I was born in Zaandam in 1950 and completed my secondary school education in The Hague. After completing my A-levels at Gymnasium Sorghvliet, I attended George Mason High School in Falls Church, Virginia, for a year.
Between 1969 and 1977, I studied political science at the Free University in Amsterdam. I was actively involved in the student movement as, among others, the chairman of the Free University Student Council, a member of the University council and an active member of radical leftist organizations.
Subsequently, I spent more than twenty years working for universities. I held the positions of Director of the Law Faculty at Maastricht University, Director of Student Services at Amsterdam University and Strategy Director at Leiden University. I also lived and worked in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for half a year. Here, I mainly focused on the position of students in the American higher education system.
From 2001 to 2010, I was consultant and partner at Andersson Elffers Felix, a strategy consultancy firm in Utrecht. This is where I familiarised myself with consulting and executed assignments in differend fields, with a focus on education.
In 2010 and 2011 I worked as an independent consultant, doing assignments mainly for educational institutions and at the same time working to get a job in Africa.
From August 2011 until the end of 2016 I worked and lived in Accra, Ghana. I was Executive Director Business at the Accra branch of China Europe International Business School (CEIBS). I also have been President of Ghana Netherlands Business and Culture Council (a Chamber of Commerce).
In 2017 and 2018 I worked for a ten month period at NUFFIC on the implementation of a new 5-year program for international knowledge development and cooperation between educational institutions in the Netherlands and in developing countries. This Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP) encompasses individual scholarships, tailor made trainings and institutional capacity building. As an interim manager Global Development my role has been be to coordinate the implementation of OKP and the execution of other capacity development programmes, to set up a new organisation for Global Development and to contribute to Nuffic management and strategy.
I have lived with my partner Erica Burggraaff for more than 45 years. Our children Wander (1989) and Evelien (1992) have been international students and are now living and working in London and Amsterdam.