Francine S. R. Mestrum
Joined Meer in April 2021
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Francine S. R. Mestrum

Francine Mestrum worked as a conference interpreter at several European institutions. At 40, she returned to university (Université Libre de Bruxelles) and earned her PhD in development cooperation with an analysis of the international discourse on poverty. She worked at several Belgian universities as a guest lecturer.

Her research concerns the social dimension of globalization, poverty, inequality, social protection, public services, and gender, looking each time at the meanings and the semantic dynamic of concepts and words. She has continued to closely watch the social dimension of the Bretton Woods policies, the way in which their discourse adjusts to the needs of the time, mostly eroding the meaning of ‘development’.

She also works on a ‘social commons’ a concept allowing for a common, active, and participatory approach to economic and social rights and hence citizenship. From there, the road to ‘global commons’ with universal social dividends is a short one. She actively supports all research and ideas concerning new internationalism. Francine has practical experience with educational programs in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. For 20 years, she was an active member of the International Council of the World Social Forum and is a part of the International Organising Committee of the Asia Europe People’s Forum, co-responsible for the social justice cluster. In this context, she organizes webinars on social issues, linked to environmental justice and peace. She also worked on an initiative for the renewal of the World Social Forum along with Boaventura de Sousa Santos and Roberto Savio. It allowed for the creation of a separate and autonomous ‘Global Social Assembly of Struggles and Resistance of the WSF’.

She is the founder of the global network of Global Social Justice and a member of the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors.

She was a member of the board of CETRI (Centre Tricontinental), an NGO founded by François Houtart, in Louvain-la-Neuve. CETRI does research on North-South relationships, giving a voice to people and movements from the South.

She is also a member of the editorial board of Uitpers, an e-zine on foreign relations.

She wrote several books in Dutch, French, and English on development, the World Bank, poverty, inequality, and social commons. Her most recent book is Redefining the Social Justice Agenda—voices from Europe and Asia, with Meena Menon, published by Palgrave, in 2021.

Francine lives in Brussels but spends the cold European winters in the city of eternal spring, Cuernavaca, México.

Articles by Francine S. R. Mestrum

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