Francine S. R. Mestrum
Joined WSI in April 2021
Find out more about Francine S. R. Mestrum in
Francine S. R. Mestrum

Francine Mestrum worked as a conference interpreter at the European institutions. At 40, she went back to university (Université Libre de Bruxelles) and made 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 continues 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 project of ‘social commons’ a concept allowing for a common, active and participatory approach of 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. She is an active member of the International Council of the World Social Forum and is 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 works, along with Boaventura de Sousa Santos and Roberto Savio on an initiative for the renewal of the World Social Forum. It allowed for the creation of a separate and autonomous ‘Global Social Assembly of the WSF’.

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

She is 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, 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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