From mid-2011 until 31 December 2020, Willem Vogelsang was the institute manager and Deputy Director of the International Institute for Asian Studies, the Netherlands.

Willem studied ancient Indian and Iranian Languages and Cultures at Leiden University. He obtained his PhD degree at Groningen University, the Netherlands, on the subject of ancient Afghanistan and Eastern Iran in the mid-first millennium BC, following extensive periods of archaeological fieldwork in Afghanistan, Iran and Syria, and graduate research in Cambridge, UK, and Gent in Belgium. Until 2002, he was the Executive Secretary of the Centre for Non-Western Studies (CNWS) of Leiden University. Between 2002 and 2008 he was curator for Central and Southwest Asia at the National Museum of Ethnology, Leiden. During this period he periodically worked in Afghanistan as an officer in the Dutch armed forces, advising on civil-military cooperation. In a civilian capacity, he also advised on the re-establishment of the National Museum in Kabul. From 2008 until early 2011 he was the cultural and regional advisor to the Task Force Uruzgan in southern Afghanistan, on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

He has published extensively on the ancient history and culture of Afghanistan and beyond, and on modern military and political developments in this region. Major contributions are The Afghans (London 2001 and 2008); Covering the Moon (together with Dr Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood); An Introduction to Middle Eastern Face Veils

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