Gisèle Yasmeen

Director, Social Protection Programme

“Access to resources and services for all is critical to achieving a just and equitable world. Education, health-care, income-security and necessities of life such as food, water and shelter might all be classified as essential for our ability to survive and thrive collectively in a world of abundance. However, we are at a crossroads where billions around the world do not have the access to these resources to live in dignity.'"


micro-enterprises, informal food sector, research programme design, partnership strategy and futures/foresight methodologies

WIEGO’s Social Protection Director, Gisèle replaces Francie Lund, WIEGO’s founding and outgoing Director of the Social Protection programme, in April 2016.  Gisèle has done extensive research on micro and small-scale enterprises in the food sector, particularly street food vendors. Her focus has been primarily on Thailand and she has also done comparative work in the Philippines and India. Her expertise on the informal food sector led to her leadership on the Feeding Asian Cities / Nourrir les villes d’Asie initiative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations as well as FAO’s Feeding Cities in the Horn of Africa. Through her involvement in the Development and Security in Southeast Asia project funded by the Canadian International Development Agency, she oriented her work on the link between the informal food sector and the formal economy including the Asian economic crisis profiling Sirivat Voravetvuthikun, Thailand’s “Stockbroker turned Sandwich Vendor”.

Gisèle has had a successful career as a senior executive overseeing research and related activities, including designing and managing research-funding programs and research priority-setting exercises, including futures/foresight approaches. She returned to her roots in 2014, when, at the request of WIEGO, she published a multimedia policy brief on street vending in Bangkok in collaboration with Dr. Narumol Nirathron of Thammasat University in Bangkok. She has since rounded out her expertise to include work on a number of health-related projects for both provincial organizations as well as not-for-profits.

Also a Senior Fellow at the University of British Columbia’s Institute of Asian Research, Gisèle has worked as a research and policy consultant for international agencies and organizations including FAO, the International Development Research Centre, the former Canadian International Development Agency, as well as a number of public, private and not-for-profit organizations in Canada.  She is also a member of the Board of Directors of Canadian Crossroads International.

Gisèle has a Ph.D. in Geography from University of British Columbia, an M.A. in Geography from McGill and a B.A. Honours in Geography and Political Science from the University of Ottawa. She is fluent in English and French and has studied Urdu/Hindi, Thai, Spanish and Mandarin.

In the News

2015. Societal resilience, food security and social protection. Commonwealth Foundation (article published in advance of the 2015 Commonwealth Peoples Forum in Malta).

2016. Stephen Ibaraki. Interview with Gisèle Yasmeen, Senior Fellow UBC Institute of Asian Research. IT World - Canada (blog post).

2016. Devex. What's emerging and missing in the social protection debate. (news article and video interview)