Roy Prosterman, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Landesa and Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of Washington, is a pioneering social entrepreneur and expert on land reform, rural development, and foreign aid. Through the organization he founded in 1967, the Rural Development Institute (now known as Landesa), Prosterman has conducted research and provided advisory and technical assistance in more than 45 countries. Prosterman’s work has focused on the often neglected area of rural development, encompassing legal and policy aspects of land tenure reform, land market development, and other rural development issues.
Prosterman has received numerous awards and distinctions, including the Gleitsman International Activist Award, the Schwab Foundation’s Outstanding Global Social Entrepreneur award, and the inaugural Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership. Prosterman and Landesa have also been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, World Food Prize, and Hilton Humanitarian Award. Prosterman is a frequent guest speaker and presenter at world forums on poverty and economic security and has published extensively. His most recent book (with co-authors and editors Robert Mitchell & Tim Hanstad) is One Billion Rising: Law, Land and the Alleviation of Global Poverty.
Professor Prosterman is a graduate of the University of Chicago (B.A., 1954) and the Harvard Law School (J.D., 1958). Forty years ago, he left a rising career with one of the nation’s top law firms, Sullivan & Cromwell, for a teaching post at the University of Washington School of Law. Led by a passion for addressing global poverty, Prosterman continues to teach and to provide strategic insight on Landesa’s work dedicated to advancing land rights around the world.