thanstad | Land Portal


Tim Hanstad was still a law student when he first joined Roy Prosterman in his mission to strengthen land rights for the rural poor. Hanstad was instrumental in the formal founding of Landesa, then Rural Development Institute, helping it grow from a two-person operation run out of the University of Washington’s Law School to a top human rights NGO with more than 150 staff around the world.

As Landesa’s Co-Founder and Senior Advisor, Hanstad serves as a global ambassador to the organization and helps guide conversations about how global efforts on extreme poverty, gender equality, food security, and environmental stewardship can benefit from incorporating a land rights lens. He is a member of the Executive Leadership Team and contributes to Landesa’s programs by building the capacity of staff in our field offices. He previously served as Landesa’s CEO and President for more than a decade, and during that time elevated both the organization and the issue of land rights tremendously globally.

Hanstad’s international work experience spans more than 18 countries in Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America, including more than four years living in India, where he helped launch and grow Landesa’s India program.  He has more than 25 years of experience in non-profit leadership, social entrepreneurship, advocacy, project management, research, training and writing on land rights and international development.

Hanstad is a Skoll Foundation Social Entrepreneur Awardee, a World Economic Forum Social Entrepreneur, and a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Food Security, and Global Washington board of directors. He has authored numerous publications, including One Billion Rising: Land, Law and the Alleviation of Global Poverty (with Roy Prosterman and Robert Mitchell). Hanstad is affiliate associate professor at the University of Washington School of Law.


Co-Founder & Senior Advisor

About Landesa

Landesa partners with governments and local organizations to ensure that the world’s poorest families have secure rights over the land they till. Founded as the Rural Development Institute, Landesa has helped more than 105 million poor families gain legal control over their land since 1967. When families have secure rights to land, they can invest in their land to sustainably increase their harvests and reap the benefits—improved nutrition, health, and education—for generations.

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