Mariska van Beijnum is an internationally recognized expert with 20 years’ experience in the peacebuilding field.
Having joined the Clingendael Conflict Research Unit (CRU) in 2006 as Deputy Head and then assuming the role of Head from 2012 until October 2022, Mariska has led CRU through several cycles of expansion, working with a growing number of donor governments and multilateral aid organisations. In her executive capacity, she has drawn upon her keen knowledge of current research, analytical ingenuity, and her extensive experience with fund acquisition and policy influencing. She has been responsible for overseeing a team of 20 researchers conducting state-of-the-art work on the political economy of 21st-century conflict and fragility dynamics.
Mariska’s own research focuses specifically on aid architecture and aid effectiveness in fragile and conflict-affected situations. Her work centres on strengthening policy and programming coordination and coherence, as well as financing modalities in countries such as Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Kenya, and Burundi. Related projects include designing the Joint Peace Fund in Myanmar (2015), providing input into the 2015 and 2020 Reviews of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture, and evaluating the Danish support to the African Peace and Security Architecture (2018). She is currently working on designing effective financing mechanisms for local peacebuilders, and on the operationalization of adaptive programming in the day-to-day reality of donor governments.
Prior to joining Clingendael, Mariska held a research position at the Policy and Operations Evaluation Department of The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There she evaluated Dutch support to local governance and humanitarian assistance, carrying out field work in South Sudan, South Africa, and the Czech Republic. Mariska’s academic training is grounded in political sciences and humanitarian assistance. In 2001, she was awarded an MA under the EU-funded Network on Humanitarian Assistance (NOHA) from the University of Groningen and the University of Uppsala. She also holds an MA in Policy, Communication and Organisation from the Vrije Universiteit (VU) of Amsterdam.
Over the course of her career, Mariska has prioritized contributing to and sustaining vibrant communities of researchers and policy-influencers. Since its 2012 inception, she has managed and overseen the Knowledge Platform Security and Rule of Law, a network of more than 5,000 experts and practitioners. She has been advising the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) and the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation in their work on Financing for Local Peacebuilding, and has served on the boards of various international organisations. In 2021, Mariska joined the Board of Advisors of International IDEA. Previously, Mariska has served as Chair of the Secretary-General’s Advisory Group of the UN Peacebuilding Fund (2017-2020) and acted as the Human Resources Liaison on the Board of GPPAC for over 10 years.