Board of Directors

Virunga Foundation

The Virunga Foundation is a UK based charity founded in 2005, created to support the protection of the flora and fauna of the Park, as well as the local communities that live near Virunga’s boundaries. The Foundation holds the management contract for the Park.

Meet the Board of Directors
  • Jan Bonde Nielsen

    Chairman of the Board, the Virunga Foundation

    Jan Bonde Nielsen has extensive business experience, with a career spanning infrastructure projects around the world. He has maintained a close connection with Africa throughout his life, playing an active role in the charity FARM-Africa since its foundation, and acting as director of the veterinary organisation, SIDAI.

  • François Xavier De Donnea

    Member of the Board of Directors, Virunga Foundation

    François-Xavier de Donnea’s career began as Professor of Economics and Public management at the University of Louvain in Belgium. He became a Member of the Belgian Parliament in 1981 and served in the Belgian Government as Secretary of State for Development Cooperation and Minister of Defence. He has served as Mayor of Brussels and as Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region. In the Belgian House of Representatives he served successively, from 2003 until 2014, as Chairman of the Committee on Finance and Budget and as Chairman of the Committee on External Relations.

  • Joanna Natasegara

    Member of the Board of Directors, the Virunga Foundation

    Joanna Natasegara is an award winning producer and impact producer. Joanna has experience in documentary filmmaking, having directed and produced documentaries covering social justice and politics. Her work is global in scope, collaborating with organisations and international leaders across the political spectrum, as well as the business, arts and philanthropic worlds.

  • Paul Leander-Engström

    Member of the Board of Directors, Virunga Foundation

    Paul Leander-Engström’s professional career began in the finance and investment sector in Russia, where in the 90’s and 2000’s, he co-founded various investment businesses, including the largest fund manager for Russian equities. In 2005 he created the World We Want Foundation, operating internationally, to provide philanthropic support, specifically in areas where human and ecological needs are not being met. He is also a published author and TV producer.

  • Michael Joseph

    Member of the Board of Directors, Virunga Foundation

    Michael Joseph is currently Chairman of Kenya Airways, a position he has held since October 2016 and the Interim Chief Executive Officer of Safaricom since July 2, 2019. He is also a non-executive Director on the Boards of Vodacom Group South Africa, MFS Africa and Safaricom Limited. Michael was the founding CEO of Safaricom Limited, steering the company from a subscriber base of less than 18,000 in 2000 to over 17 million subscribers at his retirement in November 2010 making it the most successful company in East Africa. He is also a keen conservationist and serves as Chairman of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, a leading conservancy in Northern Kenya.

  • Annette Lanjouw

    Member of the Board of Directors, Virunga Foundation

    Annette Lanjouw is the Chief Executive Officer of the Arcus Foundation, and Head of the Great Ape and Gibbon Program for the Foundation. In this capacity, Annette leads the work of the foundation, focusing on both Social Justice and Conservation, but also specifically heads the program to ensure the respect and survival of great apes and gibbons and their natural habitat across their range in Africa and SE Asia. She is also member of the Board of Directors of the Virunga Fund, the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology and is Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of Fauna and Flora International.

  • Dr Antoine Kesia-Mbe Mindua

    Member of the Board of Directors, Virunga Foundation

    Dr Antoine Kesia-Mbe Mindua is a citizen of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (“DRC”). He received his PhD in international law in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1995, with the Bellot Prize for the best doctoral thesis of the University for 1996. He is a University Professor of international law. His fields of research are mainly: public international law, international criminal law, and international environmental law. A globally recognised human rights activist and active defender of the environment (fauna and flora), Dr Mindua served several years as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of his country to the Swiss Confederation in Bern and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, where he has promoted many legal instruments concerning human rights and ecology. He is currently Judge and Vice-President of the International Criminal Court (“ICC”) in The Hague, The Netherlands.