Employee Council

The Employee Council, or ‘Dienstraad’, is composed of employees who represent the African Studies Centre Leiden (ASCL) staff. The Council consists of four representatives, who each represent a different echelon within the ASCL. The Council functions as a body of consultation, advice, information and communication between management and the staff. The Council aims to promote the well-being and interests of the staff and seeks to improve the transparency and mutual consultation within the management. The Council is also alert on discrimination on any grounds, and strives to promote the equality between men and women and the employment of disabled persons and immigrants.

To fulfil its role/reach this objective the Employee Council holds regular consultations with the Director and the ASCL Board of Governors on behalf of the ASCL staff. The Employee Council can issue both solicited and unsolicited advice to the ASCL management. ASCL management shares information about its policy and anticipated changes to the policy directly with the Employee Council. In some cases, the Employee Council has the right to consent or object to proposed changes. The council welcomes all staff to share their ideas and concerns relevant to this end.

The rights and obligations of the Employee Council are stipulated in the Employee Councils Regulation (in Dutch: Reglement Dienstraden).


Lidewyde Berckmoes (chair)
Representative of the research staff

Maaike Westra (secretary)
Representative of the support staff 

Mandipa Ndlovu (member)
Representative of the PhD candidates and the junior employees

Heleen Smits (member)
Representative of the library staff


The Employee Council holds regular meetings with the Director and with the Board of Governors. Once a year, a Plenary Meeting for all ASCL staff is organised.


ASCL staff members are welcome to approach any of the representatives with questions, suggestions or concerns.