Marco Wopereis (The Netherlands) joined the World Vegetable Center as Director General in April 2016 and is based in Taiwan. An agronomist with a Doctorate in Tropical Agronomy from Wageningen University, The Netherlands, he has global expertise in agricultural science and management, and previously served as Deputy Director General and Director of Research for Development of the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) in Benin and as the Director of the Annual Crops Department of the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) in France. He also worked in different capacities for the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) in Togo, the West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA, now AfricaRice) in Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire and for the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. His specific strengths include fostering productive, action-oriented partnerships for efficient and effective research among international research institutes, national research systems, the private sector and community organizations.
Yin-fu Chang (Taiwan) joined the Center as Deputy Director General for Administration and Services in 2005. Trained as an entomologist with expertise in IPM and biological control, he was formerly Assistant Professor at the Institute of Tropical Agriculture & International Cooperation, National Pingtung University of Science & Technology in Taiwan. He also served with the Council of Agriculture and the Taiwan Mission in the USA as Agricultural Attaché where he was actively involved in international agricultural trade negotiations and developing agricultural science cooperative programs. In addition to his administration and services he is also responsible for host country liaison. He has a PhD in entomology from Cornell University.
Nagaraj Inukonda (India) joined the World Vegetable Center in 2009. He is the Director of Human Resources, Management Advisor to the Director General and gender focal point. He has expertise in a range of organizational management areas, including strategy and policy development, resource management, organizational behavior and organizational performance. He holds a Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in the area of organization strategy and performance and has undergone specialized training from Harvard Business School, USA in Social Enterprise Management. He is a certified trainer in Emotional Intelligence (TalentSmart, USA) and Workplace Diversity (SHRM, USA). Prior to joining the social sector in 2001 at ICRISAT, he worked in management functions in the corporate sector (energy and chemicals) for over two decades. His research interests are in the areas of organizational performance, positive behavior, gender and diversity.
Maureen Mecozzi (USA) is Director of Communications. She develops the Center’s communication strategy; conceives and executes promotional campaigns integrating print, video, web, social media, and mobile platforms; guides and supports management and staff on communications issues; coordinates media relations; provides editorial oversight for research papers and extension materials; and manages the distribution of knowledge through the Center’s online portals. Prior to joining WorldVeg she owned Blue Pencil Media, a studio based in Singapore offering media services to companies, educational institutions, and individuals. She has an MSc in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development from Imperial College, London UK.
Dirk Overweg (The Netherlands) is Director of Finance. He is a commercial engineer with a doctorate in Applied Economic Sciences from KU Leuven, Belgium. He has more than 20 years of experience in financial management, IT and administration, and has worked in several countries in Africa and Asia. Prior to joining AVRDC in 2013, Dirk was Regional Finance Manager-Asia for Belgian Technical Cooperation based in Hanoi, and Chief, Finance & Administration for the Mekong River Commission in Lao PDR. He has also served as an independent consultant in management control matters.
Victor Afari-Sefa (Ghana) was appointed as Regional Director for West and Central Africa – Coastal and Humid Regions in April 2017. He has extensive experience in performance monitoring and impact assessment of horticultural value chains on smallholder livelihoods. His research focuses on assessing opportunities and challenges in vegetable production systems, analyzing constraints in the value chain, and policy in interdisciplinary context. Prior to joining the Center in 2010, he worked as the Monitoring, Evaluation (M&E) and Impact Specialist for the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Ghana, where he implemented the M&E framework of the Sustainable Tree Crops Program. He also has international experience in integrated economic-biophysical optimization modeling of agricultural water use. Victor holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics from Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Germany.
Gabriel Rugalema (Tanzania) joined WorldVeg Eastern and Southern Africa as Regional Director in October 2019. Dr. Rugalema brings more than 30 years of experience in leadership and management of agriculture and food security programs at country, regional and global levels to the post. Prior to joining the World Vegetable Center, Dr. Rugalema was Representative/Country Director of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Kenya, where he managed a large and diverse field program portfolio of more than USD 90 million for both the Kenya country program as well as regional programs covering the broader East African region. During his service as FAO Resident Representative and United Nations Resident Coordinator (ad interim) in Sierra Leone he led national and international institutions in a successful response to an Ebola outbreak in 2015-2016. Dr. Rugalema served in various senior technical capacities at FAO Headquarters in Rome. He has also worked for other UN agencies in various capacities. He holds a PhD in Development Studies from the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, The Netherlands.
Mamadou Kabirou Ndiaye (Mali) joined WorldVeg as Regional Director for West and Central Africa – Dry Regions in Bamako, Mali in February 2017. He is an agronomist with extensive experience in irrigated systems and crop diversification. Previously he served as the Regional Representative – Sahel for AfricaRice, and has held posts with IFDC and the Institute of Rural Economy (IER) in Mali. Dr. Ndiaye holds a PhD in Agricultural Sciences from the National Polytechnic Institute, Toulouse / École Nationale Supérieure Agronomique de Toulouse, France.
Ramakrishnan (Ram) M. Nair (India) was appointed Regional Director for South and Central Asia in March 2020. He also leads the WorldVeg global legume breeding program and the International Mungbean Improvement Network (IMIN). Ram has over 30 years of experience in managing and leading national and international projects. He began his career in 1986 as an Agricultural Officer (Extension) in the Department of Agriculture, Government of Kerala, India. He received his PhD with a specialization in plant breeding from Kerala Agricultural University, India. Ram spent ten years as a forage breeder at the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) in Adelaide and four years at the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Victoria, Australia. There he researched a range of plant species including Medicago, Trifolium, Trigonella, Melilotus, Lolium and Atriplex. In 1998, Ram was seconded to the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, Aberystwyth, UK. He completed a Professional Management Program from the School of Business, University of Adelaide in 2010. Recently Ram completed a course on gender responsive plant breeding organized by Makerere and Cornell Universities as part of their Gender-responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation (GREAT) project. His extensive publication record includes 70 peer-reviewed journal articles, 65 conference papers and, 12 book chapters. He is a member of the International Legume Society, serves as the Regional Secretary (India) for the Society for Advancement of Breeding Research in Asia and Oceania (SABRAO), and is a member of the Editorial Board for the SABRAO Journal of Breeding and Genetics and of the Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANRES) Journal. In 2008, he won the SARDI Breakthrough Innovation Award and in 2018, Ram and his team won the WorldVeg Science of Excellence Award for their work on mungbean.
Delphine Larrousse (France) joined the Center in January 2019 as Regional Director for East and Southeast Asia, based in Bangkok, Thailand. She previously served as a Senior Program Officer in Agriculture and Food Security at Canada’s International Development Research Center (IDRC), with a leadership role in research uptake and knowledge management. Her expertise in international development is founded on 15 years of experience designing, managing, monitoring, and evaluating projects globally. She has lived in 10 countries, and led research and development projects in over 15 countries. Her specific strengths include communication across cultures, disciplines, and sectors, coordinating large multidisciplinary research teams and fostering partnerships. Through a broad range of strategic communications and knowledge sharing methods, Delphine’s professional interest is to contribute to maximizing the benefits of research and development initiatives to positively impact people’s lives. She holds a Masters of Arts (MA) in Intercultural Communication from Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, England, and is fluent in five languages.
Pepijn SchreinemachersFlagship Program Leader - Enabling Impact & Healthy Diets; Lead Scientist - Impact Evaluation
As Flagship Leader for Enabling Impact and Healthy Diets, Pepijn Schreinemachers (The Netherlands) leads the design and implementation of ex-post and ex-ante evaluations of WorldVeg technologies and interventions and uses the results to support evidence-based decision-making and strategic learning of the organization. His work cuts across all WorldVeg regions and flagships. As Lead Specialist – Impact Evaluation, Pepijn contributes to the development, design and planning of research and development projects so that projects have a clear and feasible strategy towards impact that is in line with Center’s mission and strategy. He holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics from the University of Bonn, Germany, and an MSc in Rural Development Studies from Wageningen University, The Netherlands. He serves as chair of the WorldVeg Research Management Team.
Srinivasan Ramasamy (India) received a PhD in Agricultural Entomology from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, India / Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center, Taiwan in 2003. Since 2005 he has led the Entomology Group at the World Vegetable Center. His professional interests include host-plant resistance, chemical ecology of insect pests, biological control, and molecular entomology. As a member of the WorldVeg Plant Protection and Breeding Team, he received the International Plant Protection Award of Distinction from the International Association for the Plant Protection Sciences. Dr. Srinivasan is an active member in professional societies / networks such as Royal Entomological Society, Society for Invertebrate Pathology, Entomological Society of America, International Association for the Plant Protection Sciences, New York Academy of Sciences, and International Society of Chemical Ecology. He has more than 60 peer-reviewed journal publications and book chapters, two field guides and a Conference Proceedings to his credit. He is a member of the WorldVeg Research Management Team.
Roland SchafleitnerFlagship Program Leader - Vegetable Diversity and Improvement; Head, Molecular Genetics
Roland Schafleitner (Austria) joined WorldVeg in 2010 from the International Potato Center (Peru), where he worked on abiotic stress tolerance of potato and marker development for sweet potato. Currently he leads the WorldVeg biotechnology/molecular breeding group and the Vegetable Diversity and Improvement Flagship. His areas of expertise are in molecular genetics and biotechnology, and his main interest is the production of molecular tools for plant breeding, especially for under-researched vegetable crops. He received a PhD in Biochemical Technology from TU Vienna and a MSc in Molecular Microbiology, University of Vienna, Austria. He is a member of the WorldVeg Research Management Team.