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Professor John M. Bryden, PhD., BSc (Hons) Pol. Econ., RSA

John Bryden read Political Economy (University of Glasgow), Tropical Agricultural Economics (University of the West Indies), and Development Economics (University of East Anglia, PhD). His first academic post was with the Overseas Development Group at the University of East Anglia, where he was a founder member of the School of Development Studies. Between 1965 and 1970 he worked as a post graduate student and then as regional development advisor in the small islands of the Commonwealth Caribbean. His PhD, was published by Cambridge University Press in 1973 and analysed the economic and social impacts of tourism in the commonwealth Caribbean. In 1980 he was part of an Institute of Development Studies (Sussex) mission to the Seychelles working on employment issues, and with specific responsibilities for tourism and the small islands. He was Head of the Land Development Division of the Highlands and Islands Development Board between 1972 and 1979. From 1980-2008 he directed the Arkleton Trust, establishing and running its subsidiaries, the Arkleton Trust (Research) Lts and The Arkleton Trust (Rurtel) Ltd until moving to the University of Aberdeen to take up the Chair of Human Geography and establish and co-Direct the Arkleton Centre for Rural Development Research in 1995. He is currently Research Professor with the Norwegian Agricultural Economics Research Institute (NILF) in Oslo, and President of the International Rural Network. He is Emeritus Professor at the University of Aberdeen. John has been an advisor on rural policy to the OECD, the EU, the World Bank and the Scottish government, as well as Secretary of the Cross Party group on Rural Policy in the Scottish Parliament from 2005-2008. He was a founding member of the International Comparative Rural Policy Studies Consortium. He was the external advisor to the Ministerial Committee on Scottish Land Reform 1997-99, and a member of the Scottish Land Fund Committee established to assist community acquisition of land in Scotland. He has coordinated six EU-funded trans-national research projects on rural development issues. John has been a visiting scholar at the University of Guelph, Canada; the University of Missouri-Columbia; Cornell University, and the Centre for Development Studies in Kerala, India. He has been a keynote speaker or panellist at the major EU rural policy conferences including Inverness (1991), Cork (1996), and Salzburg (2003), as well as many OECD territorial rural policy conferences, and other conferences in Europe, Canada, USA, South America, India, Japan and Australia. John has published widely in several languages. He is currently on the expert group for the OECD participatory research project on ‘Renewable Energy as a Regional Development Policy for Rural Regions’. John has published several books and articles on sustainable rural communities and regions since 1994 (see publications).

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  3. Today I had an email about buying land in Africa, the Amazon etc, promising returns of 16% a year. It makes my blood boil! People should not allow their land (or other resources) to be sold to foreigners however much it is dressed up as ‘sustainability’, ‘agricultural development’ etc. The freedom of movement of capital has been and remains a curse on the world since liberalisation of the late 1970s and 80s, and the pressure on countries to open their land and mineral resources to outside investors is a disgrace! It shows (yet again) that the lessons of history are never learned, and all the work done on the damage wrecked on innocent people by smart international operators is buried in the flood of greed. You can find out more (from the people that sent me the email today) at

    Please protest!

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