The Institute has its main office in the Netherlands but also has a staff member based in the UK. The day-to-day operations of the Institute are led by our two Co-Directors and decision-making is carried out by our Executive Board. The Institute is Governed by an international Board of Trustees and supported by an inter-disciplinary Advisory Council.

Contact us:


Postal address: Gestelsestraat 134, 5615 LJ Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Executive Board

Amal de Chickera

Co-Director (Secretary)

Laura van Waas

Co-Director (Chair)

Zahra Albarazi

Senior Researcher (Treasurer)

Our staff

Amal de Chickera (Co-Director)

Amal de Chickera is a co-founder and co-director of the Institute. He is also the Secretary of the Executive Board. Amal previously provided the lead on the Equal Rights Trust’s statelessness work since 2008, focusing on research, advocacy, training, awareness raising, network building and policy development. He was lead researcher and author of ERT’s 2010 publication “Unravelling Anomaly: Detention, Discrimination and the Protection Needs of Stateless Persons”, drafter of ERT’s 2012 “Guidelines to Protect Stateless Persons from Arbitrary Detention” and manager of ERT’s ongoing work on the human rights of stateless Rohingya. Amal has written, spoken, delivered training and served as an expert on statelessness and related issues for the UN, NGOs and academia. He is a co-founder and steering committee member of the European Network on Statelessness and an advisory committee member of the International Detention Coalition. Amal is also a founding member of Stages – a Sri Lankan theatre group that produces cutting edge, socially conscious theatre. A human rights lawyer and member of the Sri Lankan Bar, Amal holds an LLM (Distinction) from University College London and an LLB (Hons.) from the University of Colombo.

Laura van Waas (Co-Director)

Laura van Waas is a co-founder of the Institute and one of its two Directors. She is also the Chair of the Executive Board. She is also a part-time Assistant Professor at the Department of European and International Law at Tilburg Law School in the Netherlands. Laura is one of few people to date who has conducted doctoral research on statelessness and her PhD manuscript, ‘Nationality Matters’ (published by Intersentia in 2008), is widely used as a reference for understanding international statelessness law by researchers and practitioners all over the world. In more than a decade of working on the issue of statelessness, Laura has carried out a wide array of research and teaching projects, both within academia and for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other actors. She has worked as a consultant for UNHCR’s headquarters in Geneva as well as the regional offices for the Middle East and North Africa in Beirut and for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok. She has supervised or conducted studies on statelessness for, among others, Plan International, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Open Society Foundations, the Women’s Refugee Commission, the United States Department of State, the European Parliament and the Norwegian Refugee Council. Laura is also one of the co-founders and an active member of the European Network on Statelessness.

Zahra Albarazi (Senior Researcher)

Zahra Albarazi (Senior Researcher) is a co-founder and senior researcher at the Institute. She is also the Treasurer of the Executive Board and enrolled as a PhD researcher at Tilburg Law School. Her work has mostly focused on the understanding of statelessness and nationality in the Middle East and Africa region. She coordinated the Middle East and North Africa Nationality project and she has also conducted substantive research on the interlink between discrimination and statelessness. She has mostly focused her discipline on research, including extensive field research, and training. Additionally, Zahra has worked as a consultant for UNHCR, the Open Society Justice Initiative and Amel House of Human Rights on related human rights issues, and is a Board member of the Syrian Legal development Programme. She holds an LLM in International Law from the University of Leeds, UK.

Mark van Waas (Head of Finance and Programmes)

Mark van Waas has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, with certificates in Payroll and in Compensation & Benefits. His primary field of expertise is payroll services but he has significant management experience and a wide knowledge of Dutch tax, labour and social security law. He has worked in management positions for small companies and large multinational corporations, including as Operational Manager for the payroll company Franken & Van Weert and as Payroll and Benefits Leader for GE International Benelux. He also has some experience in the non-profit sector, having worked as a consultant Business Advisor for regional women’s rights organisation CRTD-A in Lebanon. Mark is currently a part-time Payroll Advisor for accountancy company Joanknecht & Van Zelst.

Sangita Jaghai (Researcher)

Sangita Jaghai has an LLM in International Human Rights Law from Tilburg University. Her master's thesis looked at the nexus between statelessness and migration in South East Asia - inspired by her time as an intern with UNHCR's regional office in Bangkok, Thailand, where she was also focusing on statelessness issues. She also has completed two internship projects on statelessness in the Netherlands: conducting an analysis of the 'no-fault' immigration procedure and the extent to which this offers protection to stateless persons in the country; and collecting direct testinomials from individuals affected by statelessness in the Netherlands.

Ileen Verbeek (Programme Officer)

Ileen Verbeek is a Programme Officer at the Institute, supporting our research, capacity building and communications work. She has a background in social psychology and a MSc. in Victimology and Criminal Justice from Tilburg University and an LLM in International Human Rights Law at the same university.

Maria Jose Recalde Vela (Trainee)

Maria Jose Recalde Velaholds an LL.M in international and European Law, a M.Sc. in Victimology and Criminal Justice and an LL.M in Legal Research, all from Tilburg University. She is currently doing an traineeship with the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, acting as assistant editor for the second volume of the Institute's flagship publication, 'The World's Stateless', and is co-managing editor of the Institute's Statelessness Working Paper Series. She is the 2014 winner of the UNHCR Award for Statelessness Research in the undergraduate category.

Previous Fellows

Peggy Brett (ISI Fellow in 2016) has an LL.M in International Human Rights Law from the National University of Ireland, Galway. As a consultant for UNHCR she researched how the UN Human Rights Council and human rights treaty bodies have addressed statelessness. Previously she had worked on promoting and facilitating civil society engagement with the UN Human Rights Committee and the Committee on the Rights of the Child. Under her Fellowship, Peggy worked on various elements of the Institute’s Human Rights Engagement Programme, including through drafting country submissions to treaty bodies and the Universal Periodic Review and developing resources for civil society.

Juliana Vengoechea Barrios (ISI visiting Fellow in 2016) was an Aryeh Neier Fellow (2014-2016) with the Open Society Justice Initiative, supporting litigation and other projects within the Equality and Inclusion. During the second year of that fellowship, she collaborated part-time as a visiting Fellow with the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, on projects related to the right to nationality of children, UN mechanisms advocacy and furthering the Institute’s academic engagement. Prior to joining the Justice Initiative, Juliana was an assistant professor and the director of the Center for Studies in International Law “Francisco Suárez, S.J.” at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia. Juliana has also worked as a human rights and international humanitarian law advisor for the vice presidency of Colombia, as a fellow at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Washington and as a legal fellow of the Human Trafficking Clinic at the University of Michigan.