China Program Leadership
China Country Director
Mr. Gao brings a wealth of experience to Landesa and leads our program strategy and operations in China. He has near two decades’ working experience in areas of poverty reduction, international relations and environmental policy. This includes his previous undertaking as the Global Director for Worldwide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) China for a Global Shift Initiative. He also served the United Nations Development Program in different management and research roles on issues of poverty, regional economic and social cooperation and human development reports. Mr. Gao was educated at the Beijing Foreign Studies University and the University of Cambridge.
Mr. Li Ping has assisted the Chinese government in drafting and implementing laws and regulations governing farmers’ land rights, and provided consultancy to international development organizations in formulating policies on tenure security for farmers, land expropriation and resettlement. He has extensive land tenure experience, including forestland tenure, tenure security, land tenure law, eminent domain law, resettlement law and policy, regulatory takings, compensation valuation, land use law, land policy, and land-related institutional expertise in developing countries. He conducted numerous rounds of rural fieldwork throughout China, and has experience working with Chinese government agencies and academic institutions to reduce poverty through land reforms. Mr. Li has experience with program design, planning, implementation, and management. He also has three years of farming experience in China.
Mr. Zhu works for the Landesa China team as an attorney. Born and raised in the countryside of China, Keliang has intimate knowledge of the country’s rural society and rural land issues. As an attorney in private practice, he gained extensive experience in real estate law, land use, and land development matters. After joining Landesa in mid 2004, Keliang has conducted rural fieldwork, prepared research and policy memos, drafted laws and regulations, and designed programs and solutions for the land reforms in China and other Eastern Asian countries. He has substantial legal and policy expertise relating to land and forest tenure, tenure security, and land-related institutions concerning China. He earned his L.L.B. from China Youth College of Political Sciences and his J.D. from Willamette University School of Law. Mandarin Chinese is his native language and he is fluent in English.
Gender & Land Tenure Specialist
Xiaobei Wang has a strong sense of gender issues and social responsibility. She has rich experiences in field research and empirical studies on women’s land rights, legal aid, and the interaction between statutory and customary law in China. Before joining Landesa, she was the Secretary General of Women’s Watch China at Peking University Women’s Law Studies & Legal Aid Centre. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in protecting women’s rights by building gender awareness and promoting new laws and regulations. She earned her masters degree and Ph.D. in Sociology from Renmin University of China. She is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and English.
India Program Leadership:
India Country Director
Greg Rake joined Landesa in February 2009 as the India program manager. Rake’s career has been dedicated to advancing human and social rights around the world. He began his career in Bolivia and Latin America with a focus on public and community health and then moved into the area of land access and community development for the landless and poor in Central America and Mexico. Three themes have guided his service in the field of development: stewardship of human and environmental resources, development of human capacity, and sustainability. He is implementing Landesa’s projects which focus on advising Indian state and national governments on how to provide their poorest citizens with access to land and livelihood development. Greg received a BA in theology from the University of San Francisco and an MA in health services administration from Antioch University. In addition, he has discovered the richness of on-going learning from those he works with at every level and in every setting.
Sunil Kumar Meeka
Andhra Pradesh State Director
Mr. Meeka has extensive experience with rural development, legal aid, and land pilot implementation for poverty alleviation in Andhra Pradesh India. Prior to joining Landesa, Mr. Meeka founded a legal assistance for land organization that created village courts for land conflict resolution in rural areas of Andhra Pradesh. He speaks Telugu, Hindi and English.
West Bengal State Director
Mr. Halder joined Landesa West Bengal as senior manager in July 2011 and was primarily responsible for forging strong partnership with the government for micro-plot distribution to rural poor of the state. Prior to joining Landesa, Pinaki was working with the government of West Bengal as deputy secretary. He was a civil servant with more than 23 years of experience in rural development, urban governance, disaster management and community development. He served as associate professor at the Administrative Training Institute, Kolkata for over four years where he gained experience in capacity development of government officials, NGOs and local self government functionaries on nuances of community development. Mr. Halder also worked with UNICEF India for more than six years in the area of C4D (Communication for Development) with a focus on community-led behavior and social change for inclusive access to services provided through national flagship programs. Pinaki earned his Master’s in Sociology from Annamalai University and his BS with honors in Chemistry from Calcutta University.
Odisha State Director
Mr. Patnaik has more than 15 years experience in forestry and land rights issues in India, with expertise in rural development and natural resource management. Mr. Patnaik brings an in-depth understanding of socio-political systems and a strong grounding in inclusive management to Landesa’s work in Odisha to secure micro plots for landless agricultural workers.
Karnataka State Director
Dr. Lokesh has worked with Landesa since 2001, conducting research in eight Indian states on topics related to homestead land, women’s land rights, rural housing and agriculture. In recent years, he has focused primarily on the allocation and use of homestead plots. He recently earned his Ph.D in economics. He speaks Kannada, Hindi, English and Telegu.