John Friedman

Advisory Council Member
Throughout the past three decades, John Friedman has built a career that bridges anthropology, development and social entrepreneurialism, mostly with a geographical focus in Africa.

He is a Professor in Socio-cultural Anthropology and Development at University College Roosevelt,Utrecht University in The Netherlands where he also directs its Social Impact Lab. Previously, John has worked for Cambridge University, the United States Peace Corps, Oxfam Canada, the UN Population Fund, and the Government of the Republic of Namibia.
John’s interest in global eye health emerged during one of his early periods of long-term fieldwork in rural northwest Namibia, when his own severe myopia forced him to purvey a pair of new glasses from the nearest optician…. 500 kms away! That experience inspired him to reach beyond his anthropological teaching, research and academic writing.He went on to found Adaptive Eyeworks, a Belgium-based social enterprise that develops innovative solutions to address uncorrected refractive error, as well as Foundation Beautiful Vision International, a non-profit charity that assists with the delivery eye glasses to those in need. He is also a co-founder
of Dialvision LLC (USA), and has served as an advisor to the Focus on Vision Foundation (The Netherlands), Eyes for the World (Belgium), and Veritas Vision(Nigeria).
John holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan (USA), and Master’s and PhD degrees from Cambridge University (UK).