Board Members

The Open Eyes Foundation Board ensures that all activities are within Dutch law and agreed charitable objects and is responsible for the strategy, policies, oversight of, and agreeing and approval of the financial plan for its activities/projects.

The Board Members are drawn from a wide field of relevant experience, including human rights, gender equality and women’s rights, minorities/vulnerable groups, development collaboration, strategy, international project management, media and communications, finance and contract management, fundraising, and quality management

Introduction of our Board members:

Xueli Abbing (she/her)


Founder and chairperson of the The Open Eyes Foundation, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the Fight against Racism and Discrimination.

Xueli is an International model and has modeled for several brands and campaigns including Adidas, Etnia Barcelona, Kurt Geiger, Instagram, Icebreaker, Vogue. Through her modeling work she raises awareness for the situation of persons with albinism in many countries.

Joeke Abbing (she/her)


Treasurer, with extensive experience in international programme/project management, contracts & finance, fundraising/business development. Joeke is director/owner of Intend Business Development (NL/UK).

Yara Abbing (she/her)


Secretary, researcher at the University of Leiden (Netherlands). She obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Media and Communication (2017 – 2020) at the Erasmus University. She did her master’s degree in Gender Studies (2020 – 2021) at Utrecht University (cum laude) and subsequently studied Sexology at the KU Leuven (Belgium).

Jia Li Puma Stehlik (she/her)

Board Member

Emergency medical technician (based in the USA). She is currently enrolled in Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions and is doing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Catherine Essoyan (she/her)

Board Member
Previously Thematic Program Manager Conflict and Fragility and Governance and Financial Flows at Oxfam Novib (Netherlands). She has worked for Oxfam Novib forover 29 years, in various positions among which as Regional Manager, Multi-Country Programmes manager and contributed to Oxfam global campaigns, for example against extreme inequality, against violence against women and to promote the rights of people, particularly women, in contexts of conflict.

Dr. Riina Pilke (she/her)

Board Member
Anthropologist (based in Kyrgyzstan). She holds a Ph.D. in Economic Sociology with approximately 15 years of experience working overseas and in Europe. She is an expert on social inclusion, reducing discrimination and inequalities, and improving the human rights of those whose voices are not heard. She has extensive experience in designing and managing development programmes, research, donor relations, tendering and in policy and advocacy on children’s rights, fundamental rights and citizenship and gender equality. She is currently working as Senior Project Manager/Consultant for Intend Business Development and Radar Europe on Gender equality, women’s and minority rights.

Edward Sloan (he/him)

Board Member

Research/M&E coordinator at Geneva Call, an international NGO that aims to enhance armed groups’ compliance with international humanitarian law. Previously, he was an Assessment Specialist where he was responsible for research conducted as part of the “MENA Atrocity Prevention” programme in Tunis. The aim of this programme is to better understand patterns of violence and discrimination against minority groups in Yemen, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia, and design and implement relevant programmes to assist vulnerable populations.

Esther Overpelt (she/her)

Board member

Until recently, she worked as policy adviser at the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra (Netherlands). She managed processes of change, and quality control. Previously, she supervised projects and programmes to optimise working processes at the Dutch Public Prosecution Service, in order to enable the professionals in the organisation to focus all their attention, knowledge and talents on the primary process.

Fields of knowledge and experience

Within the Board, the following fields of knowledge and experience are represented: 

fields of knowledge and experience

Governance / management

Internationale Development and Cooperation

Internationaal project management

Human Rights / Equal Rights

Gender, Inclusion en Diversity

Discrimination and Racism


Health and welbeing

Policy development

Lobby en advocacy

Research and Advocacy

Quality policy and management

Ethics, integrity

International Communication (via social media)


Sponsoring en Fund raising

Financial management and control and contract management


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