Dr. Dirk Jan Koch is a diplomat, writer, scientist and highly committed to a poverty reducation and a sustainable use of our resources. He is Special Envoy Natural Resources of the Netherlands. Before re-joining the Ministry of Foreign affairs, he served as Search for Common Ground’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa, based in the DRC. He oversaw more than 250 staff and conflict resolution programs in Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria, the Central African Republic, the DRC and Angola. He supervises a diverse array of programs ranging from the amnesty program in the oil-rich Niger Delta program to the demilitarization of the tin-mines in the DRC.
He started his career as a diplomat and policy advisor at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was based in the Hague and in Kinshasa, the DRC. At the Netherlands embassy in Kinshasa he focused among others on natural resources, amongst which the conflict-free tin initiative.
He is the author of several well-selling books, articles, and working papers focusing on natural resources, international development and diplomacy. His work has appeared in French, English, Catalan, German and Dutch. Dr. Koch is much invited public speaker and gave public lectures at amongst others the Brookings Institute in Washington and the OECD Development Centre.
Dirk holds a PhD in Social Sciences (cum laude) from Radboud University in the Netherlands, a Masters’ from the London School of Economics (merit), and a Bachelor’s from the University of Utrecht, Netherlands (cum laude). He has been a part-time professor at the Catholic University of Kinshasa.