ambassadors for Childhood program enlists leading children's experts and advocates in encouraging all organizations to consider children in their decision-making. Ambassadors secure commitments from individuals, organizations, and businesses to engage in activities of their choice that support childhood.

The ACEI has consultative status with the United Nations


The Faculty made clips (in Dutch) of its top professors:

  • 2014: Best teacher Faculty of Social Sciences, VU University Amsterdam;
  • 2012: Nomination for best teacher Faculty of Social Sciences, VU University Amsterdam;
  • 2011: Acquisition of NWO-Wotro funded Integrated Programme (September 2011- September 2017) “Development as a Trojan Horse? Large-scale Land Deals in Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal and Uganda.”
  • 2011: Nomination for Research Prize Faculty of Social Sciences, VU University Amsterdam;
  • 2010: Nomination for best teacher Faculty of Social Sciences, VU University Amsterdam;
  • 2009: Nomination for best teacher Faculty of Social Sciences, VU University Amsterdam;
  • 2008: Mini-Beatty Grant (Beatty Memorial Lectures Committee) “Lex Loci meets Lex Fori: Merging Customary Law and National Land Legislation in Madagascar” (10 October 2008, McGill, Montreal, Canada;
  • 2007: Best teacher Department Social and Cultural Anthropology, VU University Amsterdam;
  • 2007: Best teacher Faculty of Social Sciences, VU University Amsterdam;
  • 2007: Faculty fellowship for research project: Memory and Retrieval: Construction of Self and Homeland among deported Chagossians in Mauritius.


NWO research project: Development as a Trojan Horse?

  • Programme Director of NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research)-Wotro funded Integrated Programme “Development as a Trojan Horse? Large-scale Land Deals in Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal and Uganda.”    

Research projects:

  • Mijasoa Miandravola Andriamarovololona: “The power configurations of climate policy: REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) in Madagascar”.
  • Carole Rabemanantsoa: “The mining-conservation nexus: New regimes of ‘sustainable development’ in Madagascar”.
  • Theodros Woldegiorgis Atreso: “The Impact of large-scale food production and land use in the Oromia region of Ethiopia" 
  • Josh Maiyo: “Land governance, agrarian change, and transnational land deals in central Uganda”. Josh received his PhD on 8 February 2018.
  • Postdoc. Froukje Krijtenburg: “Talking land sale: Stakeholders’ mediations of free prior and informed consent in foreign land acquisitions in Kenya"

Affiliated member to the above research programme:

  • Davide Cirillo: “Blind date: Pastoralists meet agribusiness in the Senegal River Delta” (his PhD is funded by the Università degli Studi di Padova Italy, joint supervision by Professor Prof. Egidio Dansero & Sandra Evers and Jan Abbink). Davide received his PhD on 23 January 2017.

 Other PhD supervision on Natural Resource Management:

  • Co-promotor (daily supervisor) with Jan Abbink (promoter) of Margot Leegwater (Graduated in September 2015):“Ethnic Antagonism as Development Constraint: the Heritage of Conflict in the Socio-Economic Policies of Rwanda and Burundi”. Affiliated both to the African Studies Centre and VU University Amsterdam (funded by IS Academy, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

“Mediation and intermedial dialogue: Children's Rights, globalisations, empathy and othering”

Research with Professor Lydia Krabbendam (Department of Educational Neuroscience, Faculty of Psychology & Education, VU) & Jennifer A. Vadeboncoeur & Barbara Weber (Faculty of Education, UBC). 

For more information, see following lecture:

PhD candidate supervised by Professor Krabbendam and Sandra J.T.M. Evers:

  • NWO-project, Simone Roerig: “The art of mind reading: Using creative methods to research processes of empathy, identification, mediation and othering among primary school children in multicultural Amsterdam”.

PhD projects in the field of the Anthropology of Children & Youth.

  • Co-promotor with Professor Halleh Ghorashi (promotor) of Moos Pozzo: “A Mixed Methods Study on Cultural Navigation of Young Refugees (aged 12-23) in the Netherlands: Social Network and Code-Switching Analyses through an Ethnographic Lens.”
  • Co-promotor (daily supervisor) with Professor Jan Abbink (promotor) of Mienke van der Brug: “Losing Parents to Aids: Grief, Bereavement and Psychological Well-Being among Orphans in Namibia”.
  • Co-promotor (daily supervisor) with Professor Birgit Meyer (promotor) of Erik van Ommering: “The Dual Nature of Education in Contexts of Violent Conflict: a Classroom-Based Analysis of the Violence Inducing and Averting Capacities of Primary Schools in Lebanon.”

 OTHER RESEARCH PROJECTS (see also publications)

  • Director of research project on Madagascar at VU University Amsterdam (since 2004): Applied research on globalization, poverty and natural resource management in Madagascar. This is a collaboration with the Musée d’Art et d’Archéologie/Institut des Civilisations (Université d’Antananarivo) and includes a programme for capacity building of Malagasy students. Project funded by ICCO (the interchurch organisation for development cooperation);
  • The Ancestral Looking-Glass: Perceptions of Family History held by Migrant Children in Mauritius;
  • Ideas of Self, Family and Homeland among deported Chagossian Children in Mauritius;
  • The Malagasy State and Parallel Systems of Justice and Administration in Natural Resource Management;
  • Human Security in Relation to Official and Popular Histories since the 1977 Coup d’État in the Seychelles.


In my capacity as researcher and Ambassador for Childhood of the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI, ), I regularly advise NGO’s, the UN and World Bank. I also appear in the media as commentator on issues pertaining to my expertise.

Recently, I completed a significant special event called the Long March to Rome ( which is a dissemination project from the NWO-WOTRO financed programme “Development as a Trojan Horse? Large-scale Land Deals in Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal and Uganda.”

It involved a May 2016 “march” from Paris to Rome of indigenous peoples worldwide with the ultimate aim to present a petition to Pope Francis to rescind the Papal Bulls of Discovery. The enthusiasm of indigenous groups and other peoples struggling with the legacy of these papal bulls was overwhelming. They all took initiatives to join the Long March. An example is the unanimous vote (during the Special Chiefs Assembly, 9-11 December 2014 in Winnipeg Canada) of Resolution 46/2014 adopted by Canada’s first nation leaders to “Resolve to endorse, to support and to encourage the participation of its peoples in the Long March to Rome, a pilgrimage of Indigenous peoples worldwide to present a petition to Pope Francis I, seeking revocation of the two papal bulls Romanus Pontifex (1455) and Inter Caetera (1493), otherwise known as the Papal Bulls of Discovery, for the following reasons:  a. They were the “blueprint” for conquest of the New World. b. They provided moral justification for the enslavement and conquest of Indigenous peoples worldwide. c. They are an ongoing violation of contemporary international human rights law. d. Other communities currently struggling to save their lands are threatened by modern-day ideologies of inequality anchored in the Papal Bulls of Discovery.”

On 30 April 2016 and 1 May, indigenous leaders held a Gathering of Nations in Florence and from there went on to Rome to meet on 4 May with Pope Francis and a high commission of the Vatican for the first time in over 500 years to discuss the revocation of the papal bulls.

Saving Children’s Lives with research dissemination:

This video-clip is an example of my research dissemination and how connecting people from different cultural backgrounds (in this case Western trained doctors and Malagasy mothers) helped to lower a high mortality rate of babies suffering from diarrhea.

 Video thumbnail for Anthropology making the difference


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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 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities


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