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The International Secretariat

The secretariat coordinates all the activities of our organization on global and regional level and implements the communication strategies of the Choices International Programme. The team is composed of experts in nutrition, communication and partnerships.

Rutger Schilpzand

As Managing Director of Choices International, Rutger Schilpzand coordinates the activities of the Choices Programme worldwide. Rutger holds a Master's Degree in Human Nutrition from Wageningen University. He has worked as a freelance science writer and as a campaigner for OxfamNovib and consumer organizations. In 1984 he started the Clean Clothes (Schone Kleren) Foundation in the Netherlands, and he has been a member of the board of the Max Havelaar Foundation. Rutger is also a co-founder of the national Ghana Home Grown School Feeding Programme. He has worked as a strategic nutrition consultant and in 2005 he launched the Future of Food seminars initiative, a series of international seminars about future developments in the global food system. Rutger is co-author of "De strategische Stakeholderdialoog," the first study into experiences and expectations from business and NGOs with stakeholder dialogue in the Netherlands.

Sylvie Van den Assum

Sylvie van den Assum is the Scientific Secretary of Choices International. She coordinates the science-based secretariat actions, supports the use and development of the international Choices criteria, and takes care of the communication towards external stakeholders.

Sylvie graduated from Wageningen University in 2013, where she studied Nutrition and Health. After her graduation, Sylvie worked as a scientist at Danone Nutricia research in The Netherlands and Singapore, studying the effects of early life nutrition on children's growth and development. At the Erasmus Medical Center (Rotterdam, NL), Sylvie has worked as Communication Officer for the Generation R study and was project manager for an international EU funded project. She was in the organizing committee of DOHaD 2017, a congress on the developmental origins of health and disease.

Herbert Smorenburg

Dr. Herbert Smorenburg is Choices' Director Country Programs to further build and strengthen Choices' presence and partnerships in Asia, Africa, and Europe.

In 2018, Herbert founded "Partnering with Purpose," a consultancy firm aimed to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of public-private partnerships, especially in the food - and nutrition sector. He started his career at Unilever and worked there for 17 years in product development and nutrition & health. His last positions were Nutrition and Health Director Europe and Director Unilever Health Institute Africa, for which he was based in Ghana and South Africa. He joined The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition as Senior Manager of the Netherlands office in 2014. In the past 23 years, he has been building bridges between private and public organizations in developing and developed markets, all partnerships with a focus to improve the food system for healthier diets.

Herbert holds an MBA from the Rotterdam School of Management (Erasmus University Rotterdam) and a Ph.D. in physics (Delft University of Technology).

Bobbie Garrat

Bobbie Garratt is the Executive Assistant at Choices International. She coordinates the website, the Newsletters and takes care of the team.

Bobbie has been with Choices since 2017.

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