Governance for education

GELF initiativeGovernance for education

GELF is a foundation (according to Dutch law), with an Executive Board, Advisory Council, Scientific Committee and Bureau to provide the necessary internal governance for education. GELF has a Programme of Work and works based on measurable indicators. 

GELF Executive Board

The founding Executive Board consists of:

Jan de GroofJan De Groof, President (Antwerp), President of the European Education Law & Policy Association, Professor at Europacollege (Brugues) and Tilburg University, Government Commissioner for the University of Antwerp and Hasselt, Unesco Chair for the Right to Education and former Unesco Charge de Mission.


Charles Glenn, Vice President (Boston), Professor at Boston University, School of Education in Educational Leadership, fellow Center for Public Justice, Washington DC; Board member European Association for Educational Law and Policy; Vice President OIDEL (International Organisation for the Right to Education and Educational Freedom Geneva).



Peter van der HijdenPeter van der Hijden, Secretary (Brussels), LLM, Independent Dutch higher education expert. Former Head of Sector Higher Education Policy, contributed to the Erasmus programme, the European Higher Education Area (Bologna Process), the EU Modernisation Agenda for Higher Education, Horizon 2020 and the European Research Area (ERA).


Andre Keet


Andre Keet, Vice President (Bloemfontein), Director International Institute for Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein South Africa; former Deputy Chief Executive Officer (DCEO) of the South African Human Rights Commission.



Nina Ranieri, Vice President (Sao Paulo), Professor of Law at University of Sao Paulo; Unesco Chair for the Right to Education; Coordinator Issues in the Area of the Right to Education in Brasil; former secretary general of the USP; vice-chairman of State Board of Education of Sao Paulo.



G. Venkatesh Rao, Vice President (Delhi), Advocate at Supreme Court of India, Honorary Adjunct Professor at Manipal University and JECRC University, Jaipur, Rajasthan; former member Office of Attorney General Supreme Court of India; National Bar Award 2008 and Protector of Democracy Award India 2009.



Suping Shen, Board member (Beijing), Professor at School of Education, Renmin University of China, Standing Directory board Chinese Association of Educational Policy and Law, participated in drafting various education bills, author among others about education law, higher education policy, comparative law, children’s rights, safety and persons with disabilities.


Maria Smirnova, Member (Moscow-Manchester), Head of Research at Education Law Centre at National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow), Senior Researcher at Federal Centre for Educational Legislation (Moscow), member of Manchester International Law Centre, PhD Moscow 2006.




Paul Zoontjens, Vice President (Tilburg), Professor of Public and Education Law at Tilburg University, former member of the National Education Council (Onderwijsraad), board member of different law journals.


GELF Advisory Council

The GELF Advisory Council consist of leading personalities from the worlds of education, human rights, politics, arts and enterprise. To access the full list click here.

GELF Scientific Committee

The GELF Scientific Committee consists of outstanding scholars and practitioners from all world regions. To access the list click here.

GELF Bureau

The GELF Bureau performs the functions of Secretariat of the organisation, to secure the internal governance for education within GELF. Its aim is to establish regional offices of GELF in all continents. The Bureau prepares and executes the programme of work and the budget of the organisation under the responsibility of the Executive Board. The Secretary of the Board and the Director adjust weekly.

Director of the Bureau is Marco Matthijsen, LL.M (Amsterdam), with a background in policy research as well as school governance and development.

Bureau members include Vanyaa Saxena and Soumyaa Verma from India, Victoria Nakaddu from Uganda and Dr. Mariette Reyneke from South Africa (Deputy-President of the South African Education Law Association).

Contact persons per world region are:

Dr. Ruhi Paul for Asia (National Law University, Delhi);

Dr. Balász Gerencsér for Europe (Ereky Public Law Center, Budapest);

Dr. Cara Stillings Candal for North America (National Academy for Advanced Teachers, Boston);

Dr. Maria Smirnova  for Russia (Higher School of Economics, Moscow);

Danilo Rossi (LL.M.) for Latin America (Sau Paulo University, Sao Paulo);

Mohamed Walid (LLM, MSc) for the Middle East, Pacific Community-SPC UN, Geneva;

Work program

All the bodies work according the agreed work program towards the GELF governance for education. Which currently is in the GELF Blueprint.