TNI strives for peace, equity and democracy in a sustainable world, brought about and supported by an informed and engaged citizenry.

Fiona Dove - Executive Director, Transnational Institute

Message from the director

In 2016 we witnessed the disturbing consequences of permanent war, neoliberal policies and globalization that have unleashed forces that are shaking the status quo at its roots. TNI has long warned of these dangerous consequences, but is still horrified at the worryingly fast-paced shift towards authoritarianism across the globe. Yet, while we may seem pessimists of the intellect, we make up for it with our optimism of will! We continue to draw hope from the social movements which doubled their commitment to the realization of the vision and values that TNI holds dear.

Building blocks for justice



Build understanding of what blocks justice and explore viable ways forward



Support communities, especially those suffering exclusion and poverty, to organize, demand and find solutions



Demand access, control and accountability of key public and private institutions to citizens

Pedro Arenas

National Observatory on Crops and Producers that have been declared illicit, Colombia

“TNI has very useful expertise on the issues and topics they work on. They visit communities and work hard to get a direct understanding of the realities of the people they work with. Their reports and articles are always of a high standard.”

Building awareness

Around the world there is an energy revolution going on. But this revolution is not just about solar panels and windmills. It is fundamentally a people-powered movement as citizens take back control of their energy systems from corporate monopolies.

In October/November, TNI and UK activist-research collective Platform organized a 6-week peer-learning course on energy democracy, bringing together activists, academics and practitioners to deepen our analysis on how we can build a true energy democracy, examining the obstacles, highlighting the possibilities and drawing learning and inspiration from frontline struggles.

Over 75 people signed up – a third of whom were from the Global South – to the weekly course that featured video presentations and live online discussions and debate. In between sessions, participants actively shared experiences and raised questions in online chat spaces, and on Facebook. The course material built up collectively is now a critical resource for an emerging Energy Democracy movement that TNI hosts –

One participant commented, “It was a fantastic introduction to democratizing energy, showcasing the inspiring work happening around the world felt so positive! I loved hearing from each and every speaker in both the videos and webinars.”

TNI has a long experience in producing high-quality publications and holding seminars, but is also always keen to experiment with new formats and methodologies to build knowledge, awareness and learning around critical global issues. The energy democracy course was the second online learning course TNI has held – we hope to build on its success to expand such initiatives to all areas of our work.

Building Awareness

Amplifying voice

“We never had a workshop like this. We want to work together, and make our own policy,” said a Shan woman at a workshop in Kengtang, Myanmar. Supported by TNI at the request of Myanmar youth and student organizations, about 70 ethnic community leaders had gathered to discuss the key land issues affecting them. The workshop was one of three held in Shan state.

Land is critical for the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in Myanmar, but is also a huge source of conflict in Shan state. Many participants reported on how the Myanmar army and other armed groups have long been seizing land, and how in recent years the threats were increasingly posed by new extraction projects and dams.

With the opening up of the Myanmar state after years of military rule, many felt now was a critical time to speak out, formulating key demands on the right to land and calling for recognition and support for customary land tenure and practices of shifting cultivation.

TNI’s work in Myanmar is low profile but far-reaching. Our expertise on drugs, land and trade policies is deeply appreciated by many local partners and networks, as is our quiet and constant support that sets us apart from other international organizations.

This is no accident – it is how TNI defines solidarity.

Our philosophy is to support organizations with expertise, but to enable local communities and movements to advocate for themselves, in their own voices and in their own ways.


Demanding access

Debates on drug policies usually revolve around drug use. The actual producers of prohibited plants are often excluded from the discussion, even though many are impoverished, caught up in the violence of the drug war, and yet still have a clearer understanding of solutions to minimize drug harm than many politicians.

So in January 2016, in the run-up to a major meeting of the UN Special Assembly on Drugs, TNI brought together producers of prohibited plants from 14 countries to discuss their experiences and present demands. Peasant farmers from as far a field as Myanmar and Jamaica shared their personal experiences – from the fumigation of plants that poisoned their rivers to the militarized policing that has led to deaths of family members and neighbours.

The forum issued the historic Heemskerk declaration directed at their governments and the UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS) and its representatives remained actively engaged in both the UNGASS process and the International Conference on Alternative Development (ICAD2), held in 2016.

TNI actively supports the direct access and involvement of social movements and community organizations in influencing government policy. In 2016, TNI also facilitated trips by Filipino organizers to speak to European institutions on trade policy; a delegation of Hondurans to lobby the Dutch development corporation FMO; and Myanmar civil society representatives to meet World Bank officials.

Providing Access

Doi Ra

Paung Ku, Myanmar

“Through TNI we learn a lot about decisions in Europe that affect Myanmar. Just recently, TNI informed us that another round of negotiations between the EU and Myanmar was due to take place on a proposed investment protection agreement. This information helped us to issue statements to the European Commission and the government at the right time.”


Click on image for project report

Agrarian & Environmental Justice

Corporate Power

Drugs and Democracy


Public Alternatives

Trade and Investment

War and Pacification


Most popular publications of 2016

Dr. Thomas Marois

School of Oriental and African Studies, UK

“If I were to describe TNI with just one word I would choose ‘uplifting’. I find I have plenty of connections, both ideologically and morally, in our mutual concerns for justice and meaningful alternatives. TNI takes a practical and inspiring approach to meaningful alternatives. This has impacted in a positive way my research and dissemination opportunities.”


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Prof. Achin Vanaik

Dr. Ben Hayes

Dr. Daniel Chavez

Dr. David Fig

Prof. Edgardo Lander

Dr. Hilary Wainwright

Prof. Jun Borras

Phyllis Bennis


Dr. Boris Kagarlitsky
Dr. Joel Rocamora
Dr. Kees Biekart
Myriam Vander Stichele
Dot Keet
Dr. Gonzalo Berrón
Dr. Godfried van Benthem van den Berg (Netherlands)
Halle-Jorn Hannsen (Norway)
Prof. Jan Pronk (Netherlands)

Dr. Howard Wachtel
John Cavanagh
Dr. Marcos Arruda
Dr. Walden Bello
Dr. David Bewley-Taylor
Bob Debus (Australia)
Hermann von Hatzfeldt (Germany)
Peter Weiss (USA)
Manuel Pérez-Rocha 

Dr. Jochen Hippler
Dr. Kamil Mahdi
Mariano Aguirre
David Sogge
Dr. Ricardo Vargas
Dr. Tom Reifer
James Early (USA)
Christine Merkel (Germany)
Roger van Zwanenburg (UK)

President & Supervisory Board

Dr. Susan George

Gisela Dutting

Diederik van Iwaarden

Prof. Mirjam van Reisen

Pauline Tiffen

Paul Zweers
Audit Committee


Management Team
Fiona Dove (Executive Director)
Willem-Paul Herber/ Brigitte Gemen (Finance Manager)
Ernestien Jensema and Pietje Vervest (Programmes)
Denis Burke (Communications)
John Kerseboom (Personnel)

Denis Burke
Tessa Kersten
Hilde van der Pas

Willem-Paul Herber/Brigitte Gemen
Kees Kimman
Katja Gertman

Michelle van Lanschot
Susan Medeiros
Albi Janssen
Eloise de Souza Barbosa

Pietje Vervest
Brid Brennan
Satoko Kishimoto
Lyda Fernanda Forero Torres
Daniel Chavez
Sol Trumbo Vila
Lavinia Steinfort
Katie Sandwell
Cecilia Olivet

Niels Jongerius
Elisabeth Ijmker
Sylvia Kay
Ernestien Jensema
Martin Jelsma
Tom Blickman
Pien Metaal

Consultants / Research Associates
Beatriz Martinez Ruiz (Spain)
Akinbode Oluwafemi (Nigeria)
Nina Aichberger (Germany)
Walden Bello (Philippines)
Nick Buxton (UK/USA)
Arun Kundnani (UK/USA)
Frank Barat (France/Belgium)
Gonzalo Berron (Brazil)
Luciana Ghiotto (Argentina)
Matthijs Peters (Netherlands)
Tim Feodoroff (France)
Zoe Brent (Netherlands/USA)
Khu Khu Ju (Myanmar)
Shadan Mung San Zau (Myanmar)
Sai Lone (Myanmar)
Phwe Phyu (Myanmar)
Tom Kramer (Myanmar/Netherlands)
Renaud Cachia (Myanmar)
Martin Smith (Myanmar)
Hannah Twomey (Germany/Ireland)
Alberto Alonso Fradejas (Netherlands/Spain)
Monica Vargas (Spain)
Sebastian Stellingwerff (Netherlands)
Jenny Franco (Netherlands/USA)
Benny Kuruvilla (India)


Bram Ebus (Netherlands)
Devika Sud (India/Netherlands)
Dania Putri (Indonesia)
Natsumi Koike (Japan)
Ruben Colorni (Netherlands)


Misrak Alayu (Ethiopia/Netherlands)
Moestafa Hammash (Syria/Netherlands)
Daniel van Heijningen(Netherlands)
Emma Vitureira (USA)
Karin Hakansson (Sweden/Netherlands)
Tohan Ayewoh (UK/Netherlands)
Kristian Gotthelf Schmidt Andersen (Denmark/Netherlands)
Julia Tziampiri (Greece/Netherlands)
Donald de Groen (Netherlands)
Christine Lewis Carroll (Spain)



we spent our money on

Finances - what we spent our money on in 2016


we spent our money

Working Transnationally