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Mark West Myanmar Program Director
Why I am passionate about Landesa’s mission:
As I have lived and worked in South and Southeast Asia over the years, I have seen time and again that the conflicts experienced by communities are based in questions of land. In those same places, where I have seen health and happiness it seems to come hand in hand with secure land rights.
Mark West is an attorney and anthropologist with more than 15 years experience in rule of law development worldwide, with a particular focus on South and Southeast Asia. He has collaborated with jurists, civil society groups, and government agencies in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Cambodia, supporting programs on land and labor rights in rural post-conflict settings. Dr. West lived in Cambodia for four years working with the USAID Program on Rights and Justice, whose core activity areas concerned land rights and access to justice, and where he served as the principal liaison to the Ministry of Justice for USAID. In 2013 he began work with access to justice programs in Myanmar, assisting nascent legal aid centers and training public interest lawyers who litigate land cases and defend land activists.
Currently he supports Landesa programs to strengthen land tenure security in Myanmar and India. In Myanmar, he advises on land policy, including the Government of Myanmar’s National Land Use Policy, draft Land Law, and land registration policies, coordinating with local NGOs delivering legal aid and communities involved in land titling. In India, he advises on project management across several states, including Odisha and West Bengal, supporting policy efforts to improve land tenure security.
Areas of Expertise:
- Legal and policy research
- Policy advocacy and communications
- Training and capacity building support
- Qualitative and quantitative research
- Participatory processes
- Land tenure policy
- Land dispute resolution
- Women’s access and rights to land
- Project management
- Ph.D., Northwestern University, School of Communication and Department of Anthropology
- J.D., University of Washington, School of Law
- B.A., Southern Illinois University, Department of Political Science
- International Experience:
- Albania, Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, India, Georgia, Kosovo, Myanmar, Nepal, Serbia, Sri Lanka