Senior Scientist

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Training Margareta Amy Lelea completed her PhD in Geography in 2009 with a designated emphasis in Feminist Theory and Research from the University of California, Davis (UCD). She completed her MSc in Geography in 2005 and her BSc in International Agricultural Development in 2000 also from UCD.
Career Margareta Lelea has been working with the German Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture since 2013 and the Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department of the Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences at the University of Kassel since 2015 through which she has contributed to multiple European-African research projects. From 2012-2015, she served as the Chair of the Communications Committee for the Rural Geography Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers. From 2011-2013 she worked as a Post-Doctoral Researcher with the Department of Entomology, University of California, Davis (UCD) on a project entitled, ‘Community Perceptions of Emergency Responses to Invasive Species in California’. From 2009-2010, she was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania where she taught Geography. As a graduate student researcher at UCD (2002-2003; 2005-2009), she contributed to program coordination for the Gender and Global Issues Program (GGI) and then the Consortium for Women and Research. During this time, she co-founded the Davis Feminist Film Festival that continues to be organized annually through the Women’s Resources and Research Center. This festival was started as a fundraiser for GGI’s international internship program through which she mentored students to develop their own projects to complement the work of non-profit organizations in Romania, China, India and Mexico. She assisted in the development and coordination of a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program in Gender and Global Issues that offered continuing education through UCD Extension. With funding from the National Science Foundation and later as a U.S. Fulbright Junior Scholar to Romania, she conducted research that culminated in her dissertation: ‘On the Margins of the European Union: A feminist geography of changing livelihood strategies in Romania’s Western Borderlands, 1999-2005’.
Experience abroad USA, Romania, Serbia, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, and Thailand
Research As a human geographer, and more specifically a feminist geographer, focused on gender, livelihoods, and agriculture, Margareta Lelea engages in action research methodologies as part of a transdisciplinary approach to cultivate increased collaboration between diverse stakeholders whose activities make up food chains; from growing food to eating food. She seeks to democratize knowledge production through the facilitation of participative processes focused on learning that allow context-specific social innovations to emerge. She focuses on issues of inclusion and exclusion and how to leverage cooperation to create more ecologically-oriented and socially equitable agriculture and food systems.
Current Research Projects “Social Sciences: Knowledge, collaborative learning and action” within the GlobE project ReLOAD: Reduction of Post Harvest Losses and Value Addition in East African Food Value Chains - funded by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) in cooperation with the Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit (BMZ).

“Development of innovative capacity building strategies to support women’s group processing businesses” within the project, “Decentralized postharvest processing of underutilized species into innovative value added products for improved food and nutrition security in West Africa” – funded by the Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung (BLE).

“Empowering Jua Kali to combat mycotoxins in Kenya’s maize supplies: A participatory design approach with transdisciplinary knowledge integration” – funded by the Volkswagen Foundation’s Postdoctoral fellowships on Livelihood Management, Reforms and Processes of Structural Change.
Teaching At DITSL, Margareta Lelea co-supervises MSc and PhD students. At Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, she taught ‘Introduction to Human Geography’, ‘Political Geography’, ‘Cultural Geography’, ‘Europe in an Era of Globalization’ and ‘Gender and Geography’. At California State University, Chico, she taught ‘Introduction to Women and Gender Studies’ and at West University, Timisoara she co-taught the first ‘Gender and Geography’ course ever offered in Romania and assisted with Rural Geography.