Heidy Rombouts is a lawyer and a social scientist with over 20 years of experience in the field of international cooperation and human rights. She has worked closely with national and international governments and institutions, but also with local actors and civil society in different countries. She started her career as academic researcher and policy advisor at the Institute of Development Policy and Management (University of Antwerp) with a focus on working in fragile situations and conducted intensive field work in Rwanda. Thereafter, she took up various roles as expert and team leader in the Belgian and German Development Agencies (BTC now Enabel, and GIZ) at headquarters – with multiple assignments in central Africa – and in Mali and Kenya. As project coordinator for a United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and board official at the World Bank Group she gained a solid understanding of the multilateral working environments. Before taking up her mandate of the Belgian Director General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid at the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation in October 2021, she was the managing director for Plan International Belgium.
She holds a PhD in social and political sciences from the University of Antwerp, a master’s degree in law and a master’s degree in sociology from the KU Leuven. She published internationally and consulted in the field of international relations and human rights.