UNESCO-IHE's staff members are committed to bring water education, research and capacity development to a higher level. Together with its motivated PhD fellows, Alumni, Students and Partners UNESCO-IHE forms a strong knowledge network of water sector experts.

Staff in focus

Maria Laura Sorrentino

Alumni Officer

Maria Laura joined UNESCO-IHE in 2002. She was working both as Social Cultural Officer and as Alumni Officer until this year, when, from July 2016, she became fully dedicated to Alumni matters. ''In my 14 years at UNESCO-IHE, I have discovered day by day the richness of the cultural diversity. Throughout these years I have dedicated myself with great pleasure to strengthening the bond among and between participants, alumni and staff. The Institute provides a unique setting for professional and personal development. I really love to see how a lasting connection is created between the Institute and participants who will be later our alumni. The magical thing that happens is that their common interest and experience brings them together and many stay in contact the rest of their lives. Throughout the year I organize, coordinate and implement alumni activities to provide lifelong learning and strengthen the alumni network, groups relations as well as regional and inter-regional ties for cooperation. In the future I hope to continue increasing the interaction between the Institute and our alumni as well as increasing their participation as ambassadors of UNESCO-IHE.''

Maria Laura Sorrentino

Berend Lolkema

Laboratory Research Analyst

Berend Lolkema joined UNESCO-IHE in December 2012. Since then he has been working as a research analyst at the laboratory. His work involves guidance and support of participants with their MSc/phD/postdoc research, support of laboratory courses, maintenance and training on analytical instruments and support of UNESCO-IHE fieldwork. There are several highlights of his work: the students (you get to know during their stay), fieldtrips, learning about water chemistry and sanitation, the sport and social events organised by UNESCO-IHE (like the (beach)volleyball/football tournaments and Christmas dinner). I love the diversity, you meet people from everywhere and talk to them about life. At the moment I'm following a GPDP and in five years, I hope to have a Master's. I hope that UNESCO-IHE will keep on growing and that we are still here in this beautiful location in the middle of the city.

Berend Lolkema


PhD Fellows in focus

Christiana Metzker Netto

PhD fellow

Christiana Metzker Netto graduated from the MSc Programme in Human Resources and Organizations, in the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil. She was a lecturer for 7 years in a private university in Brazil. Christiana wanted to undertake PhD research in sustainabilty, then she saw an opportunity to come UNESCO-IHE. She got accepted, but didn’t get a scholarship. Then she made some calculations and found that she could sell her apartment and live off of the money for two years in the Netherlands. After this period, she finally got a scholarship from the Brazilian Government, to finish her PhD. Christiana's research is on water utilities and focusses on water loss. She is trying to understand how the water utilities are managing the knowledge (capacity development and ensuring the best use of the knowledge) to reduce the loss of water in the system. After her PhD she wants to work at a consultancy company to advise water utilities in Brazil. "UNESCO-IHE is a great Institute with many possibilities, not only your professional life, but also your personal life will change. It is very unique here, the whole world is at UNESCO-IHE."

Read the full story Christiana Metzker Netto

Maria Luisa Salingay

PhD fellow

Maria has just been elected as PhD Association Board (PAB) chair. She is a licensed Chemist and Associate Professor in a state university in the Philippines. Even having a degree in Physical Science major in Chemistry minor in Physics, the flood that occurred in her city in December 2011 changed her mind and heart and decided to pursue water-related courses. She obtained MSc Water Management at UNESCO-IHE in April 2014. She started a PhD last May 2016 and her research focuses on water quality assessment of surface water in flood vulnerable communities in the Philippines and Vietnam. The research also involves random household survey and personal interview to key government officials. “If you want to have the best water education with internationally-known water professors in an international community of more than 50 nationalities, come to UNESCO-IHE.”

Read the full story Maria Luisa Salingay

PHD Fellows


UNESCO-IHE has provided post-graduate education to more than 14,500 water professionals from over 160 countries. They form the Institute’s alumni community, the largest global network of water professionals in the world. They are acquiring key positions, supporting the implementation of the global water agenda and improving the quality of life of their communities every day.

Read more about alumni


Our students do not only study and share water-related knowledge, but also get to broaden their perspective on the wonders of each others' cultures, religions and beliefs.

Read more about students