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Tim Hanstad
Tim Hanstad is President and CEO of Landesa (formerly Rural Development Institute), an international not-for-profit with a mission to secure land property rights for the world’s poorest people. For over 40 years, Landesa has worked with 45 developing country governments on reforms that have helped to secure land rights for more than 100 million families. Landesa has received numerous awards and distinctions, including the Henry Kravis Prize in Leadership, Gleitsman Foundation International Activist Award, Schwab Foundation Outstanding Global Social Entrepreneur, Hilton Humanitarian Prize finalist, and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and World Food Prize.

Hanstad is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, World Economic Forum community, Bretton Woods Committee, and Global Washington Policy Panel. Hanstad has worked with the World Bank, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Asian Development Bank, and USAID and has led workshops with government leaders, NGOs and scholars on land property rights, food security, and rule of law. Hanstad’s international work experience spans fourteen countries and he recently returned from his second two-year post in India, where he helped launch Landesa’s successful “micro-land ownership” initiative. Like the idea that catalyzed the micro-lending movement, micro-land ownership provides the foundation for getting property assets into the hands of the poorest to foster self-sufficiency.

Hanstad and Landesa were recently highlighted at the Clinton Global Initiative for Landesa’s new Global Center for Women’s Land Rights, which is a platform to advocate for laws, policies, programs and practices that provide secure property rights for women and girls. Hanstad teaches at the University of Washington School of Law, where he has co-directed a graduate program in Law of Sustainable International Development. He has authored numerous publications including his most recent book, published in 2009, One Billion Rising: Land, Law and the Alleviation of Global Poverty, with a preface by Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz. Hanstad lives in Seattle with his wife Chitra and four children.

Entries by Tim Hanstad

A Dark Day for Kenyan Women: Why Kenya Must Not Pass Its Revised Marriage Property Bill

(0) Comments | Posted December 16, 2013 | 11:16 AM


Three years ago, the world cheered when parliamentarians drafted, and voters approved, provisions in the country's new constitution to guarantee women equal access to and control over land.

The move was based on the understanding that about half of the agricultural labor in...

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What We Can Learn From the Last Case of Polio

(0) Comments | Posted September 27, 2013 | 5:55 PM

A two-year-old girl named Arshi was one of last people in India to get polio.

Her case is remarkable for a number of reasons.

First and most obvious, her case -- now more than two years old -- shows the tremendous strides we've made against polio. There has been...

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Reflections From Sundance About the Power of Data Versus Story

(0) Comments | Posted January 30, 2013 | 5:58 PM


A week spent at the Sundance Film Festival usually includes photo opportunities in your best mountain-chic, mingling with celebrities and getting a sneak peak at the world's best films of the year.

That's true for most visitors to Park City this time...

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Getting All Children Back to School

(0) Comments | Posted September 6, 2012 | 7:11 PM

As my three daughters sharpen pencils, don their backpacks, and head back to school, it pains me to remember that far too many primary school aged children -- an estimated 67 million worldwide -- will never enroll in school.

These children are generally the poorest of poor, for...

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Catalytic Potential of Land Rights

(16) Comments | Posted March 30, 2012 | 8:52 AM

Consider for a moment the simple bicycle -- even before it had gears and souped-up tires. Who would have thought that what was designed to be a gentleman's plaything would have a wider impact of helping emancipate women or helping improve lives in Africa? But it did.

Now consider a...

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Plotting a Path to a More Peaceful World

(0) Comments | Posted December 22, 2011 | 2:17 PM

'Tis the season when hope for peace runs high.

The season when I renew my commitment to creating a better world, based in large measure on the experiences of villagers across the globe, like the ones I met recently in Chillipoi, a tiny hamlet deep in one...

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Growing Tomorrow's Leaders, One Land Title at a Time

(0) Comments | Posted December 9, 2011 | 4:23 PM

It should be simple. A country ensures free education for all children, and everyone benefits.

But we all know it's not that easy.

One in 10 children of primary school age is not in school, with 67 million children out of school worldwide -- and more than...

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Washington State's Most Important Export: Hope

(2) Comments | Posted October 27, 2011 | 1:04 PM

Think of Washington state and you probably picture a rainy emerald region with an economy powered by airplanes, timber, software, and salmon, and a people powered through the eternal mist by coffee.
But there is one vital industry absent from this otherwise, pretty accurate understanding of my birthplace and...

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A Commitment for Change: Partnering With Governments to Scale What Works

(0) Comments | Posted September 27, 2011 | 6:39 PM

Too often at the Clinton Global Initiative we hear how companies and NGOs are partnering to fix a problem.

That is great. But it is missing the crucial third strand of the braid -- governments.

Governments typically are in a position to make the amazing commitments that CGI midwifes...

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Bridging the Two Indias

(0) Comments | Posted September 9, 2011 | 6:21 PM

India is said to live in two centuries.

My recent visit there reminded me that this divide is so wide it spans more than centuries. There are the air conditioned offices of global cutting edge technology firms, and the plush shopping malls where shoppers can buy Benetton shirts and snack...

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The Myth of Cheap Land

(0) Comments | Posted August 16, 2011 | 8:47 PM

A severe drought in the Horn of Africa is forcing millions of people into starvation, leaving many with no option but to flee their land in search of food.

Meanwhile, the push to remake large swathes of the African continent into super-sized farms isn't helping.

This convergence of...

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