Coordination Team

Coordination Team      |       Editorial Board      |    CUREDI Database 

Katia Bianchini
Katia Bianchini is a Research Fellow of the Law and Anthropology Department of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle. She holds a law degree from the University of Pavia (Italy), an LL.M. in Comparative Laws from the University of San Diego (California, USA), and a Ph.D. in Law from the University of York (UK). Her doctoral thesis provided an empirical and legal analysis of how the 1954 UN Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons is implemented in ten EU states. She has also worked as a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity (Göttingen). Before engaging in research, she practised immigration and refugee law for ten years in the UK and the USA.

Bianchini has published in the field of refugee law and statelessness. Her current research builds on her expertise in refugee law, statelessness and human rights.

Jonathan Bernaerts
Jonathan Bernaerts holds BAs in Philosophy and Law from the University of Antwerp (Belgium), and obtained MA degrees in International Law from the University of Antwerp and Comparative International Law from the University of Toulouse Capitole 1 (France). He was awarded the European Master Degree in Human Rights and Democratization by the European Inter University Centre in Venice (Italy), for which he spent a semester at the University of Vienna (Austria). In his master’s thesis, The Cologne Judgment: A Curiosity or the Start Sign for Condemning Circumcision of Male Children Without Their Consent as a Human Rights Violation?, he analysed the practice of infant male circumcision from both medical and legal angles. He held positions at UNICEF Belgium, the Thailand Institute of Justice and also served as a member of the EU Delegation at the Council of Europe.

Jonathan’s doctoral research, Linguistic Diversity and administrative Interactions in Belgium and Germany: a legal and empirical Analysis, conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, dealt with the interaction between public authorities and non-majoritarian language speakers, a topic that is particularly relevant in these times of increasing linguistic diversity throughout Europe. The research provided an insider’s perspective – from the point of view of both non-majoritarian language speakers and public authorities – on how the legal system is dealing with linguistic diversity in administrative settings. He obtained a Joint PhD from the University of Antwerp and the Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg for this research in 2020.

Currently, Jonathan is a postdoctoral researcher at the Leuven Centre for Public Law (KU Leuven) and a research partner of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Department ‘Law and Anthropology’. He is also a member of the CUREDI coordination team.

Marie-Claire Foblets
Marie-Claire Foblets is Director at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, where she was Managing Director from July 2015 to January 2021. She is head of the Department of Law & Anthropology, which she founded in 2012. She is also Professor of Law at the Catholic University of Leuven (KUL) and an honorary professor at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and the University of Leipzig. She has been teaching law and social and cultural anthropology at the universities of Antwerp and Brussels for over twenty years.

Before becoming a member of the Max Planck Society in March 2012, she was a full-time professor at KUL, where she was head of the Institute for Migration Law and Legal Anthropology. She is a member of many academic networks that focus on research on the application of Islamic law in Europe and on law and migration in Europe, including the Association française d'anthropologie du droit (AFAD), of which she was co-president for several years. In 2001, Professor Foblets was elected to the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts (KVAB). In 2004, she received the Francqui Prize, the most prestigious academic award in the humanities in Belgium. In 2016 she received an honorary doctorate from the Law Faculty at the Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis, Brussels, Belgium, and in 2019 from the Law Faculty at the University of Uppsala, Sweden. She became a full member of the Saxon Academy of Sciences and Humanities (Philological-Historical Class) in February 2015.

Christoph Korb
Christoph Korb is a political scientist specialised on methods of quantitatve social reasearch and database developer at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology.
Adriaan Overbeeke
Adriaan Overbeeke holds a BA degree in Political & Social Sciences from the University of Antwerp (Belgium), and received a MA degree in Political Sciences from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, a MA decree in Law and a PhD degree in Law both from the University of Antwerp (Belgium). In his  PhD thesis, ’The state and the human rights position of religious and life stance communities: the protection of corporate aspects of religious freedom in the Belgian Constitution, in the context of international treaties' (thesis supervisor Prof. Dr. Jan Velaers) he researched the evolving legal status of religious (minority) groups in the context of Belgian constitutional law.

Currently he is a Researcher at the Faculty of Law of both the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the University of Antwerp and a member of the Board of the Institute for Jewish Studies (University of Antwerp).

Overbeeke’s current research deals with the collective aspects of the human rights protection of religious diversity throughout Europe, also in a historical perspective. For CUREDI he acts as a reviewer and is a member of the  coordination team and the editorial board.

Eugenia Relaño Pastor
Prior to joining the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Eugenia Relaño Pastor was a legal adviser for the Spanish Ombudsman in the Department of Migration and Equal Treatment between 2004-2017. She investigated complaints concerning violations of fundamental rights and monitored public authorities and public policies regarding immigration and equality matters by delivering effective resolutions. She worked as legal trainer in a number of short-term legal training missions at several National Human Rights Institutions in Kazakhstan, Armenia, Macedonia and Turkey. She is also a trained legal practitioner on human rights and diversity.

From November 2017 to April 2021 she was scientific coordinator in the first stages of the CUREDI project as a senior researcher at the ‘Law and Anthropology’ Department. She stays connected to the project as a member of both the coordination team and the editorial team.  

Relaño Pastor holds a Doctorate in Law from the University of Granada. Her doctoral dissertation (2001) is entitled ‘The protection of religious minorities in multicultural societies: Canada, USA, Spain and international human rights law’. She also holds bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and in Sociology. She is an Assistant Professor at the Complutense University (Madrid) and was granted a tenure in 2006. She taught at the Faculty of Anthropology, Complutense University and at the Law Faculties of the Granada University and the Almeria University.  She was a Fulbright Fellow in the Salzburg Seminar in 2001 and was a visiting scholar at several universities, including the University of Ottawa (1998), the University of California at Berkeley (1999), the Institute of Human Rights in Oslo (2000), the Law School at Harvard University (2001), the Institute of Comparative and European Law at the University of Oxford (2002), and the Robbins Collection at the University of California at Berkeley (2004). She was a member of the Advisory Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion and Belief, ODIHR-OSCE (2005–2012). She was appointed as a member of the Management Board of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) by Spain for a five years mandate (2020-2025).

Her research expertise includes international religious freedom, comparative law, equality and non-discrimination, religious and national minorities, xenophobia, multiculturalism, and immigration. She has extensively published on those matters. Some of her latest publications are ‘When Religious Discrimination Is Not Related to Religion or Belief’, International Labor Rights Case Law, vol. 5, issue 3 (2019) 325-329 and ‘Christian Faith-based organizations as a Third-party Intervener at the European Court of Human Rights’, Brigham Young University Law Review, vol. 46:5 (2021).

Jinske Verhellen
Jinske Verhellen studied Law and Anthropology. She has always combined these two disciplines in her work, both in academia and in practice (as an attorney, as a staff member of the Ghent City contact point for discrimination reports, etc.). In 2006, Jinske Verhellen had the unique opportunity to help establish the Private International Law Centre in Brussels (now part of the Agentschap Integratie en Inburgering), which gives advice and does policy work in the field of private international law in family matters. In January 2009, she returned to Ghent University, where in 2012 she obtained her doctoral degree on 'The Belgian Code of Private International Law in family matters' (financed by the Research Foundation - Flanders). Since 2014, she is Professor of Law at Ghent University, lecturing private international law, international family law and notarial private international law.

Jinske Verhellen is a member of the Ghent University Interfaculty Research Group CESSMIR (Centre for the Social Study of Migration and Refugees) and the Ghent University Human Rights Network. Since 2015, she is the President of the Diversity Commission of the Ghent Faculty of Law and Criminology and in 2020 she was asked to chair the Anti-discrimination Commission of the Ghent University.

For the CUREDI project Jinske Verhellen serves in the coordination team, the editorial board and acts as reviewer.

Jinske Verhellen has published on various aspects of private international law, international family law, migration law and nationality law (full publication list can be found here). She is currently Chief Editor of the Belgian Private International Law Journal ( / and a member of several editorial boards.

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