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New Director for IWGIA appointed: "I am looking forward to contribute to IWGIA's work for indigenous peoples”

March 31 2017

"Indigenous peoples show an immense strength in the fight for their rights," says Julie Koch, new Director for IWGIA from May. Photo: Anette Sønderby
Julie Koch is appointed new director for IWGIA from May 2017. She brings knowledge of indigenous peoples and 15 years of experience in international development.

From the 8th of May 2017 Julie Koch will take over the position as Director for IWGIA. Julie Koch is a well-known profile in international development in Denmark, where she has worked with a number of international NGOs. 

It was due to her research in Bolivia in 2002 that Julie Koch first got familiar with the specific challenges for indigenous peoples. The interest for indigenous peoples’ rights has stayed with her ever since:

“All over the world indigenous peoples' rights are being violated by authorities or an aggressive private sector. Indigenous peoples are amongst the most vulnerable people in society, but again and again show an immense strength in the fight for their rights,” says Julie Koch:

“There is a strong need for an organisation like IWGIA to support them in this through documentation, international advocacy, and concrete projects in collaboration with indigenous peoples' own organizations. I am very much looking forward to contribute to this work for the benefits of indigenous peoples globally.”

Strong development profile

In Denmark, Julie Koch is well known for her strong leadership qualities and strategic approach to international programmes. 

Chairman of the Board, Knud Vilby, is pleased to announce Julie Koch as new director for IWGIA.

“Julie Koch is an experienced leader and programme specialist that will strengthen IWGIA’s international work and Danish engagement. We look forward to be enriched by her knowledge and competencies,” says Knud Vilby.

International education from Sussex, Cambridge and Roskilde

Julie Koch’s stay in Bolivia resulted in her Ph.D. thesis from the University of Roskilde focusing on market changes and gender relations in urban Bolivia.

She has studied Latin America Studies at Cambridge University and obtained her bachelor from the high-ranking Development Studies at the University of Sussex in England.

Marking the 10 years anniversary of UNDRIP

Julie Koch will join IWGIA at the year, where we are marking the 10th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

IWGIA’s report on indigenous peoples’ rights, The Indigenous World, is this year published in a special edition to mark the anniversary of the Declaration.

The report will be launched in May 2017, as Julie Koch takes up the position as Director for IWGIA.

CV Julie Koch

Born in 1970


1994. Bachelor in Sociology and Development Studies, University of Sussex

1995. M.Phil. in Latin American Studies, Cambridge University

2002: Ph.D. in International Development Studies, University of Roskilde: Thesis on labor market changes and gender relations in urban Bolivia

Working experience

2003-2007 Acting International Director (final position), MS Action Aid.

2008-2012 International Director, Danish Youth Council

2012-2016. Deputy International Director and Head of Progamme Development (final position), Save the Children Denmark

2016 Head of Campaigns, Greenpeace Denmark.