Diplomat Magazine Netherlands Fall-Winter 2018

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Barend ter Haar


Alexander Shulgin, Ambassador of the Russian Federation


Martin Wyss, Chief of Mission , IOM


Sidiki Kaba, Président de l’Assemblée des Etats Parties CPI

by and for diplomats - the first diplomatic magazine in The Netherlands’ history diplomatmagazine.nl


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By diplomats for Diplomats Year 4, No 2, November 2017 ISSN: 2468-3469


H.E. Carlos Jose Arguello, Ambassador of Nicaragua, Dean of the Diplomatic corps H.E. Roberto Canzadilla, Ambassador of Bolivia, vice-Dean of the Diplomatic corps H.E. James Lambert, Ambassador of Canada H.E. Huynh Minh Chinh, Ambassador of Vietnam H.E. Martin Valentino, Ambassador of Malta H.E. Yasumasa Nagamine, Ambassador of Japan Dr. Eugenio Matos, Chargé d’affaires a.i. Embassy of Dominican Republic


Dr. Mayelinne De Lara Roy Lie A Tjam



Anna Maria Mistretta, Embassy of Italy


Eugene Matos De Lara, University of Ottawa


Duke Michael of Mecklenburg, University of Leiden


Henry Arvidsson Hester Dijkstra Marian van Noort Roy Strik

Kim Vermaat Robert Huiberts

Photo on the cover: International Criminal Court ICC

GRAPHIC DESIGN Studio Kliek PRINTING Gianotten Printed Media Stichting Diplomat Magazine is a non-profit Dutch foundation. It is the first diplomatic magazine in the Netherlands’ history, published by and for diplomats in collaboration with experts in international relations and diplomacy, the academia and dedicated volunteers from the Netherlands and overseas. A broader selection of articles and contributions can be found in our free online version at: www.diplomatmagazine.nl The editors do their best to ensure the accuracy of all information in this magazine. However, mistakes and omissions are, regrettably, possible. No rights may therefore be derived from the material published. All rights reserved. Nothing in this edition may be reproduced, stored in an automated database, or made public, in any form or by any means, whether electronic, mechanical, by photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of the publisher.


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Diplomat Magazine, the first diplomatic magazine in the Netherlands, is more active than ever. One need only look back at our recent successes, including the innumerable events organised by the magazine in the last five months, the special 10th Anniversary issue for the embassy of Rwanda, the development of the magazine into a leading online publication with hundreds of thousands of readers, and now this special printed edition.


nside the microcosm of The Hague, the picture of the world is composed of unique elements. In terms of international politics The Hague is different; here diplomats live in an exceptional territory, meeting regularly in order to find agreements, support, alliances and information. The diplomatic scene is so alive here that it becomes possible to see the world as a place of hope for the future. That is the magic of The Hague, and that’s why we are always busy looking for the best angle to show our readers the diversity and the intensity of diplomatic life. Diplomat Magazine became global after passing all of its articles to the Dow Jones / Factiva platform where more than 1.3 million subscribers have access to the unique compendium of texts produced by ambassadors, ministers, diplomats, heads of international organisations and academics from the Benelux and around the world. We are also traveling to capture events and places globally; recently invited to Kazakhstan, Thailand and Uzbekistan, we share here with you our impressions of the Astana Expo, the Health and Wellness Showcase in Thailand and the Festival Taurami in Marken.

of Mecklenburg, Junior Publiser and leader of our Junior Team, finished his Master of International Relations programme at Leiden University, Barend ter Haar is asking which countries are powerful? and Mirko Zambeti talk about new Swiss technologies. The role of the spouse is analysed by Linda Zin of Malaysia, and the new President of Eurojust Ladislav Hamran takes office at the same time as Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his new cabinet which includes an appointment of special importance to all of us, the appointment of H.E. Halbe Zijlstra as the new Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs. We take this occasion to specially congratulate H.E. Fernando Arias, ambassador of Spain who has been elected as the new OPCW Director-General. Thanks to the Diplomatic team for all of their unconditional support and hard work as always.

Dr Mayelinne De Lara .

Publisher publisher@diplomatmagazine.nl

In this issue we have the privilege to publish the reflections of Sidiki Kaba, President of the Assembly of the State Parties for the International Criminal Court, on international justice and accountability, Dr Mary Aiken talks about cyberspace, Martin Wyss exposes the European migration dilemma, the Ambassador of Russia communicates his pride at his country’s completion of their chemical disarmament program in association with the OPCW, while women Ambassadors in The Hague are discussing global security with the Dutch Ambassador to the UN. A dear friend is leaving The Hague soon; more than 50 ambassadors came to say ‘au revoir’ to Abir Ali from Lebanon. Duke Michael For all the very latest diplomatic news, views, photos, events and more, just go to: diplomatmagazine.nl

Photography by Luis Ariel Gomez.




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MAIN ARTICLES S.E. M. Sidiki Kaba, Président de l’Assemblée des Etats Parties Dr Mary Aiken: The invironment of cyberspace

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DIPLOMAT VIP Halbe Zijlstra, The new Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. David Tawei Lee, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of China (Taiwan) H.E. Sheikh Nahayan bin Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Tolerance (United Arab Emirates) Mr Martin Wyss, Chief of Mission, IOM International Organization for Migration in the Netherlands Corneliu Pivariu Karsten Klein Prof. dr Willem van Genugten, Tilburg University H.E. Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, President of Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates H.E. Reema Carmona, spouse of H.E. Anthony T Carmona O.R.T.T, S.C. President of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago Ms Michèle Coninsx president of Eurojust

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DIPLOMAT Ambassadorial RUSSIA H.E. Alexander Shulgin ITALY H.E. Andrea Perugini MEXICO Edgar Elias Azar EL SALVADOR H.E. Mr Agustín Vásquez Gómez FINLAND H.E. Mrs. Katri Viinikkar NEW ZEALAND H.E. Lyndal Walker TANZANIA H.E. Ms Irene Florence M. Kasyanju LITHUANIA H.E. Mr Vidmantas Purlys DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE #7

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DIPLOMAT POUCH Barend ter Haar Mirko Zambelli Mr. Andrei Prokopchuk Jhr. Alexander W. Beelaerts van Blokland LL.M Jan Dop Anis Bajrektarevic and Giuliano Luongo Esther Boers Scott Martin and Wayne Jordash Supriya Vani

Ceremony of merit LEBANON Ms Abir Ali



Fahrelnissa Zeid at Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle “Life? or Theatre? A Musical Play” Yves-Saint Laurent Museum opens in Marrakech Review Atsana Expo 2017 Uzbekistan XI Sharq Taronalari Festival Amazing Thailand Health & Wellness Showcase 2017


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SIDIKI KABA LA JUSTICE INTERNATIONALE ET LA LUTTE CONTRE L’IMPUNITÉ Conversation avec S.E. M. Sidiki Kaba, Président de l’Assemblée des Etats Parties Par Diplomat Magazine. Photographie: CPI.

S.E. M. Sidiki Kaba est élu Président de l’Assemblée des Etats Parties de la Cour pénale internationale en décembre 2014. Garde des Sceaux et ministre de la Justice du Sénégal depuis 2013, il est nommé Ministre des Affaires Etrangères et des Sénégalais de l’extérieur en 2017.



Au cours de mon mandat, je me suis attaché à promouvoir le raffermissement de la relation entre la Cour pénale internationale et l’Afrique ainsi que la complémentarité. Je me suis efforcé d’encourager un dialogue franc et constructif entre les Etats africains ayant des griefs envers la Cour et l’Assemblée des Etats Parties de la CPI. Il était nécessaire de répondre aux sources du malaise qui existe entre la Cour et certains Etats africains qui l’accusent de néocolonialisme. À ce propos, je me réjouis que l’Afrique du Sud et la Gambie aient renoncé à se retirer du Statut de Rome, le traité de la Cour, et aient réaffirmé leur attachement à la CPI. Toutefois, nous devons poursuivre le dialogue pour raffermir davantage les rapports entre la Cour et ses Etats Parties en général.

diplomatmagazine S’agissant de la complémentarité, je me suis engagé à promouvoir ce principe essentiel auprès de tous les Etats, qu’ils soient Parties ou non au Statut de Rome. En effet, la complémentarité doit être l’épine dorsale de la lutte contre l’impunité car la justice pénale internationale ne prime pas sur le droit national mais complète ses faiblesses lorsque les systèmes judiciaires nationaux ne disposent pas des capacités nécessaires ou n’ont pas la volonté pour juger ces crimes de masse. La CPI apparaît donc comme un recours contre l’Etat qui faillirait à ses obligations internationales et il est donc souhaitable et avantageux que les Etats remplissent leurs obligations parce que la répression nationale est la règle, la répression internationale l’exception.


Alors que la Cour atteint l’âge de la maturité, 2018 marquera le 20e anniversaire de l’adoption du Statut de Rome. Elle doit maintenant asseoir son statut de juridiction indépendante et notamment répondre à deux grands défis : la coopération et l’accusation de politisation. La coopération des Etats Parties est primordiale alors que la Cour ne dispose pas de force de police. Sans coopération, la Cour ne peut s’acquitter pleinement de son mandat de rendre justice aux victimes et de mettre fin à l’impunité pour les crimes graves qui choquent la conscience humaine. Quant à la perception d’une institution politisée, il faut y répondre. Certes, comme toute œuvre humaine, la CPI n’est pas parfaite mais une imperfection juridique reste toutefois préférable à un vide juridique, d’où la nécessité et la pertinence incontestable de cette institution pour répondre à l’exigence de justice et de réparation des torts subis par les millions de victimes d’atrocités.

Le dialogue avec les Etats asiatiques, continent le moins représenté au sein de l’Assemblée, doit aussi se poursuivre avec l’appui de la société civile afin de promouvoir les valeurs et principes du Statut de Rome qui sont au service des victimes.


La participation des victimes est primordiale dans la justice pénale internationale car il ne peut y avoir de paix sans justice. La question de l’aide et de la protection des victimes nécessite à cet égard une attention toute particulière et appelle un engagement politique, l’implication de tous les acteurs concernés au niveau national, régional et international mais aussi des organisations de la société civile et les organisations de victimes, une formation des acteurs de la justice mais une cohérence dans l’action. Les communautés fracturées par les conflits ne peuvent pas se reconstruire si les victimes ne sont pas entendues lors des audiences. La Cour pénale internationale est la première juridiction pénale internationale à donner une voix aux victimes en permettant leur représentation lors des audiences et est également la première juridiction pénale internationale à accorder des réparations aux victimes. Ainsi, la Cour constitue une réponse à l’exigence de justice et de réparation pour les victimes des atrocités.

Avec Renan Villacis, Directeur du Secrétariat de l’Assemblée des États Parties.

C’est pour cela que la Cour, lorsqu’elle est saisie, doit aller au bout de sa mission qui est de rendre la justice, à l’abri des influences politiques, avec l’assurance de la coopération de tous les États Membres.


Ma conviction reste que la ratification universelle du Statut de Rome et son incorporation effective dans les systèmes internes, ainsi que la coopération des Etats parties et non parties, sont d’une importance capitale pour la lutte contre l’impunité. La promotion de l’universalité du Statut de Rome doit s’appuyer aussi bien sur les Etats Parties que sur les Etats non Parties mais aussi sur les organisations intergouvernementales, la société civile. Il est aussi aujourd’hui nécessaire d’atteindre la ratification universelle du Statut de Rome, de rendre la Cour compétente partout dans le monde afin de lutter efficacement et effectivement contre l’impunité des crimes graves relevant de sa compétence. Pour cela, la tenue régulière des réunions de coordination avec tous les acteurs et l’élaboration d’un plan et d’une stratégie d’action pour les prochaines années, impliquant tous les Etats, tous les acteurs y compris les ONG et la société civile aux séquences d’exécution de ce plan est une nécessité.




The Environment of Cyberspace


Dr Mary Aiken is an Adjunct Associate Professor at University College Dublin, Geary Institute for Public Policy, and Academic Advisor (Psychology) to the European Cyber Crime Centre (EC3) at Europol. She is a lecturer in Criminology and Research Fellow at the School of Law, Middlesex University, a Fellow of the Society for Chartered IT Professionals, a Sensemaking Fellow at the IBM Network Science Research Centre, and has served as a Distinguished Professor of the Practice of Cyber Analytics at AIRS. She is a member of the Hague Justice Portal advisory board and Director of the Cyberpsychology Research Network.

The EU conceptualises the Internet as an ‘infrastructure‘ - similar to motorways and railroads – the Net may be many things, but it is not simply an infrastructure. The unprecedented connectedness offered by the Internet means that it has the ability to have a pervasive and profound impact on humankind - on the individual, and on the group. Therefore, there is an urgent need for a new cyber behavioural scientific approach, in terms of timely research, analysis and insights regarding human behaviour mediated by ever evolving technologies. When it comes to the Internet, and specifically problematic behaviour online – we need academic first responders.


By Dr Mary Aiken. Photography: CBS Broadcasting Inc.

Cyberpsychologists argue that human behaviour can fundamentally change online. Powerful drivers such as (perceived) anonymity, escalation, online disinhibition, and psychological immersion, along with minimisation of authority online dictate that people can act very differently in cyber contexts.

Criminal Court over international crimes committed through the Internet. Importantly, does the Rome Statute need to be amended to criminalise crimes against humanity or acts of aggression in cyberspace? Governments and their police forces worldwide must decide where they sit on the spectrum of total order, to total disorder – unfortunately in cyberspace we are moving towards disorder. The recognition of cyberspace as an environment delivers a great opportunity to draw on the learnings of the global environmental movement – what happens in cyberspace impacts on the so-called ‘real world’ and vice versa, we should therefore be

“It is important to remember that technology is not good or bad, it is either used well or poorly by humans.” In 2016 NATO declared that cyberspace was a ‘domain of operations’ – acknowledging that the wars of the future will be fought not only on land, sea and air but also on computer networks. People like me have been talking about cyberspace for over a decade, but this declaration is a paradigm shift in terms of an official acknowledgement that ‘cyber’ is actually a place, an environment. Arguably the NATO statement has significant implications in terms of governance in cyberspace, opening up a number of important policy debates, for example; the question of territorial jurisdiction of the International


AI offers incredible potential across the cyber environment, many of the social and criminal problems that we experience in cyber contexts are in fact high volume ‘big data’ type problems, for example cyberbullying, trolling, online harassment, fraud and extortion. If we could develop machine intelligence solutions to technology facilitated problem behaviours, then I firmly believe we could create a better cyber society for all, and most importantly for those who are vulnerable, such as children. I am absolutely pro technology – I could not do my job as a cyberpsychologist without spending most of my time online – I firmly believe that in time we will develop a range of technological solutions to technology facilitated problem behaviours in cyberspace. It is important to remember that technology is not good or bad, it is either used well or poorly by humans. Dr Mary Aiken; Academic Advisor Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre and Advisory Board member of The Hague Justice Portal, and the Peace, Justice and Security Foundation.

very protective of this new cyber environment. The “precautionary principle” has been used to great effect in the environmental movement, placing the onus on companies to prove that their products are doing no harm. Therefore, from an ethical perspective if we apply the precautionary principle to cyberspace, then the onus will be on industry to prove that their digital products do no harm. We are all familiar with the benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), there is a now an exciting opportunity for organisations to practice Cyber CSR.



Halbe Zijlstra the new Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs By Anton Lutter. Photography:VVD.

After 208 days of negotiating, being the longest period creating a new government program after the march 15 parliamentary elections, a cabinet has been formed by the VVD, CDA, D’66 and CU political parties under the slogan “Trust in the future”, with Mark Rutte as third time prime minister.

For the readers of Diplomat Magazine the new Minister of Foreign Affairs will surely be of prime interest, although every ministry has an international office within its walls. Even for political insiders the choice of Mr. Halbe Zijlstra as Minister of Foreign Affairs has been a suprise. Known as a person who loves straight talk and a confirmed political pragmatist, his heading this most important department will be closely watched with great interest. Mr. Halbe Zijlstra, the son of a police detective, was born january 21, 1969 in Oosterwolde from the northern province of Friesland. He studied sociology at the University of Groningen earning a masters degree in 1996. Working for Royal Dutch Shell he visited countries like Greece, Italy, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela and Nigeria. His membership of the VVD stems from 1994 entering public office 4 years after. From 1998 to 2001 he was a member of city council of Utrecht and again from 2003 to 2006, when he became a candidate in the parliamentary elections. Elected in 2006 he became his parties spokesman on care, energy, sports, higher education and sciences and


biotechnology. In october 2010 be was chosen to be the underminister (staatssecretaris) for Education, Culture and Science in the Rutte Cabinet I, he served in this post until 5 november 2012. As underminister he was known for initiating budget cuts in the cultural sector, which bolstered his image as person who’s not afraid to take unpopular measures. Before as a member of parliament he also introduced a bill to counter football hooliganism. He returned to parliament (Tweede Kamer) in 2012 after a no-confidence motion ended the Rutte Cabinet I. As Mr. Mark Rutte became prime-minister for the second time, Zijlstra became the chair of the VVD parliamentary group thereby leading the most important government party in parliament. After being reelected in the 2017 parliamentary elections Zijlstra indicated his interest in a ministerial post, resulting in “Foreign Affairs”. He’s married, having one son. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also houses the office of the minister without potfolio for Development Cooperation. For this position D’66 member Mrs. Sigrid Kaag has been chosen. A career diplomat Mrs. Kaag, born in 1961, holds the post of United

Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL) since january 2015. She has been working in a variety of positions both for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Royal Dutch Shell and the United Nations. She has earned a masters of philosophy degree in international relations from the University of Exeter and a masters degree in international relations from the University of Oxford. Mrs. Kaag is married with Mr. Anis al Aq former Palestinian representative to Switzerland, having with him 4 children. She enters the cabinet as one of the 10 female government (under) ministers.



Taiwan: a Valuable Partner for UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), True Universality By Dr. David Tawei Lee, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of China (Taiwan). Photography: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of China (Taiwan).

New York is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. As with visitors from other countries, those from Taiwan love to experience first-hand the city’s famous attractions—the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, and, of course, the very nerve center of global affairs: the Headquarters of the United Nations. These landmarks—the latter in particular—are symbols of equality, diversity and freedom. Regrettably, the brilliant luster of these ideals has become tarnished of late as more and more visitors from Taiwan find themselves being turned away from the UN grounds, discriminated against simply because of their country of origin.

The UN is about people, yet the universality of human rights that the UN proclaims does not extend to Taiwan and its 23 million people. This mistreatment dates back to 1971, when our government lost its representation in the organization—and in the intervening decades, Taiwan has met with challenges and isolation with respect to its international situation. Nevertheless, this adversity has propelled us forward and we have never retreated, for we believe very strongly that those who follow the path of virtue can never truly be alone. While traveling the world to carry out my duties as minister of foreign affairs, I have always marveled at how Taiwan’s experience in such areas as environmental protection, public health and medicine, agriculture, education and ICT has helped our partners develop and grow. We are committed to continuing our interaction and cooperation with our friends and partners, and to maintaining global peace, security and prosperity through mutually beneficial collaboration.


Despite Taiwan’s efforts and the recognition they have earned, despite the need for universality, and despite the repeated pledge to leave no one behind, the UN seems content to leave the 23 million people of Taiwan behind. In May of this year, Taiwan was refused attendance at the 70th WHA, despite having participated as an observer over the previous eight consecutive years. Rejecting Taiwan—which has invested over US$6 billion in international medical and humanitarian aid efforts since 1996, benefiting millions of people worldwide—runs counter to common sense, and creates a blind spot in the World Health Organization’s operations, just like the one that cost lives during the 2003 SARS epidemic.

“As we embark on this great collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind” Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

This unjust treatment, however, has not and will never deter Taiwan from carrying out its duties both to its people and to the international community. As the world’s 18th largest trading and 11th freest economy, Taiwan has brought its laws and regulations into line with the UN’s human rights conventions, and in terms of living up to democratic values, Taiwan has worked as hard as any country—and perhaps harder than most—to advance equality. The Taiwanese people elected their country’s first female president in 2016, and 38 percent of their lawmakers are women. Taiwan is also home to a vibrant civil society whose civic organizations constantly reach out to the world. And whenever disasters strike, rescue workers from Taiwan’s nongovernmental organizations are right there on the ground, providing assistance, with their devotion and professionalism clear for all to see.


“We are committed to continuing our interaction and cooperation with our friends and partners, and to maintaining global peace, security and prosperity through mutually beneficial collaboration.”

Taiwan is currently working on its first Voluntary National Review, which will document many of its concrete achievements regarding the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In terms of public health and medicine, for example, in recent years Taiwan has worked alongside a host of other countries to fight such infectious diseases as MERS, Ebola and Zika. Taiwan has also been promoting a green economy and green energy, aiming to raise the proportion of renewable energy generated for the country’s power supply to 20 percent—five times the current level—by 2025, while also aiming to lower carbon emissions to at least 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. Holders of ROC passports enjoy visa-free travel or other forms of travel convenience to 165 countries and territories, which speaks to the respect that Taiwan’s tourists, businesspeople and academics have earned worldwide. Yet, they are unable to take even a single step inside the Headquarters of the UN.

For years, representatives from Taiwan’s many nongovernmental organizations involved in indigenous, labor, environmental and women’s rights have been barred from attending meetings and conferences held at the UN’s New York headquarters and at the Palais des Nations in Geneva simply because they hail from Taiwan. Similarly, to the outrage of the international press community, Taiwanese journalists are not allowed to cover UN meetings in person. These discriminatory measures put in place by UN bureaucrats—targeted specifically against the people of Taiwan—are inappropriately justified by the invocation and misuse of 1971’s General Assembly Resolution 2758 (XXVI). It is important to remember that, while it seated the People’s Republic of China in the UN, this resolution did not address the issue of representation of Taiwan and its people in the organization; much less did it give the PRC the right to represent the people of Taiwan.

It is important to stress the political reality here, which is that the PRC does not now, nor has it ever, held jurisdiction over Taiwan. Indeed, as evidenced by the aforementioned ban on Taiwanese inside the UN headquarters, the PRC exerts far more influence on the UN than it does on Taiwan. The preamble of the UN Charter speaks powerfully of the organization’s mission to “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.” The government and people of Taiwan strongly believe that their involvement, especially when the UN is calling for the universal implementation of the SDGs, would be to the benefit of all. The absence of Taiwan, on the other hand, will only continue to cripple the effectiveness of this global effort. Taiwan can do much to help the world build a more sustainable future. The people of Taiwan need the international community to support our aspirations and our right to fair treatment by the UN. At the very least, stop turning us away at the door.

“Despite Taiwan’s efforts and the recognition they have earned, despite the need for universality, and despite the repeated pledge to leave no one behind, the UN seems content to leave the 23 million people of Taiwan behind.”




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diplomatVIP By H.E. Sheikh Nahayan bin Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Tolerance (United Arab Emirates). Photography:Government of the UAE.

The Ministry of Tolerance was initiated merely in the year 2016 yet its roots go back generations, in an effort to continue the support and celebration of our diverse country. In a time of on-going political tensions, regionally and globally, it is imperative that we encourage individuals in the UAE and from across the world to respect one another. To be able to look beyond our differences, in order to emphasise the common traits of humanity that we all share. We aim at guiding our nation forward through education, knowledge, new technologies, and openness for the world. Already in the times before the federation, the then sheikhdoms were at the crossroads between Europe, Africa and Asia. Nowadays we remain thus and much more, as our population is a melting pot that by far supersedes multiculturalism in any Western capital. We manage to succeed, not simply get along, by our innate make-up for tolerance towards others.

Tolerance, an intricate Emirati value Over the last two decades the UAE has been one of the most socially progressive nations in the Gulf region; we have strived to attract talent from across the globe to collectively work with our citizens to improve the lives of Emiratis and foreigners alike. For our focus is not only on ourselves, as our country has significantly increased its share of humanitarian and development aid to other nations. At home, we endeavour to ensure high-quality lives for expatriates in the UAE, that they feel at home as our guests. We live in a world made up of many different cultures and opinions, if we are to proactively collaborate and solve problems regionally and globally, we must always aspire to better


understand each other’s perspectives. For, if we better understand each other, we can work more effectively as a whole. Through technology and connectivity, the youth of our nation and the world are now more connected than ever before. Having access to information and knowledge instantly through social networks is a first in the history of humankind. Naturally we understand the advantages; however, we must likewise face the challenges linked to these possibilities. For misinformation is also more easily spread than ever before, our liberalised societies must be able to tackle this challenge in order to maintain social order as well as an atmosphere of tolerance and unity.

As our dear founding father, the late President, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, once uttered “To treat every person, no matter what his creed or race, as a special soul, is a mark of Islam�. The UAE shall remain a dynamic and forward-thinking country. Not least, for we are the first country in setting up a ministry dedicated exclusively to artificial intelligence. It is the customary kind-nature of Emiratis, the fact that we accept and respect people from all over the world, which is indeed one of the fundamental pillars to our success.



Although Mobility Migration Dilemmas is the New Normal, Continue to Divide Us By Mr Martin Wyss, Chief of Mission, IOM International Organization for Migration in the Netherlands. Photography: Barbara Salewski-Ratering.

The Secretary General of the United Nations in a recent speech mentioned that he was a migrant too, but not one who had to resort to a leaky boat. He also said that safe migration must not be limited to the global elite (for the full text see his tweet below). All those millions travel with passports and where required with a visa. Identifying yourself when boarding a plane or arriving at a border is as normal as getting rid of one’s water bottle when passing security on the way to the gate.


Because we easily forget that these uninterrupted, global mass movements of people are all orderly and we accept them as completely normal as well as highly beneficial for all.

Tweet by The Secretary General of the United Nations António Guterres. With these truisms, he captured two coexisting, yet clashing migration realities on our planet. First, while the Secretary General certainly is part of the global elite, he is also part of an increasingly, mobile, global citizenry for which it is most natural to move safely and freely around the globe. He enjoys his freedom of movement together with millions of tourists, students, businesspersons, visiting family members and migrant workers (e.g. over 2 million Filipinos and 1 million Sri Lankans etc.).


But in fact it means that if you are rich enough you can travel or migrate wherever you want – regardless from where you are: the world is your oyster. This is maybe best illustrated by the residence permits offered in exchange for substantial investments or property purchases. There is also a rapidly growing, truly global labor and talent market with offers on the back pages of The Economist – for Professors, Senior Managers, Senior Accounts and IT Specialists etc. (see also www.crownworldmobility.com/ en-us/blank_page/perspectives---talentmobility--the-new-normal-download). Secondly, the Secretary General at least implicitly refers to the crass, global income disparities which prevent millions from enjoying the same rights, because even as a tourist you must have means to support yourself, and the need for a job alone or the ambition to have a better income remains unmatched by a right to a visa or a work permit for the vast majority living in poor countries.

Therefore, the strongest willed among those barred from access will have no choice but to board leaky boats at great costs and risks or to attempt to climb over fences in Ceuta and Melilla. This is the type of migration that remains unresolved, bitterly argued over and which in some cases divides electorates into new, more conservative and even xenophobic constellations. In this context, it is hoped that the Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular Migration, the first, inter-governmentally negotiated agreement to be prepared under the auspices of the United Nations, will vigorously table and address the conflict between the 99% of regular, global mobility and the small and so-far still ungoverned migration flows which lead to this important initiative http:// refugeesmigrants.un.org/declaration. Whenever the UN is committed to go forward as ONE, it can be difficult when many follow different and sometimes opposing views and interest. In spite of the UN’s ambition to put forth universal principles, the news we listen reflect that not all interpret or follow “universal principles” in the same manner.

“When discussing a potentially divisive issue such as migration - affecting many in different ways it is therefore not easy to find common ground.”

diplomatVIP When discussing a potentially divisive issue such as migration - affecting many in different ways - it is therefore not easy to find common ground.

But then there is no agreement on how to deal with those in breach of migration procedures. For some they are all victims, for others they are criminals.

But maybe we have just forgotten that the vast majority already accepts a few basic and important tenets:

One of the problems is that so far there have been no sufficient efforts to find an overarching common “language”, common ideas and values on whether migration is a right that should benefit all.

• Everybody knows that migration must be regulated (the question is how).

In practice, there is no agreement on whether the rights of states prevail over the rights of individuals or the other way around.

• There is full agreement that all countries have the right to have their own migration rules and visa requirements. • Many understand and agree that there should be more open channels and lower thresholds for regular migration. • And most agree that refugees and those forced to migrate have a right to international protection, and that effective protection of refugees can only be upheld with international solidarity, with a fair sharing of the “burden” – particularly with the countries in the vicinity of conflict zones which host most of the world’s refugees.


However, there may be reason for hope as there is no escaping from a smaller, more mobile, more interconnected world – in short: from more mobility and migration in all its forms. Therefore, it must become possible to balance the rights AND obligations of all migrants with the rights AND obligations of all states one day.

“...if you are rich enough you can travel or migrate wherever you want – regardless from where you are: the world is your oyster.”

It appears difficult, but if we take note how all nations are in full compliance with the very strict and mandatory rules which must prevail so that thousands of flights carrying billions of air travelers around the globe every year can take off in safety, it should be possible to find common rules in order to allow many more to travel and to migrate freely and safely. The sooner we face up to this difficult, unresolved, but burning challenge, the sooner we will reach a truly global language and understanding on migration which hopefully will be the basis of a new Global Migration Governance.



Macron, Merkel and the European Union

The European Union “...too weak, too slow, too inefficient” Emmanuel Macron - Sorbonne, 26th of September 2017

By Corneliu Pivariu. Photography: Cornel Vaida, copyright of INGEPO Consulting.

On 13th of September 2017, president Jean-Claude Junker had a new oratorical exercise when presenting in Brussels the annual speech on the State of the Union. On 24th of September, the parliamentarian elections that took place in Germany granted Chancellor Angela Merkel the possibility of getting a fourth mandate as head of government (32.9% of the votes - 246 seats in the parliament, a decrease of 8% as compared to the previous elections and the lowest score since the 1949 elections), but brought to the German parliament for the first time since the end of the war the extreme right – the Alternative for Germany (AfD) that got 12.6% of the votes - 94 seats in the parliament. On 26th of September, two days after the German elections, president Emmanuel Macron, who registered during his first months of mandate a dramatic fall in popularity, of over 20 points (the biggest of any French president at the beginning of the mandate), although in September he had a slight recovery, delivered a two hour speech at Sorbonne under the title “Initiative for a united, sovereign and democratic Europe”.


His speech represents a continuation of the one he delivered in Athens at the beginning of September and seemed to be directed to a great extent to the new majority which is to be formed in Germany. Through this speech, Macron took over the initiative and suggests that France and Germany sign a new Elysee Treaty in January 2018, thus advising that the – troublesome – negotiations for forming the new German government close by the end of 2017. Angela Merkel understood the hint and appreciated his speech as a ”good impetus” and a ”good basis” for the French-German cooperation.


Sovereign Europe: guaranteeing all the security aspects (common intervention force, common defence budget and common doctrine of intervention: a better cooperation among the intelligence services in fighting terrorism, the creation of an European Intelligence Agency included; common force of civil protection); an Europe which responds to migration challenges (a better management of borders control, an European police force on the European borders, interconnected data bases, an European program for training and integrating the refugees); a greater attention paid to Africa and the Mediterranean; concern for sustainable development (a just ecological transition, securing alimentary sovereignity); an economic and monetary power (the eurozone – the center of Europe’s global economic power, common budget and common investment fund).

The European unity: encouraging the convergence so that gradually the social and taxation models become unitary; cementing culture and knowledge (setting up European Universities; youth exchanges so that all the European youth spend 6 months/yeat in another European country (50% of each group age by 2024) and all students speak two European languages by 2024. A democratic Europe: extended democratic debates based on issues of common interest; strengthening the European Parliament by establishing transnational lists and by using in 2019 the free seats after Brexit and in 2024 50% of seats be transnational. The French-German engine is considered essential for for the EU’s future development while exacerbating nationalism may lead to a new war as Macron recalled Robert Schuman’s words of 9th of May 1950 when the latter suggested an European construction: „As an united Europe could not be achieved, we had war”. Beautiful speeches, generous ideas and well thought terms, yet difficulties come when implementing it. Paraphrasing himself, Henry Kissinger was asking: “What is Europe’s code number?”


‘Life happens outside. In the districts, in the businesses’ By Diplomat Magazine Photography: Valerie Kuypers.

Karsten Klein likes to ‘escape’ from City Hall. Visiting innovative businesses, cycling to shopping centres that are working hard on innovation and improvement, start-ups brimming with energy. But also going to see institutions and organisations doing their best to provide health care and support for The Hague’s residents.

“A large part of my work is at City Hall, but life naturally happens outside. In the city. In the districts, in the business parks. In the institutions. And it’s important that I’m there too. Not just to show interest, but also to hear what they need,” says the 40-year-old resident of The Hague who has represented the CDA as deputy mayor of The Hague for the past eight years.

very compatible and in recent years, financers have proved keen to invest their money in these joint goals. And that fits in very well with The Hague as International City of Peace and Justice. The government is still an important employer, but The Hague is increasingly becoming an attractive city for these kinds of businesses.”

Over the past four years, Karsten Klein’s portfolios in the Municipal Executive were Economic Affairs, Harbours, Welfare and Health and the city district of Scheveningen. Four intensive years. With a coalition agreement entitled The Hague’s Power, the five parties steered the ship towards a new future. The coalition had three priorities: jobs, jobs, jobs.

And the many international organisations have a strong and growing significance for the economy of The Hague, according to research. Klein: “Our region is home to around 200 international organisations and 160 embassies and consulates. They employ over 20,000 people who not only work in The Hague, but the majority of whom also live and spend their leisure time in The Hague. In economic terms, that’s an important factor.”


“And we’ve worked really hard to achieve that,” says Klein. “Over the past few years, nearly 10,000 jobs have been created. For a long time, The Hague largely relied on the many government organisations based in the city. In recent years, the government has reduced its influence and we felt that in The Hague. That’s why we launched a mission to present The Hague as an attractive base for a number of innovative sectors.” So now The Hague is moving towards an internationally competitive knowledge economy. “Take The Hague Security Delta, for example, as well as finance and legal and energy. We welcome start-ups that not only want to make money, but also want to make the world a better place. These two aspects are



With all its advantages and amenities, the city is important to the business environment. “The Hague is a safe and beautiful city with a good quality of life. A green city with clean and attractive shopping centres, great theatres, a fantastic Museum Quarter and good education. International schools and places of worship as well. And our small and medium-sized enterprises are of a high standard. Not surprisingly, four of our shopping centres have been nominated for the title ‘Best shopping centre in the Netherlands’. For businesses, it’s important that their employees are happy. This is another thing we have invested a lot in over the past few years.” During the past period, Karsten Klein has also encouraged a great deal of investment

in The Hague as a city which is friendly to senior citizens. “And that’s a very broad area. From museums and theatres which take into account the wishes of senior citizens to health care and support.” As is the case with every deputy mayor, Karsten Klein’s portfolio includes a city district. “Mine is Scheveningen, which I love. Scheveningen is a special district. The people who live there, the business climate, the connection with the sea. I enjoy being there. As a city, we must nurture Scheveningen. That makes us unique. We are the only international city with such a resort and such a coastline. That’s why I’m looking forward to the celebrations in 2018 to mark 200 years as a bathing resort. As a city, we have a budget available for the event, but I’m convinced that it will more than recoup our investment.” But as it moves towards a population of 600,000, The Hague is obviously not without its problems. “Too many people still depend on the municipality for their income. That’s not good. We need more jobs at the lower end of the labour market. So that’s one of our priorities.”


In March 2018, Karsten Klein’s second period as deputy mayor comes to an end. He is keen to add a third. “Absolutely. I’m not done here yet. We’ve been able to move the city towards the future, but a city like this doesn’t stay quiet. You constantly have to give it attention. But first the elections. It’s not up to me whether I stay or not. That’s for the voters to decide.”




Authors Prof. Nico Schrijver and Prof. dr Willem van Genugten presenting the book. Photography: Rene Gonzalez de la Vega. By Prof. dr Willem van Genugten, Tilburg University.

International law does belong to everybody and influences the lives of all human beings worldwide much more than one is often aware of. And while we feel that daily lives should not be ‘judicialised’ more than needed, we also think it is important to create more awareness of existing rights and duties, for states, individuals, companies, knowing that such ‘legal frames’ can help solving problems without having to resort to the use of ‘muscles’ (read: military power, terrorist means, authoritarian use of governmental powers). International law is about peace and security, trade relations, the fight against climate change, and, for instance, the protection of human rights. Here today we are also exercising human rights, such as the freedom of speech and the freedom of association. And should you fall ill while listening to me, you will have access to adequate health care, a human right as well.

All this is about public international law. The second international law ‘leg’ relates to private international law: should you fall in love with a foreign student – or as foreigner with a Dutch student – and should you want to marry him/her and have to divorce next to that, with quite a dispute about the division of the material wealth you did build up together, what law will then be applicable and what court to go to? We are then in the domain of private international law. The key purpose of the book is to contribute, in very accessible style, to the understanding of the state of the art of public and private international law, including trends and highlights. Doing that, the book also makes clear that it doesn’t make sense to speak about international law in one ‘bundle’: it is composed of quite a number of ‘chambers’, all of them having their own history, supervisory procedures etc. A second purpose of this book is to present the long existing ties between international law and the city of The Hague, ‘the legal capital of the world’ (Boutros Boutros-Ghali), or better to my mind: ‘An epicenter of international justice and accountability’ (Ban ki-Moon).

“Dreams and ideals are needed, but they should not be naïve.”


At the end of the book, we present a few overriding observations, overall being optimistic ones, despite all the misery visible in the world on a daily basis in each and every domain covered by international law. That optimism seems to be warranted if one looks at developments with historical eyes, and see ‘where we come from’. To take but two examples: the 1899 Hague Peace Conference made clear that states should solve their conflicts not by fighting but by arbitration, and before the 1970s nearly nobody talked about international agreements on environmental issues. Such an optimistic approach is needed in the view of the authors in order to see progress and not to stick to the ‘negative hypes of the moment’. Dreams and ideals are needed, but they should not be naïve. The UN for instance is an intergovernmental organisation with a huge variety amongst its member states in terms of political systems and of endless different views on numerous topics. That is the reality one has to face – with positive sides as well: cultural diversity! – while talking about further developing international law and about the role the UN should play and actually plays in strengthening and enforcing it, with humanisation of the international legal order as the lead concept. In words of the book: there is room for ‘conquering terrain upon rude power politics’, which is what law makes law.


“Together we stand for ‘the future of international law’. The field deserves it, the world needs it.” “Discover International Law, with special attention for The Hague, City of Peace and Justice” is written by three authors, Prof. Nico Schrijver, Ph.D. student Daniela Heerdt and I myself. It is available in English and Dutch, and soon in French and other UN languages. Our deepest thanks and appreciation to Wolf Legal Publishers. Prof. Dr Willem van Genugten, em. Professor of International Law at Tilburg University, extra-ordinary professor of International Law at the North-West University, South Africa. President of the Royal Netherlands Society of International Law

Civil Law Notary Adegeest clear language, good advice

If you would like to know more, please give us a call or send us an email info@notarisadegeest.nl DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE #7



Tolerance: a fundamental part of the United Arab Emirates By H.E. Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, President of Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Photography: Office of Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi.

In today’s world, one of the greatest challenges that we face is the rise in various forms of intolerance. Whether it is differences in religious belief, in cultural and historical traditions or in colour or origin, conflicts are created and stimulated by those who seek to use them as reasons to divide us. In sharp contrast to that, we in the United Arab Emirates firmly believe that such differences should be welcomed and celebrated. They offer much from which we can all learn as we seek to build a modern, diverse and forwardlooking society. When, I was appointed as the UAE’s first Minister of State for Tolerance, with a mandate to reinforce and to build upon the spirit of tolerance that has always been a fundamental part of our society, deeply rooted in our history. The citizens of the UAE are overwhelmingly Muslim by faith, embracing a religion that preaches tolerance and respect for other faiths, creating a land where all people may live in coexistence, peace and security. Though we are a Muslim-majority country, we have over 40 churches, catering to hundreds of thousands of believers of many different Christian denominations, along with Sikh and Hindu places of worship. We take pride in that diversity, which encompasses the 200 or so nationalities that live in our country, and also in the evidence of our own ancient Christian heritage 1,400 years ago. One of our most important historic sites is a monastery of the Church of the East, founded in around 600 AD, before the revelation of Islam, and a centre of the faith for over 100 years before it was eventually abandoned. That monastery is evidence that the UAE has always accepted other beliefs. Our country has always been what I term “an incubator of civilisations.”


Support for the principles of tolerance and diversity – religious, cultural and ethnic – are enshrined in our Constitution. Discrimination on the grounds of faith, race and ethnic origin, as well as speech intended to promote such discrimination, is proscribed under the terms of our legislation. My role as Minister of State for Tolerance, though, is not simply confined to ensuring that the Constitution and legislation are respected, important though they are. Of equal, if not greater, significance is the role of promoting the underlying values that they represent, through discussion, dialogue, education and debate. In pursuit of that goal, my Ministry reaches out to the varied religious, community and cultural groups, to our schools and voluntary organisations and to UAE society at large. It is not always an easy task. In the region in which we live, there are siren voices which seek to promote division and hatred. While we are fortunate that there are very few in the Emirates who listen to them, we have seen only too vividly the death and devastation that such voices can bring about. We must always be on our guard to ensure that such poisonous views never gain a hold in our society. Over 20 years ago, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder-President of the UAE, noted: “In these times, we see around us violent men who claim to talk on behalf of Islam... Regrettably, these people have nothing whatsoever that connects them to Islam. They are apostates and criminals. We see them slaughtering children and the innocent. They kill people, spill their blood and destroy their property, and then claim to be Muslims.”

Sheikh Zayed’s words underpin our approach today. In a world where intolerance derived from a perversion of religion threatens all, the United Arab Emirates will continue to promote our belief in tolerance, welcoming diversity of beliefs, of faiths and of cultures, as the best, indeed the only, hope for us all in the years that lie ahead. In our UAE capital of Abu Dhabi, one of our major mosques has recently been re-named the Mariam Umm Eisa mosque – or the Mary, Mother of Jesus Mosque. It is immediately adjacent to the Catholic Cathedral, the Anglican Church and the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, where, on Fridays, the UAE’s day of rest, thousands of people, Emirati citizens and expatriates, intermingle in harmony as they go to perform their prayers. That is the kind of society we have inherited and the kind of society we wish to cherish and preserve. It is for me an honour that the Government which I serve has entrusted me with the task of contributing to the pursuing of that goal.


First Lady Receives

Leadership Award

By Theron Boodan/Roy Lie A Tjam. Photography: The President’s House T&T.

The First Lady of the Caribbean twin island state of Trinidadian and Tobago Reema Carmona has been conferred with the prestigious Global Female Impact Leadership Award.

Reema Carmona, has become the first Trinidadian “First Lady” to be the recipient of the prestigious Global Female Impact Leadership Award. In fact Carmona was one of five First Ladies across the globe to have been conferred with this award in 2017. She was presented the award in New York City, while attended several meetings, including the International Conference on Gender & Sustainability, hosted by the Centre for Economic and Leadership Development (CELD), an Organization in special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC). The presentation took place on September 21, 2017 at the Midtown Hilton Hotel, New York on the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

H.E. Reema Carmona is the spouse of H.E. Anthony T Carmona O.R.T.T, S.C. President of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago. President Carmona is a former ICC judge. Carmona also served as an appeals counsel at the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha. DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE #7

“...she will continue to be a voice for equity, respect and empowerment of women and children everywhere.” Commenting on their selection of H.E. Reema Carmona, Economic and Leadership Development (CELD), stated that its “Board took into consideration her efforts to end preventable deaths and improve the health and well-being of women, children and adolescents”, including her support for the Diabetes Association and other patronages; her work in childhood obesity and NCD prevention and control, autism awareness; and her advocacy and leadership in championing the fight against child marriage. In accepting the Award, Mrs Carmona noted that it is as much a profound privilege and honour to have been conferred with the International Award as it is a great responsibility. Having been recently inaugurated as an Executive Member of the Network of Caribbean First Ladies, known as ‘SCLAN- Spouses of Caribbean

Leaders Action Network’, She said that she will continue to be a voice for equity, respect and empowerment of women and children everywhere and that her advocacy shall persist on issues such as Disabilities, NCDs, diabetes and healthy lifestyles, drug approval, adolescent pregnancy and HIV & Mother to Child Transmission. Carmona expressed her elation and honour at receiving the prestigious International Award and thanked her family, her husband and all concerned stakeholders for their immeasurable contribution and support, on her continuing journey for social empowerment and transformation of the disadvantaged, vulnerable and marginalised in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean. Mrs Carmona works closely with numerous charitable organizations and NGOs- by way of her personal involvement, patronages and advocacy- all with the aim of improving the lives, health and general well-being of the populace, locally, regionally and internationally.


diplomatVIP H.E. Ambassador Christian Lepage, Permanent Representative of Belgium to the International organizations in The Hague, organized a farewell dinner for Ms Coninxs at his residence, here in the picture around the President of Eurojust Baroness Michèle Coninsx: Mr. Ladislav Hamran, new Eurojust President elected, Mr. Jean-Pierre van Gestel, Head of the Belgian Liaison Bureau, Europol, Ms. Janet Nosworthy, Judge, Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Mr. Chris Hoornaert, Ambassador of Belgium, the host Ambassador Christian Lepage, Mr. Peter Bekx, Head of Representation, European Commission in The Netherlands, Mr. Hendrik Denys, Attaché, Assistant to the Permanent Representative of Belgium and Diplomat Magazine’s publisher Dr. Mayelinne De Lara. The Hague October 25

Michèle Coninsx, new Executive Director at UN Counter-Terrorism Directorate

Photography: Marian van Noort.

Michèle Coninsx president of Eurojust since 2012, has been appointed by the UN Secretary-General as Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate. After moving from The Hague to the New York City UN headquarters in early November, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres confirmed her appointment at the Assistant Secretary-General level. Ms. Coninsx’s resume is extensive. Ms. Coninsx began her career at Eurojust, the Judicial Cooperation Unit of the European Union, in 2001, when she served as Deputy Prosecutor General. Following, Ms, Coninsx became the National Member of Belgium to Eurojust in 2002. From 2008 to 2012, Ms. Coninsx was appointed as Vice-President and held a position of the Presidency team. From 2009 to 2010, she served as President of Eurojust, and also held the position of Chair in Eurojust’s Counter Terrorism Team and the Task Force on the Future of Eurojust.


Prior, to joining Pro-Eurojust, Ms. Coninsx was appointed as a National Prosecutor in 1997, serving as Deputy Public Prosecutor at the Public Prosecutors Office in Brussels (1990-1997). As an expert to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and instructor on anti-terrorism in the air, she was in charge of training aviation security in several countries, including Kenya, Thailand, Sri Lanka, China, Japan and New Zealand. Additionally, Ms. Coninsx was assigned by the Belgian National Aviation Security Committee to head anti-terrorism training related to aircraft sabotage and hijacking. Ms. Coninsx worked in the judiciary sector for almost 25 years. From 1997 to 2001, just before joining Eurojust, she was one of the three Belgian national prosecutors in charge of coordinating the fight against organised crime and terrorism at country-wide level, with full jurisdictional powers over the 27 Belgian chief prosecutors. She holds two master’s degrees, one in law and the other in Criminology, from the University of Brussels (Vrije Universiteit Brussel — VUB). She received the Aggregation higher secondary education (Law) and is specialized in air law. She was an Auditor of the High Studies Security and Defence at the

Royal Higher Institute for Defence in Brussels (2005-2006), and a Visiting Professor at the College of Europe (since 2016). She is also the Visiting Professor at the School of Law, Queen Mary University of London (since 2015) and honorary Fellow of Law and Criminology at VUB (since 2014). Ms Coninsx is author of several publications, including “Private Security Companies,” “The search of persons at airports,” “Judicial Handbook for Aviation Police Officers,” “Air Law for Air Traffic Controllers,” and “The Fight against Terrorism in the Air.” She was also keynote speaker at several international aviation security conferences dealing with terrorism in the air, airport security, human resources management and aviation security training for airport personnel.

Working breakfast with the Ambassador of Iran

Under the theme “New opportunities in Iran” By Roy Lie A Tjam

On August 23rd, 2017, H.E. Prof. Dr. Alireza Jahangiri, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran in The Hague organized another of his regular working breakfast with members of the local media. The venue was the Residence of the Ambassador of Iran in Wassenaar. In part, this is the information Dr. Alireaza Jahangiri shared with the media. The Nuclear deal is considered as one of the great achievements of diplomacy in recent decades. In order to achieve this agreement, 5+1 powers of the world and the Islamic Republic of Iran, after having long negotiations and putting an end to an unnecessary crisis threatening the international security, finally managed to realize a great outcome called the Nuclear deal. The Nuclear agreement was a win-win result for all negotiating parties, the United Nations and European Union. Following the implementation of the nuclear deal, the Islamic Republic of Iran, having extensive capabilities and strategic position in the Western Asia region, succeeded in developing of its trade relation with the world and in particular European countries. Extremely large contracts have been signed between the I. R. of Iran and the world’s major economic powers. There have been multiple negotiations to finalize larger contracts and, in the months and years ahead, we are waiting for the results of these negotiations and implementation of further agreements. From an economic and commercial point of view the nuclear agreement has provided European countries with a great opportunity for using the regional position and economic capacities of the I.R. of Iran to gain enormous benefits. The approximately 5 billion dollars contract with Total, the contract for the purchase of hundreds of civil aircrafts with Airbus and Boeing, automobile manufacturing contract with Peugeot and Renault and dozens of other DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE #7

contracts are only part of the achievements of the Nuclear agreement. Although some important countries of the global economy have enjoyed the opportunities of the Nuclear agreement to the maximum and have signed major contracts with the I.R. of Iran, we occasionally see that some countries, having unnecessary concerns or under the influence of propagandas, have not yet taken part in this healthy international competition in Iran and have deprived themselves of the great opportunities provided. Interestingly, Iranian people with a broad participation in the recent presidential election conveyed the message of continuing constructive engagement of Iran with the world. The relationship between the I.R. of Iran and the Netherlands has also made good progress. Dozens of political, economic and commercial delegations have been exchanged between the two countries. As the most important cases we can refer to the mutual visit of foreign ministers to each other’s capitals and signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on political consultations between the two countries, two times travel of H.E. Mr. Henk Kamp, Minister for Economic Affairs of the Netherlands to the I.R. of Iran, preparing a road map for expanding economic co-operation between the two countries, visit of H.E. Mrs. Schultz, Dutch Minister of the infrastructure and the Environment to Tehran and the visit of H.E. Mr. Hojati, minister of Agriculture of Iran to the Netherlands. During these visits great strides have been taken in developing relations between the two countries in various political and economic fields including agriculture, water resources

management, environment, oil, gas, energy, medical equipment, etc. The volume of exchanges between the two countries is expected to increase by more than 50% this year compared to 2016. The two countries’ economic and trade co-operation process is very promising and there is a very positive prospect of relations between the two countries as well. In order to maintain 400 years-old bilateral relations, the I.R. of Iran has always been keen on welcoming and presence of Dutch companies and investments in Iran and the Embassy of the I.R. of Iran in The Hague has tried to work together with various organizations to overcome the obstacles for the presence of Dutch investors in different economic sectors in Iran. Tourist attractions of Iran can function as an important element for expanding the tourism industry between the two countries. Iran has unparalleled historical monuments and magnificent nature including both snow-capped mountains and spectacular deserts. Due to a large area one can experience four types of weather in one season. This is why all the tourist who have travelled to Iran want to visit the country again with their entire family. The Embassy of the I.R. of Iran in The Hague has facilitated the travel of tourist to Iran by launching an electronic visa system and also many Iranian tourists travel to the Netherlands to visit this beautiful country. In our view the role of the journalists in informing the elites, owners of capital and public opinion about the capacities of economic co-operation with Iran can be described as unique and highly important. We hope with the help and collaboration of the media, we can improve the co-operation between these two great countries after the recent elections in both countries.






By H.E. Alexander Shulgin, the Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the Organisation for the Prohibition of the Chemical Weapons. Photography: Hester Dijkstra.

This year was marked by a significant success of Russia in the area of non-proliferation of the weapons of mass destruction and arms control: on September 27, 2017 the last chemical munitions remaining of all the previous Russian chemical arsenals were destroyed at the “Kizner” specialised facility in the region of Udmurtia. This is a truly milestone event. Our country has successfully fulfilled its key commitment under the Chemical Weapons Convention (or the CWC) – it has completely got rid of its chemical arsenal, which some time ago used to be the largest in the world. This means about 40 thousand tons of deadly chemicals that we inherited from the past. Throughout the existence of the Russian chemical weapons destruction programme enormous amount of work has been done. Seven technologically advanced facilities were built in various regions of our country, unique domestic “know-how” has been developed, highly qualified staff has been trained. A great number of people worked tirelessly in Russia to achieve this goal: large teams of scientists, engineers, technicians and workers were occupied at those enterprises. It would not be an exaggeration to say that a whole new industry has been created solely for the purpose of destroying the chemical arsenal. Leadership of the country paid the closest possible attention to the chemical weapons destruction programme, which had the status of a presidential one. More than 15 ministries and agencies of the Russian Federation have been involved in its implementation under the coordination and supervision of the CWC national authority – the Ministry of Industry and Trade.


Of course not everything developed smoothly. Difficulties emerged throughout the implementation process, mainly technical ones. (In particular, due to the sharp increase in the number of expired shells with a high risk of leaking, as well as difficult and expensive destruction of complex design munitions). Consequently, twice we had to extend the period of destruction of the accumulated chemical stockpiles. Nevertheless, Russia managed to come up with the solutions that in the end enabled to finish the process earlier than the official deadline registered in the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which envisaged the completion of the destruction no later than 2020. The plan of infrastructure creation encompassed a step-by-step launch of the relevant entities. The last chemical facility, “Kizner” was put in operation in 2013. Before the early 2000s – at the time when our country suffered from serious economic challenges – we had to rely on the foreign technical assistance (the share of such assistance was about 10% of the total expenses on the programme). Hence, we would like to express

our sincere gratitude to all who helped us back then: the donor states (Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Switzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the USA), as well as the European Union. It has to be emphasised that the chemical disarmament in Russia was implemented in strict accordance with the requirements of the environmental legislation. Enhancing environmental security was our top priority. It was achieved by means of thorough monitoring of the chemical destruction facilities and the adjacent area, including supervision over the health of the population and the facilities staff. At all the stages of the programme great attention was given to well-being of the employees. Significant funds were allocated to create and maintain social infrastructure in the regions where the chemical facilities were located – schools, hospitals, kindergartens, stadiums were constructed. This allowed raising the level of life of the local population and providing the necessary human resources for the chemical disarmament sites. Russia invested huge amounts of funds in the construction of the chemical weapons destruction facilities (more than 330 billion roubles in total). But at the moment we have a new topical and ambitious target ahead: find the way to use them for civil purposes after the completion of the programme and not only in the chemical industry. In particular, these high-tech complexes are to be engaged into the national economy as the basis for new

diplomatAMBASSADORIAL We hope that our success in the area of chemical disarmament will serve as an example for other CWC States Parties, which will act as devotedly and consistently as the Russian Federation in order to fulfil their obligations undertaken within the international treaties. Particularly, we expect the US (the second largest possessor of chemical weapons), which are to complete their destruction only in 2023, will make additional efforts in this direction. In that case we will move another step further towards the cherished goal – the world completely free from chemical weapons.

investment projects that will also employ the existing staff after retraining. A set of projects has already been determined for each of the seven facilities to be converted. By completing the destruction of its chemical arsenals this year, i.e. three years earlier than planned, Russia has confirmed its

commitment to the international obligations. This event, as the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin stressed out in his welcoming speech to the participants of the ceremony at the “Kizner” chemical facility on September 27, has become “a huge step towards greater balance and security in the modern world”.

It is symbolic that the complete elimination of the Russian chemical arsenals happened in the year of the 20th anniversary of the CWC and OPCW, which in 2013 was awarded with a Nobel Peace Prize for its enormous efforts in freeing the humanity from the chemical weapons. Russia is grateful to the OPCW Technical Secretariat that assisted us over the whole period of the programme and contributed a lot to this uneasy struggle for our common chemical-free future that we are building for next generations.

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By H.E. Andrea Perugini, Ambassador of Italy to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Photography Kim Vermaat.

The current migration phenomenon surely is one of the major challenges which Italy and the International Community are facing since the end of the Second World War. The continuous massive inflow of refugees Italy was forced to cope with over the last few years has severely put to the test the Italian capacity to accommodate displaced persons, notwithstanding the ongoing investments in relevant structures and the enormous economic and social costs that Italy sustained. Whereas in 2013, a total of 22.118 persons were hosted in temporary structures, this figure has risen at present to 174.356 persons. From 2014 onwards, a special structure with a new accommodation system, in particular for minors, has been set up which consists of 19 operative structures, including 950 sites spread out in 10 different Italian Regions. The cost of running these emergency migration inflows as a whole, including rescue-operations at sea, assistance and first need provision, shelter and outplacement, placed a heavy burden on the Italian Budget, equal to 0,2% of its 2016 GDP, the equivalent of 3,3 billion euro. Estimates for 2017, made by the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance, have risen to 3,8 billion euro. However, in case the influx of asylum-seekers were to further increase, this figure could even rise to 4,2 billion euro. Indeed, the problem of irregular migration affects not only Italy or Greece, nor is it merely Europe’s problem: Italian diplomacy is at the forefront since many years in promoting initiatives and awareness in order to show


that what we are facing is actually a global phenomenon. That is why we are engaged in a number of global initiatives in addition to regional ones. The high level conferences held last year in New York on September 19th and 20th were a step forward towards a more coordinated management of migration. The Declaration adopted at these conferences, organized by the Secretary General of the United Nations, endorses the principle of “Shared Responsibility” which Italy has been supporting as of the outset, in the awareness that over the coming years migration will remain pivotal in light of the wide and growing demographic disparities between Europe and Africa. It is in this respect encouraging that following the New York Declaration negotiations will lead to the adoption of the so called Global Compact on refugees and Global on Migration before the end of the year 2018. Following the New York Declaration, Italy is deeply engaged in negotiations which will lead to the adoption of these two Global Compacts. We argue that we should set aside the traditional and outdated “emergencyapproach” to human mobility, and replace it with an overarching long term strategy, aiming at transforming irregular mass migration flows into regular migration channels in a predictable and manageable manner. In these Global Compact negotiations, Italy is granting priority to two fundamental principles: a) partnership between countries of origin, countries of transit and those of final destination and, b) shared responsibility in the management of flows as well as in the protection of migrants and refugees, especially the most vulnerable ones.

The objectives which the Italian diplomacy is pursuing through such Global Compacts are: 1) promoting public and private investments in the countries of origin and in the countries of transit, with the aim of contributing to improve the management of flows and to counter the fundamental causes of immigration; 2) protecting migrants and the most vulnerable refugees (women, minors, in particular those without parents, or those separated from their parents); 3) valuing the positive aspects of migration, to be shared between countries of origin, countries of transition and those of final destination. We are determined to transform these Global Compact principles into concrete actions. It is becoming increasingly clear that there is an urgent need to step up cooperation with countries of transit. Not only in order to counter human trafficking and criminal networks interfering with migration movements, but also to confront the deeper-lying causes of the migration phenomenon itself. To underline even more the central role countries of transit play in the management of migration flows, Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Angelino Alfano chaired on July 6th a first International Ministerial Conference entitled “A shared responsibility for a common goal: solidarity and security”. This event was an occasion for dialogue and comparison between the major African and European transit and destination countries of migration. The Director General of the International Organization for Migrations and the Deputy UN High Commissioner for Refugees also contributed. The objective of the meeting


President Meron awarded Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland Photography: MICT.

The President of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT or Mechanism), Judge Theodor Meron, was awarded the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland at a ceremony held at the Polish embassy in The Hague.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that there is an urgent need to step up cooperation with countries of transit.” was to focus on good neighborhood and on strengthening support, from Italy as well as from Europe, to countries most affected by the current migration crisis along the routes which lead, from Sub Saharan Africa and through the Mediterranean Sea, to Europe. The final aim of this event was to put around the same table the EU countries which have contributed the most to putting into effect the Migration Compact (Germany, France, The Netherlands and Spain) together with the African countries of transit which have shown major willingness to collaborate on immigration (Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya, Niger, Sudan). An integrated approach was pursued which aims to support local communities, to fight against human trafficking, in strengthening border controls, protect human rights, assist migrants and refugees providing them with increased opportunities for voluntary repatriation. Italian diplomacy is fully engaged in persuading the International Community Particularly significant were the announcements of contributions from several European countries, a testimony of concrete results obtained at this conference. We are pleased that the Netherlands is taking a leadership role in this regards consistently with the spirit of H. M. The King Willem Alexander’s visit to Palermo during his State


Visit to Italy in June 2017. In particular, The Netherlands has provided 10 million euro to the International Migrations Organization and 6 million to UNHCR out of a total commitment of 50 million euros, including funds announced previously. This ranks The Netherlands in third position, as far as contributor countries are concerned. Starting from this conference, a strengthened Partnership between European countries and African countries of transit has been put into place, so that this dialogue format may have continuity beyond the Declaration. The next edition of the Ministerial Conference on shared responsibility in managing migration flows will take place in Rome, at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, in February 2018 in order to provide continuity to this process and to such an innovative form of dialogue All countries which have contributed to the July meeting are being invited including countries of origin and transit. It would be highly desirable that a wide participation will further strengthen the commonly shared goal of finding structural and sustainable solutions to this global challenge.

In accepting the award, President Meron expressed his deep gratitude to the President and the Government of the Republic of Poland for the great distinction bestowed upon him in recognition of his contributions to the development of international humanitarian law and international criminal law. “I do not see these honours as purely personal matters. More than anything, they reflect the appreciation of the country of my birth for a concept that I believe we all hold dear: the rule of law.” Following the decorations ceremony, President Meron delivered remarks on “The Future of International Criminal Justice”, addressing the challenges faced by international criminal justice today and discussing some of the ways to move forward in the global effort towards greater accountability. “Now is the time to take concrete steps to advance the cause of accountability at the national, regional, and international levels and in a wide variety of fora. It is by doing so that we will, I believe, narrow the gap between the important normative and rhetorical advances made in recent years, on the one hand, and our actual results in the fight to end impunity, on the other”, President Meron concluded.



mexico CLIMBING UP THE STAIRS By Edgar Elias Azar, Ambassador of Mexico to the Netherlands. Photography: Dr. René González de la Vega.

In 1969, being recently appointed as a judge, one morning climbing the staircase of the Mexico City Court where he served, Edgar Elias Azar promised to himself that one day he would become its President. Since that moment, he prepared academically and professionally in order to achieve his goal, which was to change the Court of one of the largest cities of the world so to assure a better administration of justice for its nearly half a million users.

He was born in Acapulco, Guerrero, on 1946, and an obtained his Law degree at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in 1970. Those were difficult times; times of social struggle all around the world, including Mexico. During those years, Elias Azar became very aware that Mexico needed a change; a change that had to be sufficiently big as to modify the bases of government and politics and to become closer to the people; it had to become more democratic, open and efficient. During the years in between his first judicial appointment and his presidency, Elias Azar served his country in many different offices: as a judge, as a politician and as a public administrator. In 1987, he was appointed Minister of Finance at his own home State where he served for 5 years and then went back to the judiciary.

served as a base in Mexico redesign the judicial system and assure its transparency through the development of a robust system of indicators approved by the designed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Office. During his presidency at the Court, Elias Azar improved all judicial procedures, proposed more than 50 substantial legislative amendments to secondary law and to the Constitution concerne with making justice closer to people as well as more efficient and effective. His administration was guided by three main principles: a robust defense of judicial autonomy, the preservation of the judicial independence and the democratization of justice.

Nearly 35 years had passed between his first appointment as a judge and the achievement of his dream. In November 2007, he was elected, by a great majority of his peers, President of Mexico´s City Supreme Court of Justice.

To protect and secure the autonomy of all judges was a hard task. Protecting them from any external influence - political, media or economical - so they can really decide according to the law and to their conscience.

In 2013, he also became the President of the Local Supreme Courts National Assembly, where he actively promoted political and legal reforms, which helped to modernize the judicial procedures in the country, broadening the protection of women rights, as well as the fundamental rights of all individuals.

Under this perspective, Elias Azar changed the whole procedural system, making it more democratic, respectful of human rights and transparent. He implemented oral procedures in all the judicial areas.

Since the very beginning of his career he has been a convinced liberal. The defense of rights, democracy and freedom constructed an ideological and political tendency that has lasted all his life. This same ideological framework was the one that later would become the flag of justice; the one that


The independence of the judicial power was assured in two ways: by achieving to maintain other Powers away from the judicial decisions and by assuring that the judicial budget was not subject of political decisions. Regarding the democratization of the judiciary, Elias Azar focused on tackling three issues: Assuring that judges view people take

them as humans and not as files; promoting legal culture among citizens and combatting “procedural violence”: difficult procedures, legal procedures which are hard to understand, and the lack of resources to pay for a legal representation, are some of the difficulties that people face when they want access to justice. The Mexican judicial situation started changing in the 2008, when the Constitution received several amendments. Most of them were directed to change the essence, the structure and the perspective of justice in Mexico. For instance, the Constitution explicitly binds the judiciary with the protection of human rights. Definitely, this does not mean that before judges were not obliged to protect and respect them, but this obligation is now strongly stressed in our Constitution and judges are not only obliged to protect all the rights stipulated in our constitutional text, but they are also obliged to protect all the human rights contained in the various international treaties and conventions. These amendments, no doubt, change the role of the judges as those who are in charge of taking care of the validity of legal norms and the protection of democracy. The adjudication of the law was improved drastically, and the Country keeps on seeing the benefits of these legal modifications. In 2017, the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, named Elias Azar as Ambassador of Mexico to the Netherlands and as permanent representative to the OPCW. With this new assignment, Elias Azar has the opportunity to spread out his vision about the law, about human rights and democracy in an international level.


el salvador

AND THE NETHERLANDS: TWO SOCIETIES UNITED BY THE SPIRIT OF SOLIDARITY By H.E. Mr Agustín Vásquez Gómez, Ambassador of the Republic of El Salvador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Photography: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador.

A big ocean and more than nine thousand kilometers separate the land of Cuscatlán - primitive name given to El Salvador - and the land of the tulips and the windmills. While people in El Salvador have learned to live among volcanoes, earthquakes and hot weather all year long, people in the Netherlands are use to live surrounded by water everywhere and in many parts of the country, they live below the sea level and with an unpredictable four seasons in one day.With these marked geographical conditions, to affirm that both societies have things in common would be extremely risky. The experience of living abroad is a reality that every diplomat of any country faces every day, knowing the customs, the culture and in general the way of life of the receiving country. This experience allows me to share why I consider both societies are closer than everyone can imagine. El Salvador, as many countries in the world, has its everyday challenges, many of them are tackled through the direct institutional action, and some others are supported in solidarity from different parts of the world.


The equation that unites both societies is precisely the spirit of support and solidarity, a main virtue of the Dutch people and the challenges that in different ways exist in El Salvador. This context allows me to share about Vastenactie, a Dutch Organization that since 2017, is supporting the youth affected by violence, through a three year program named “Islands of Hope in San Salvador”, helping to create opportunities for a fairer, humane and prosperous society. Behind Vastenactie there is a great number of anonymous Dutch donors, who by different means and solidarity change the conditions of life of many adolescents who most probably will never get to know. But Vastenactie is not alone inspiring Dutch people in solidarity. Up in the north of the country, in the beautiful city of Hoorn, there is a School identified as Tabor College Oscar Romero. Oscar Romero is known as the most universal Salvadoran, because he dedicated his life, as Archbishop of San Salvador, until his murder in March 1980, to raise his voice for the poor and the people in need, when their rights were being violated. No better words to define how Oscar Romero was as the Tabor College does: justified, refreshing, dedicated and open. The spirit of justice and the search of truth of Archbishop Romero inspired in 1983 a group of Dutch notable academic people to nominate

the Tabor College as “Oscar Romero”. Now, almost 35 years after the nomination, a sense of solidarity has risen from the School authorities and all the academic community when knowing the conditions of two schools in El Salvador. The College, while developing a fundraising campaign which will engage students, parents, teachers and friends of the Tabor College Oscar Romero, is about to change the life of more than one thousand five hundred students of the “Centro Escolar Fermín Velasco” in the city of Sensuntepeque and many others of the “Centro Escolar Reino de Holanda”, in San Salvador, which means “School Kingdom of the Netherlands”, nomination given as a symbol of the historic bonds of friendship that exist between both peoples and governments. Indeed, there are many more stories to mention about the spirit of solidarity from the Netherlands to El Salvador, but with the picture of the most recent ones, materialized by Vastenactie and the Tabor College Oscar Romero, it is meaningful to affirm that both societies have become closer enough, no matter the differences of culture and the geographical distance between them. What is clear is the conviction and certainty that when there is a solidarity society as the Dutch society and a grateful one as the Salvadoran society, there will be a better world.





By H.E. Mrs. Katri Viinikka, Ambassador of Finland. Photography: Tia Puumalainen.

This year Finland celebrates its 100th anniversary. Finland declared its independence on 6 December 1917, in the turmoil created by the October Revolution in Russia. Earlier, Finland had been a part of Sweden until 1809, and after that an autonomous Grand-Duchy under the Russian rule. The hundred years since 1917 have transformed Finland enormously: in the course of one life time Finland has developed from a poor, conflict-ridden country to a prosperous and modern country . The Fragile States Index 2016 indicated that Finland is “the least– failed nation” in the whole world.

“Finland is a Nordic welfare society, where income differences are among the lowest in the world.”



The Finnish Civil War in early 1918 between the Reds and the Whites was an extremely traumatic experience and caused great suffering. There are still anonymous mass graves in Finland, dating from those tragic months. The Civil War left the country deeply divided until the Second World War, which united the nation in what is called the Winter War and the Continuation War. The Winter War broke out after the Soviet Union attacked Finland, while the Continuation War started in 1941 after Germany attacked the Soviet Union. Finland remained one of the very few countries not occupied by any country during the World War II. However, it lost a significant portion of its total geographical area to the Soviet Union. It is partly due to these harsh experiences Finland has become what it is. Finland is very committed to rules-based international order. It has also gained reputation as a trusted mediator: post-conflict reconciliation is something we have had to learn from our own experience. Our former President Martti Ahtisaari, Nobel Peace Laureate of 2008 , is a concrete example of how a difficult history can shape one’s personal life. He was born in 1937 in Viborg, a town which in the Winter War 1939-40 was annexed by the Soviet Union, its inhabitants being driven out of the town. Mr. Ahtisaari thus became an internally displaced person when he was a small boy. He has said that those childhood experiences have motivated him in his adult commitment to peace. President Ahtisaari was a major contributor when Namibia achieved independence in

1989-1990, he arbitrated in Kosovo in 1999 and 2005-2007, and he helped to bring the long-lasting conflict in the Aceh province in Indonesia to an end in 2005.


A central element of Finland becoming what it is today is an emphasis on equality - building a society for all. Finland is a Nordic welfare society, where income differences are among the lowest in the world. We are also used to searching compromises; our governments are almost always coalitions among different parties and ideological backgrounds. This is something we are proud of. Finland has been a forerunner in maternal health and childcare from very early on. The first childcare clinics were established already in the 1920’s. The maternity package, a set of clothing and other items needed for a new-born baby, was introduced in 1938. It is still offered under the Finnish social security system to every Finnish family expecting a baby, regardless of the family’s income or social status. Gender equality has been a key value in Finland since the country gained its independence. Finland was among the first countries in the world to grant women the right to vote and the right to stand for election. This actually happened already before our independence, in 1906. In 2013, Finland was ranked to be the best place in the whole world to be a mother (by Save the Children organization). And in Finland it is indeed possible to combine motherhood and career. One important element in enhancing gender equality has been the free warm school

“...​governments are almost always coalitions among different parties and ideological backgrounds.” meal, which every child receives at school. It was introduced as early as 1948. Equal pay for equal work for men and women in public office has been mandatory since 1963. At the moment, 50 per cent of our ambassadors are female. How did we achieve this? In my personal opinion, it is a combination of structural reforms in the society on one hand, and a pioneering role and a strong will of some individuals, who have consistently encouraged women and promoted them, on the other.


Like the Netherlands, Finland is an open economy very much depending on foreign trade, and therefore a champion of free trade. The forest industry, which uses renewable raw materials, continues to be the most important economic sector in Finland, followed by the mechanical engineering industry. In the Netherlands, a famous Finnish brand you quite often encounter, without necessarily noticing, is KONE. Its elevators and escalators ensure the smooth flow of people for instance at the Schiphol airport. Also Finnish design is world-famous, and Iittala vases, originally designed by Alvar Aalto, can be found at several upmarket stores in The Hague.

All Aboard de OOievaart! By Catherine van der Loos. Photography: Jan van der Loos.

Some 62 diplomats joined Diplomat Magazine on a two hour tour of The Hague’s extensive network of canals. The splendid summer weather ensured that the program was a success—and a second boat was needed to accommodate the many passengers who responded to the invitations to come aboard “De Ooievaart!” The group, from more than 20 countries, departed from the Ooievaart’s home port on the Bierkade at 11:00 am. Many of the passengers were surprised to learn that some of the canals were originally dug more than 400 hundred years ago and are an average of just 1.5 m in depth! The knowledgeable guides entertained the group with an informative presentation on the city’s lesser known, but often more colourful, history. While the boats floated through the canals, the passengers were treated to “Picnic style” refreshments while expanding their knowledge of a century’s long tradition of internationalism, in the city of peace and justice. The boats floated along a canal near the Paviljoensgracht 72, where the group caught a glimpse of the home of the renowned Dutch philosopher, who is credited for having laid the groundwork for the 18th century Enlightenment. It was the last home of Baruch, Benedictus de Spinoza, the author of “Ethics” (published posthumously), who lived in the home from 1670 until his untimely death at the age of 44 in 1677.

The former atelier of Paulus Potter, a painter from Holland’s “Golden Age”, on the Dunne Bierkade 17 soon came into view. As the boats floated through the Mauritskade, the guides explained the history of Willemspark, and the subtle influence that the Grand Duchess Anna Paulowna Romanov (1795-1865), the daughter of Russia’s Czar Paul I Petrovich Romanov, had on the city during her marriage to Willem Frederik George Lodewijk prins van Oranje-Nassau (1792-1849), later King Willem II. Towards the end of the journey, the boats floated past Nieuwe Uitleg 16, where Margaretha Geertruida Zelle (1876-1917), the exotic dancer and courtesan who was better known as “Mata Hari”, resided in 1915 and 1916. These aforementioned homes are among many with a history to share with passengers. Right: Roy Lie A Tjam, Diplomat Magazine Below: Ambassadors durign canal tour

Finland has been an active and constructive member of the European Union since 1995. In the Netherlands we see a very like-minded and important partner on many European and international issues. We are both pragmatic countries willing and able to address global challenges. We are also ready to implement and deliver on what has been agreed.








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Conference of the States Parties Opens to Review Progress and Chart Direction for OPCW in 2018 Remaining vigilant and strengthening the international norm against chemical weapons in the face of their continued use was the main message from the opening day of the Twenty-Second Session of the Conference of the States Parties (CSP-22) to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) that took place in The Hague, November 27, 2017. The Conference was chaired by Permanent Representative of Morocco to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), H.E. Ambassador Abdelouahab Bellouki, who assumes the duties from outgoing Chairperson, H.E. Ambassador Christoph Israng of Germany. Ambassador Bellouki invited: “delegations and all participants of this Conference to be guided by the spirit of cooperation, respect and consensus,” and highlighted that “we are all united by the primary aim of the Chemical Weapons Convention – the achievement of a world free of chemical weapons. A world with less fear, a world with less terror. A better world.”

On a more personal note, the Director-General reflected on his eight years at the helm of the Organisation as his tenure completes next year and stated, “In approaching the conclusion of my tenure, I consider myself extremely fortunate. I will leave an Organisation that is strong, vibrant, and efficient”. On 30 November, the Conference appointed Ambassador Fernando Arias of Spain as the new Director-General of the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW. Ambassador Arias will start his four year term on 25 July 2018. This year, 135 out of 192 States Parties attended the conference along with Israel as a Signatory State and South Sudan as a non-Signatory State. Additionally, representatives of ten International Organisations, 49 NGOs and three chemical companies are in attendance and will make statements to the CSP.

In his opening statement, the Director-General of the OPCW, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, looked back at 2017 as “a landmark one for the OPCW that has given us the opportunity to celebrate and reflect on our achievements of the past two decades”. He stressed that the international community continued to be confronted with the on-going and systematic use of chemical weapons. Ambassador Üzümcü’s speech gave prominence to the progress in eliminating declared chemical weapon stockpiles, including this year’s major milestone of the Russian Federation completing the destruction of its chemical arsenal under OPCW verification. The Director-General affirmed the importance of continuous engagement with the chemical industry and scientific community, and of strengthening cooperation with the OPCW Member States in Africa.




new zealand


By H.E. Lyndal Walker, Ambassador of New Zealand to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland. Photography: Delaere, New Zealand Embassy.

Kia Ora, how exciting to be living in The Hague. Feeling like I had won the lottery I arrived from a New Zealand winter just in time for the tail end of the European summer! In addition to being responsible for New Zealand’s relations with the Netherlands, I am also accredited to Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland, as well as the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, International Court of Justice and International Criminal Court. My previous overseas assignments have included Rome, Niue, Singapore, Bangkok and Washington DC. Prior to coming to The Hague, I was Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Consular Division providing consular services, advice and support to New Zealanders travelling and

living overseas, plus leading the Ministry’s response to major international incidents affecting New Zealand citizens. There was never a dull moment!

our relationship was further strengthened by the successful state visit of King WillemAlexander and Queen Maxima accompanied by a business delegation.

Here in The Hague we are a small but very active Embassy – there are nine of us and there is plenty to keep a us busy as we seek to make the most of what the Netherlands and our accreditations have to offer New Zealand, and we can offer in return. This includes the intersection of various strategic interests and priorities with our own.

There are also important cultural and extensive people-to-people links between our two countries. More than 150,000 New Zealanders claim Dutch heritage, and there is a sizeable “Kiwi” expatriate community in the Netherlands. We met a lot of them recently when they visited the Embassy to cast their vote in the recent New Zealand General Election.

The Netherlands is a close partner of New Zealand, with a relationship based on shared values and interests. It is also one of our oldest relationships, with its origins dating back to the sighting of New Zealand by Dutch explorer Abel Tasman nearly 375 years ago. We have a long history of partnership and cooperation on global issues such as peace, security, and protection of the environment. In 2016

The Netherlands is an important source of tourists for New Zealand. These connections were enhanced with “Te Hono ki Aotearoa” – a waka taua on permanent loan to the Volkenkunde Museum in Leiden. The only “living” waka in Europe, it has its own Dutch crew trained in Māori protocol and its own haka.


via Facebook: www.facebook.com/NZthehague If you are planning on visiting New Zealand check out: www.newzealand.com We would love to see you on our side of the world!

“More than 150,000 New Zealanders claim Dutch heritage, and there is a sizeable “Kiwi” expatriate community in the Netherlands.”




By H.E. Ms Irene Florence M. Kasyanju, Ambassador of the United Republic of Tanzania to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Photography: Embassy of Tanzania in The Hague.

The Dutch government and a group of companies active in the potato industry are set to build a Center for the development of the Potato Industry in the southern Tanzanian town of Mbeya. Senior Government officials signed a manifesto to begin the project during the Tanzania Agribusiness Event in The Hague on May 31st. The Netherlands is the world leader in the potato sector, with Dutch seed potatoes accounting for 60% of worldwide potato production. While over 500 different varieties of potato are grown in The Netherlands, in Tanzania only four varieties are used. “Potatoes are widely consumed in Tanzania, but the demand outstrips the supply by far,” said Mathew Mtigumwe, Permanent Secretary at the Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture during the event, which was organized by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl), The Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Embassy of the United Republic of Tanzania and the Netherlands-African Business Council (NABC). Tanzanian farmers often harvest no more that 7- 8 tons per hectare, well below the 30 tons that could be reached with high-quality seed-potatoes and improved farming techniques. “This Center can have a great impact on research and training. With this great initiative, the potato business can finally take off,” Mr. Mtibumwe said.



The new potato Center will be co-financed by the Dutch ministry of Economic affairs (USD 4 million) and a group of nine companies that are active in the potato industry. Some of them are seed-potato growers whilst others supply cool stores or crop protection. “This is an example of the new Dutch approach: business development instead of aid,” said Frank Wijnands of Wageningen University & Research. Mr. Wijnands has, together with Ingrid Korving of the ministry of Economic Affairs, been instrumental in the creation of the potato Center. “This is a win-win situation,” explained Mr. Wijnands. “By contributing to the potato Center, the companies that are the ‘founding fathers’ of the Center stand a better chance of entering the Tanzanian market. Meanwhile, the Center will support the development of the Tanzanian potato value chain by demonstrating and showcasing new approaches, training of professionals and supporting Tanzanian companies. In this way, Tanzanian potato growers can find their way into the technology of boosting the productivity of the potato crop. If investing in that will double or triple their production, they’ll certainly see the benefits,” Mr. Wijnands said.


Jan-Willem Sepers of Europlant is one of the co-investors of the potato Center. “Tanzania is a politically stable country and some of the areas are very suitable for potatoes,” Mr. Sepers said. Our seed potato company already

distributes 125 different potato varieties around the world. In Tanzania we now have two listed varieties. If this value chain in Tanzania professionalizes, there will be more demand for other varieties. With its growing middle class and access to neighboring countries, it is important to be in Tanzania.” Remko Kruithof of Hanse Staalbouw is also a partner in the potato Center. “Tanzania has two potato seasons per year, and then the market gets flooded. Therefore, prices are low. We recently designed cool-stores for potato growers in Kenya that enable the farmers to preserve the potatoes much longer, so they can sell them throughout the year, also at times when prices are higher. By joining this initiative, we hope to see a market develop in Tanzania as well,” Mr. Kruithof said. The construction of the physical Center in the southern town of Mbeya has been planned for later this year. The activities, however, will start after summer, according to Mr. Wijnands, who is also the project manager of the Center. “We are going to support every phase of the potato value chain from production and storage to processing to marketing. Producing more potatoes will bring a lot of extra money into the rural economy.” Mathew Mtigumwe of the Ministry of Agriculture in Tanzania is also eying a quick process. When asked what changes he expects to see over the next five years, he answered: “Five years? In fact, we hope that within one year things will change. In southern Tanzania there is very little commercial potato growth, but it will soon rise.”



Lithuania AND THE NETHERLANDS DEVELOP STRONG PARTNERSHIP By H.E. Mr Vidmantas Purlys, Ambassador of Lithuania to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Photography: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania.

Lithuania and the Netherlands develop strong partnership which could make important contribution to strengthening European security and competitiveness.

Lithuania and the Netherlands co-operate in many areas and at different levels, ranging from security to economy. Both countries share similar values of democratic governance, rule of law, human rights, openness to trade and innovation. Lithuania and the Netherlands are partners in the European Union, including the euro area, and allies in NATO. The intensity of co-operation achieved to this date is remarkable, notwithstanding the fact that it was terminated by the Soviet occupation of 1940, and was only resumed after the reestablishment of the state in 1990. The Netherlands and other Western nations never recognized Soviet occupation of Lithuania of 1940-1990. It was an important expression of solidarity with Lithuanians who continued resistance to the Soviet rule. It is quite striking, that even during this period the diplomatic network of the independent Lithuania was continuously functioning with diplomatic posts to the Holly Sea, in Washington and London. This represented continuation of the state. Also, it showed dedication of Lithuanian diplomats of that period, and set high moral standard to the colleagues who joined diplomatic community after 1990. Today the Netherlands is one of leading trade partners of Lithuania. 20 per cent of cargo handled by the Lithuanian Klaipėda sea port is forwarded via Rotterdam. The Netherlands is also second largest investor in Lithuania and second destination for Lithuanian investments. Dutch investors avail of favourable Lithuanian business climate and are increasingly active across


number of sectors, including information and telecommunications technologies, pharmaceuticals and others. Also recently a number of innovative small and medium size Dutch technology companies opened up their businesses in Lithuania. The area of particular interest of co-operation is energy. As legacy of the past, Lithuania was heavily depended of energy supplies from external actors, who also used their monopoly position for political ends. Therefore, diversification of supply sources for electricity and gas, as well as integration with EU infrastructure networks, was national priority since early 1990s. In 2014 LNG terminal was docked at the Klaipėda port. The construction of this terminal has significantly changed supply situation and was shaping the dynamics of the Baltic regional gas market. This is genuinely regional infrastructure with capacity of supplying also regional needs. A number of enterprises deliver gas to the Klaipėda LNG, most recently also US and Dutch companies. In this context, there are many opportunities for further bilateral co-operation on technological innovation, research and business practices. These venues of co-operation were already addressed at the 3rd Lithuanian-Netherlands Gas Forum in Vilnius this November. As to the broader EU agenda, in many respects Lithuania and the Netherlands hold similar view on most important issues. I believe that both countries would like to see that the EU develops in consolidated way, effectively delivers on the most pressing priorities by making full use of instruments

provided by the current Treaties. Lithuania favours removing remaining restrictions in the EU internal market, notably for services and energy, and pressing forward with the creation of digital single market. We should also work to complete the Banking Union and the Capital Markets Union of the Economic and Monetary Union. We need to continue addressing migration, border protection and security. EU has to pursue effective external policies, especially towards EU’s immediate neighbourhood. In particular, Lithuania and the Netherlands should continue explore ways to join efforts in supporting EU-related reforms of EU Eastern Partners. In recent years Lithuania and the Netherlands stepped up co-operation in security and defence, especially in NATO framework, in response to security challenges for the Alliance. The Netherlands contributed to the NATO Baltic Air Policing, and since 2017 Dutch contingent is deployed as part of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence battalion battle group in Lithuania. Countries also work both bilaterally, in EU and NATO, on addressing hybrid security risks, such as cyber, propaganda and others.




By H.E. Eleftheria Galathianaki, Ambassador of Greece to the Kingdom of Belgium. Photography: Othodoxia.be.

This year’s March 25th is a day to remember both for Greece and for Europe. Greece’s national day, on March 25th, commemorates the Greek Revolution for Independence (1821). In 2017, this date coincides with the 60-year anniversary of the Rome Treaty, the birth of the European Union, as well as the embodiment of its founding values of peace, liberty, democracy and solidarity. It is therefore a date of double importance for the Greek people, as we celebrate the values that we fought for two centuries ago and share with our EU partners today. Furthermore, EU member-states face common challenges and share common aspirations, working together, not only in the context of the EU, but also bilaterally, on the basis of our common values. As the President

of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Prokopios Pavlopoulos, has stated: ”We, the Greeks, are paying a heavy financial and social price, but we persevere and fulfil our obligations to remain part of the EU project”. I have the honour to represent Greece in Belgium, one of the founding EU member-states; therefore I could not but emphasize the importance of our common European destiny. In these difficult times, with the multitude of challenges the EU is facing, such as Brexit and the ongoing refugee and migrant crisis, we should protect and promote the achievements of our Union. Of course, differences do and will continue to exist, but we should allow them neither to conceal the reality of our successes, nor to mislead our peoples. In this context, ensuring continued solidarity between our nations is of primary importance.

Confronted with the immense challenge of the refugee/migration flows and a concurrent economic crisis, Greece has had to make huge sacrifices, in order to fulfil its commitments. Furthermore, the Greek people have paid a heavy financial and social price, to safeguard our position in the hard core of the EU. I trust that in the light of the upcoming 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, the EU will reaffirm and further enhance the principles having shaped Europe during these last decades. They are the same ideas still defining our common future: belief in our shared values, solidarity, cooperation and, finally, a common vision for our continent as a beacon of peace, liberty and prosperity for all.


Eurojust’s new premises in the International Quarter of The Hague The President of Eurojust, Michèle Coninsx, hosted hosted October 4th the official visit of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander for the opening ceremony of Eurojust’s new premises in the International Quarter of The Hague. His Majesty was accompanied by Mr. Jaap Smit, King’s Commissioner in the Province of South Holland, and Mrs. Pauline C. Krikke, Mayor of the City of The Hague.


His Majesty was introduced to Eurojust staff and attended parts of an operational coordination meeting, followed by a debriefing and attended the opening ceremony and unveiled a commemorative plaque, followed by a reception in the lobby The new building of Eurojust is a joint project of the Municipality of The Hague, the Ministry of Security and Justice and the Central Government Real Estate Agency of the Dutch government, Heijmans and Eurojust. It was designed by Mecanoo-Haskoning-DS and accommodates national representatives of the 28 EU Member States and three third States, supported by an Administration.



costa rica IBERO-AMERICA AND THE CAUSE FOR INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE By H.E. Sergio Ugalde, Ambassador of Costa Rica to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Photography: Kim Vermaat.

I wish to begin by emphasizing the importance of international law for the Ibero-American region. There are many contributions from Ibero-America that have significantly helped the systematization of international law, whether by jurisprudence, hermeneutics or positive codification. Globally there is full awareness of these contributions and relevance of international law for the region, which relies overwhelmingly on the resolution of its disputes by mediation, arbitration or compulsory contentious jurisdiction; and by means of the considerable range of existing forums, from arbitral tribunals to courts in the field of the Law of the Sea, Human Rights and / or International Criminal Justice, and of course, the International Court of Justice.

them greater flexibility in the interpretation of international law, thus accommodating it to the political needs of the moment, to fit a certain doctrine of international law, and, in some cases, to a vision of power. There are many areas still in need of legislative progress, ranging from the responsibility of states to the establishment of a compulsory universal contentious jurisdiction. This reflection does not mean that the future of international justice is ominous, what it means is that there still plenty of work ahead.

Today I wish to briefly refer to the current situation of international justice and to offer you an idea of where, in the end, it must evolve.

Of course we also celebrate that international law and justice, as never before in the history of mankind, has made significant progress in the last 70 years. The fragmentation, of which I spoke earlier, is also testimony to a system under construction, despite its current limitations. As a well-known professor of international law pointed out “there is a system of international law, even if it is imperfect.� But in recognizing the progress achieved, we cannot lose sight of the importance of its evolution, which goes hand in hand with its harmonization and systematization.

In spite of significant advances in the creation and promotion of forums focused on the various fields of international justice, we are still far from a true and effective harmonized system of international law and justice. This is basically due to the fragmentation that exists in the systematization, some contradictions in the positive codification, and also as a result of the competition that is generated among the international justice forums themselves. This fragmentation is also promoted by some States, which seek to have a tailor made justice, or, by thinking that fragmentation allows

In looking at the state of international relations today, even when it can be judged that multilateralism suffers from the erosion inflicted by a growing nationalism, I consider that erosion to be only temporary. Although there are many tasks pending, as you surely have been able to appreciate, there is one that I consider essential. In the systematization of international justice much more work is still pending concerning the task of homologation of practice and jurisprudence, so to ensure consistency. The outbreak of decisions by all kinds of courts and tribunals, national


and international, makes certain aspects of international justice, and international law at large, inconsistent or conflicting, which in turn undermines legal certainty, and when there is no legal certainty, confidence in the justice system is lost. This situation forces us to develop a true institutionalization of international justice, the last stop of a process of systematization, in other words, the establishment of a permanent and universal institutional architecture of international law, to ensure its consistency, and thereby strengthen legal security. Whether this is a task of the United Nations, or whether States spontaneously are willing to organize themselves to create a supranational structure that achieves that goal, is something that is subject to debate. In fact, the United Nations International Law Commission is an example of the organizational effort in that regard, and its work has been remarkable. However, the task is still far from complete. This is not a matter of creating bureaucracy by the bureaucracy itself. It is the establishment of an international authority tasked with the overall management of international justice. Someone will say that this international authority already exists, which is the International Court of Justice. Although the ICJ fulfills the role of being the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, it does not fulfill the criterion of being an international authority for overall justice management. First, the ICJ does not possess compulsory universal jurisdiction. Second, its competence (other than its jurisdiction) is also restricted since, for example, it cannot

diplomatAMBASSADORIAL resolve a multitude of disputes between States due to the existence of limitations ratione temporis and ratione personae. Nor does it have codification authority, although it has the power to interpret existing international law, be this codified or its general principles. And while this latter characteristic makes the ICJ the most relevant judicial body worldwide, it lacks other indispensable functions of an authority for international justice, like the fact that its judicial sentences cannot be truly enforced by it. While judicial decisions must be observed in good faith, and courts cannot become on the ground law enforcers, there is a void because even good faith is subject to the interpretation and the temperature of international politics. Whilst the Charter of the United Nations gives a degree of attribution of law enforcement to the Security Council, this attribution, we know, is in fact a euphemism because, with very few exceptions, the Security Council is strictly a political body dominated by geopolitical interests, whose inability to act is manifest.

I conclude by observing that the idea of creating a permanent institution of international justice, with compulsory universal jurisdiction, with no jurisdictional limit, capable of enforcing judicial decisions without political interference, and which also contributes to the systematization of international law, seems a fantasy. However, in defense of this idea, I note that only 25 years ago to think that humanity would have a permanent International Criminal Court, which would judge the worst crimes against humanity, with no opposable immunity of heads of State, and which recognized the central role of victims within the system, was nothing short of an eccentricity. And yet here we are, nearly 20 years since the adoption of the Rome Statute, with 124 States Parties, with more than 10 years of judicial work of the International Criminal Court, with a number of historical judgments already handed down, and presided by a remarkable Ibero-American judge: Ms. Silvia FernĂĄndez de Gurmendi.

Sergio Ugalde is the Ambassador of Costa Rica to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, has been his country’s advocate and co-agent before the International Court of Justice in six cases, has been invited to be speaker and lecturer on international law, including at the Hague Academy of International Law, and is currently the Vice-President of the Assembly of States Parties to the International Criminal Court. He is also the Chairman of the Hague Working Group of the Bureau of the International Criminal Court.

In the excellent opportunity that we have today, I invite to debate, to criticize constructively, and to propose how to build a robust system of international law.


Latin American Table An Overview of Trade Relations Between the United States and Latin America Presentation by Mrs. Sherry Keneson-Hall, Counselor for Public Affairs of the US Embassy to the Kingdom of The Netherlands The Latin Table hosted a presentation on trade relations between the United States and Latin America on September 29 by Sherry Keneson-Hall, the Public Affairs Counselor from the Embassy of the United States of America in The Hague. Keneson-Hall spoke about the role of the U.S. Trade Representative in trade agreements and negotiations. She highlighted the main imports from the U.S. and exports to the U.S. of 19 Latin American countries including: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, and Mexico. She also spoke of the benefits of trade agreements and provided an overview of the history of diplomatic relations between the United States and Latin America, which spans nearly 200 years. The presentation was followed by a question and answer session that brought to light some of the questions surrounding the foreign policy of the current administration. The presentation was attended by diplomats, trade representatives, business contacts and members of De Witte. DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE #7

Mrs. Sherry Keneson-Hall, Counselor for Public Affairs from the United States Embassy to the Kingdom of The Netherlands, delivering her presentation, Mrs. Sonia de Meijer and Mr. Jorge E. Colombo Taricco, Chair and Vice-Chair of the Latin American Table



ASA, Ambassadors’ Spouses’ Association The Hague, taken into the autumn season with bliss. By Roy Lie A Tjam.

In September ASA members were invited to a luncheon hosted by Dr. Dirulba Nasrin, Spouse of the Ambassador of Bangladesh, guests were presented colorful orchids upon arrival.

First Lady honored with African Woman Personality of the Year & African Heroine Awards The annual Voice Achievers’ Award in Amsterdam, the Netherlands took place on 17th November 2017. This year’s ceremony celebrated the First Lady of the Republic of Rwanda, Mrs. Jeannette Kagame, Founder and Chairperson of Imbuto Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to support the development of a healthy, educated and prosperous society in Rwanda and beyond. She was honored with “African Woman Personality of the year & African Heroine Awards”.

The objective of the luncheon was twofold: the usual reunion of the ASA with the addition of welcoming prospective ASA members. It was also an appropriate opportunity to take leave of departing members.

The award was received by Ambassador Jean-Pierre Karabaranga, Ambassador of Rwanda to the Netherlands. Ambassador Karabaranga was accompanied by his spouse and members of the Rwandan community in the Netherlands.

Datin Linda Zin, spouse of the Ambassador of Malaysia welcomed the members and invitees.

The Voice Achievers Award is established in the Netherlands, as a project of The Voice Magazine to recognize Africans and friends of Africa of outstanding achievement on a yearly basis. Since 2012, the award took a global outlook recognizing people outside of the Netherlands.

There was a session for newly arrived Ambassadors’ spouses to introduce themselves who included: Dita from Lithuania, has a daughter, Karin from Norway has two children. The boy was born in Madrid, Spain and prides himself on being a Madrelleno, and currently, studies in Utah. The girl was born in Abu Dhabi, and she’s currently a university student who is envisaging a sabbatical next year to Africa. Laura from Uruguay- a career diplomat, a former Ambassador to Geneva with a specialization in human rights, And Patricia, Mexico who delivered an animated presentation. She spoke of her 3 children whom she misses a lot; however, she longs for her six grandchildren more than anyone else. Patricia attends Dutch classes. Dr. Dirulba Nasrin an Epidemiologist and full-time faculty member at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, gave a passionate expose about the background of her profession and research effort in Africa and Asia. A fabulous Bangladeshi lunch concluded the event.


Last year, the Embassy of Rwanda in the Netherlands was awarded the Best African Embassy within the Netherlands, according to the Statement from the Embassy.


Bosnia: H.E. Mirsada Colakovic Canada: H.E. Sabine Nölke Tanzania: H.E. Ms. Irene Florence M. Kasyanju - Ambassador Marriët Schuurman Austria: H.E. Dr Heidemaria Gürer Pakistan: H.E. Mrs. Iffat Imran Gardezi Kosovo: H.E. Vjosa Dobruna Estonia: H.E. Ms Kaili Terras Portugal: H.E. Mrs. Rosa Batoréu Albania: H.E. Adia Sakiqi Chile: H.E. Maria Teresa de Jesus Infante Caffi Palestine: H.E. Rawan Sulaiman Lebanon: Ms. Abir Ali Romania: H.E. Brandusa Predescu Brazil: H.E. Ms. Regina Maria Cordeiro Dunlop Cameroon: H.E. Odette Melono New Zealand: H.E. Ms. Lyndal Elizabeth Walker Vietnam: H.E. Ngo Thi Hoa Croatia: H.E. Andrea Gustovic Ercegovac Germany to the OPCW: Ms.Christine Weil Burundi: H.E. Vestine Nahimana

ladies ambassador group

THE AMBASSADOR’S LUNCH By Diplomat Magazine. Photography: Hester Dijkstra.

The Ladies Ambassador group of The Hague composed by 34 ambassadors credited to the Netherlands met for a lunch hosted by H.E. Ambassador Heidemaria Guerer of Austria. The Guest of Honour was Ambassador Marriët Schuurman, Head of UN Security Council Task Force from The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The host offered a traditional Austrian menu at the great salon of the official residence of the Austrian Ambassador. The wine served during the lunch came from Ambassador Guerer private vineyards in Austria.

Table conversation commenced with Ambassador Schuurman answering questions about the actions taken by the Netherlands in the Caribbean after hurricane Irma recently affected St Marteen. Further, she talked about the focus of the Netherlands in countries including Venezuela, Myanmar, Somalia and South Sudan. Additionally, she spoke about the Dutch peace keeping experience in Mali. As Ambassador Schuurman explained, more than 90% of Dutch agenda focuses on the prevention and solving of situations involving the most suffering. This manifests as protection and peacekeeping among civilians. To further elaborate, she exposed that the new security challenges of contemporary society are extremism, migration and climate change, particularly in water conflicts.

According to Ambassador Schuurman, going forward the Netherlands will continue to lead the way in preventing extremism, combatting climate change, and aiding hurricane victims. Next year the Netherlands will be able to continue this leadership, as they will chair the UN Security Council in March 2018. Ambassador Schuurman foresees the Netherlands will …’will look for larger coalitions, inclusion and making the accent in an agenda for equal participation working with all members with transparency.’

“More than 90% of Dutch agenda focuses on the prevention and solving of situations involving the most suffering.” Ambassador Schuurman




We’re building it now. Billions invested in world-class rail, bridge, airport and road links. Culture, sports and lifestyle developments on a grand scale.

That’s Hong Kong. Connected city. Finance city. Culture city. Smart city. Your

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hong kong FEAST STRAIGHT OUT OF A MARTIAL ARTS CLASSIC Any kind of food, it would seem, can be found in culinary paradise Hong Kong, from Michelin-starred restaurants to tasty and authentic street food. The 2017 guide references 49 different cuisines and 61 starred-restaurants, including six awarded three stars, a rich offering indeed for a territory 30 times smaller than Belgium. Only the select few food fanatics would be zealous and bold enough to attempt recreating in real life the fanciful and extravagant dishes that existed only in fiction, and this had never been done outside Hong Kong.

When the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Brussels (HKETO, Brussels) decided to crown its 2017 celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region with a martial arts-themed gala dinner, with dishes inspired by Jin Yong’s classic, The Legend of the Eagle-Shooting Heroes, Hong Kong’s Chinese Culinary Institute (CCI) was quick to accept the challenge. Founded in the year 2000, the CCI is the biggest culinary educational institution in Hong Kong, offering programmes for both beginners and for professionals wishing to upgrade their skills. They can learn the main Chinese regional styles of cooking, each with its dedicated kitchen and served in the institute’s own restaurant. Particular emphasis, of course, is placed on Hong Kong’s own

Cantonese cuisine, renowned for its delicious and endlessly varied dim sum dumplings. Such is the institute’s reputation for excellence that once they graduate, students are quickly snapped up by restaurants and hotels in Hong Kong and the region - the CCI boasts a 96% employment rate. With its practice of encouraging a creative approach and a modern interpretation of classic dishes, the CCI was excited rather than daunted by the challenge of turning the gastronomic fantasies of Jin Yong’s masterpiece into reality. CCI chefs, assisted by their students, used their skills and talent to create and cook an eight-course feast of aromatic dishes with poetic references, served at two gala dinners hosted by HKETO, Brussels, one in Paris on 19 October and the other in Brussels on 24 October.

Chefs and students of Hong Kong’s Chinese Culinary Institute turned the gastronomic fancies of Jin Yong’s novel “The Legend of the Eagle-Shooting Heroes” into reality. The ham used to make “Twenty-four Bridges of Moonlight” can be seen in the centre of the picture.



advertorial This is how one of these culinary delights, so delicious that it earned its name from a line of a Tang poem – “Twenty-four Bridges of Moonlight”, is made. Twenty-four holes are scooped out of a Jinhua ham, which are then artfully filled with 24 little spheres skillfully carved from a piece of tofu. Bound and steamed, the ham produces a wonderful, savoury taste, absorbed by the tofu. Having served its purpose, the ham is then discarded, and the 24 white moon-like spheres can be served. This was just one of the dishes cooked by the book’s heroine, Huang Rong, for powerful martial arts master Hong Qiqong.

Knowing he was a gourmet in constant pursuit of sensual enjoyment, she used her remarkable cooking talents to tempt him to agree to teach her lover Guo Jing the 18 powerful kung fu moves known as “The Art of Taming Dragons”. The story is as familiar to Hong Kong and other Chinese people, growing up reading Jin Yong’s books and watching the many television series and films derived from them, as the tales of King Arthur and the Round Table are to people in the West. The enjoyment of guests at the gala dinners was further enhanced by the expert performances of martial arts athletes from the Hong Kong Wushu Union, all gold medallists in various competitions.

Special Representative for Hong Kong Economic and Trade Affairs to the European Union, Ms Shirley Lam, introduced some of Hong Kong’s achievements over the past 20 years. She told guests, who included members of the diplomatic corps, the European institutions, the Belgian government, business people, academics and the media, that Hong Kong enjoys a unique advantage under “one country, two systems”. “We benefit greatly from strong links with the Mainland of China and, at the same time, we retain our separate legal, financial and economic systems. We have used our experience and skills in doing business with the outside world for over half a century. Our international outlook and connectivity and the high degree of autonomy we enjoy has given us an edge”. Ms Lam said that the best is yet to come for Hong Kong, as the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government continues to strive to make the city even more competitive and connected.


advertorial “Our Chief Executive Mrs Carrie Lam, in her first Policy Address delivered on 11 October, outlined a full range of proposals to promote and facilitate Hong Kong to be an ideal place for companies to expand their business, and also a more liveable and smarter city for our people and visitors.” Ms Lam also spoke about the new measures to make the tax system even more business friendly, the Government’s strategy to boost innovation and technology development, mega infrastructural projects that are underway and the unique opportunities Hong Kong will enjoy under the Belt and Road Initiative and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area development.

Picture left page: Athletes from the Hong Kong Wushu Union recreate a scene from one of Jin Yong’s martial arts novels. Picture right page: Ms Shirley Lam (centre), presents copies of the works of Jin Yong to Ms Benedicte Vaerman, Collection Expert China of KU Leuven Libraries Artes, and to Professor Dr Guido Van Huylenbroeck of the University of Gent.


WUXIA LITERATURE AND CINEMA, AN ESSENTIAL PART OF HONG KONG IDENTITY Chinese martial arts, often named under the umbrella term of wushu or kung fu, involve exercising the mind as well as the body, a strenuous and continued effort devoted to one’s pursuit. This resonates with the Hong Kong spirit – strive for perfection, never give up, and at the same time, be skillful and flexible in facing challenges. Wuxia literature has a long history. Xia were soldiers originally fighting for one of the contending Warring States, who later became knights-errant of the common people, fighting against injustice and corruption. The genre was revived in Hong Kong in the 1950s and flourished there, alongside the cinema it inspired. Louis Cha published his first martial arts novel, The Book and the Sword, in 1955 under the pen name Jin Yong. It was a huge success and he went on to write a total of 14 novels and one short story which have deeply influenced the popular culture of Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan and Macao. The Hong Kong Heritage Museum honoured Dr Cha by opening a Jin Yong Gallery earlier this year (www.heritagemuseum.gov.hk/en).




Special Representative for Hong Kong Economic and Trade Affairs to the EU, Ms Shirley Lam, presents an award to the winning team at the Oxfam Trailwalker.

hong kong TWENTY YOUNG PEOPLE “WALK THE HONG KONG SPIRIT” AT THE OXFAM TRAILWALKER As one of its initiatives to mark this special year, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Brussels (HKETO, Brussels) brought 20 young people from Hong Kong to participate in the 100-kilometre Oxfam Trailwalker challenge in Belgium’s High Fens around Eupen on 26-27 August.


advertorial The challenge consists in teams of four walkers having to complete a 100km trek in no more than 30 hours. Although it is now a worldwide event that takes place in nine countries over four continents, the first Trailwalker was first held in Hong Kong in 1981 as a Gurkha training exercise, before it was taken over by Oxfam in 1997. In view of this special link, HKETO, Brussels was happy to sponsor the event. The 20 young people, all 20 years old, the same age as the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, successfully completed the arduous trek, showing the true Hong Kong “can do” spirit. In addition to the five teams of young people, seven Hong Kong adult teams also “Walked the Hong Kong Spirit”, including “Fearless Dragon”, a team of walkers with disabilities. There was also a shorter VIP walk. The Belgian team that raised the largest sum of money for charity was invited to Hong Kong to take part in the Oxfam Trailwalker there, held on 17-19 November 2017.

During their week-long visit, the group of twenty-year-olds learnt more about Belgium and the EU through a series of briefings on topics ranging from youth policies to climate change. They were taken on guided tours to major sites, including World War I locations and the battlefield of Waterloo. The group also visited a project in Boom near Antwerp, where De Steenschuit offers traineeships to people who have been unemployed for at least one year. In 2013, it started the construction of a replica of the RV Belgica, a wooden three-mast ship in which famous Belgian explorer Adrien de Gerlache sailed to the South Pole on an international expedition of discovery in 1897. Once it is completed, the New Belgica will take part in tall ship events and take pride of place in Antwerp’s new Museum for Maritime Heritage, to be opened in the docks in 2023. The project is supported among others by funds raised at the annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in Antwerp, organised by Rotary Club Antwerp West and supported by HKETO, Brussels.

Picture on the right: The Deputy Representative of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Brussels (HKETO, Brussels), Miss Alice Choi (front row, second right); the Assistant Representative of the HKETO, Brussels, Mr Jeffrey Chim (front row, first right); the Chairman of the Belgium-Hong Kong Society, Mr Piet Steel (front row, first left); and founder of the International Polar Foundation, Mr Alain Hubert (back row, second left), participated in the Oxfam VIP walk and greeted the walkers of a Hong Kong team, the Fearless Dragon, at the Hong Kong Checkpoint. Picture below: The group of young people from Hong Kong visited the De Steenschuit project, which is building a replica of historic ship Belgica.





H.E. Saywan Barzani. Ambassador of Iraq

The heart of an ancient Empire By Roy Lie A Tjam. Photography: the Museum of Antiquities of Leiden.

Approximately 2 700 years ago, Nineveh was the capital city of the Assyrian Empire and the largest city in the world. The city was ruled by King Sennacherib and it was through his ruling that its expansion and prosperity became one that would leave a trace of greatness and power at the mention of its name – even thousands of generations later. Rich with religious significance. Oozing with archaic beauty. Saved, once again, from a probable demise, a modern-day rebirth of the great city of Nineveh was witnessed on 19 October 2017, when an impressive exposition of the city was inaugurated at The National Museum of Antiquities. The event, which took place in Leiden, featured more than 250 of the ancient city’s artifacts. To make up the collection was a spectacle assortment of reliefs, statues, clay tablets, as well as cylinder seals. The large reliefs from the city palaces and the reconstruction of one of the rooms of King Sennacherib’s palace, were easily and understandably the most favored exhibits of the event as they organically evoked a particular interest in the guests. The archeological treasures, of the exhibition, came from more than 25 lenders - with renowned institutions such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art N.Y., British Museum, Louvre Museum Paris and the National Museum of Iraq, Bagdad, being amongst them.


The exhibition was sponsored by the Embassy of the Republic of Iraq in the Netherlands and supported by several national and international organizations. Jet Bussenmaker, Dutch Minister for Education Culture and Science, did the official opening to the exhibition. In her inaugural address, Bussenmaker cited the opening lines of the Bible book of Jonah, saying, “The word of God came to Jo’nah, the son of A·mit’tai, saying: ‘Get up, go to Nin’e·veh+ the great city, and proclaim judgment against her, for their wickedness has come to my attention.’ 3 But Jo’nah got up to run away from God to Tar’shish; he went down to Jop’pa and found a ship going to Tar’shish. So he paid the fare and went aboard to go with them to Tar’shish, away from God.” Other speakers at the inaugural ceremony were Mr. Weijland, Director of the National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden, and Irira Bokova, Director General of UNESCO, whose address was a video-recorded message, screened to the guests at the event. All these were followed by a much anticipated address by the Ambassador of Iraq, H.E. Saywan Barzani. ‘Guests from all over the world, allow me first to thank all of you for making this happens. Special thank goes to both: Mr. Wim Weijland and Ms. Anna de Wit of National Museum of Antiquities and their team, Nineveh, Heart of an Ancient Empire has brought us together to celebrate the opening of this Exhibition. The collaboration of many museums and institution from different parts of the world makes it a success

H.E. Brandusa Predescu Ambassador of Romania, H.E. Heidemaria Gurer, Ambassador of Austria , H.E. Mrs. Sabine Nölke, Ambassador of Canada and Ms Abir Ali, Chargé d’affaires du Lebanon.

to let everyone have a chance to see, at the same time, the beauty and power of Nineveh and Mesopotamia. Iraq has deep richness in artefacts that are still to be discovered with more than 12,000 registered archaeological sites. Nineveh is not a new name, its name and/or people have been mentioned in both the Bible and Quran; a great city preserved the past, the past of great ancient empire. Today as we celebrate this important event, Iraq is about to have its land freed from ISIS (IS) totally. IS tried to destroy the whole Mesopotamian civilization in the region, the destruction to historical sites caused by IS should make us more vigilant, united and cooperative than ever. Iraq is grateful for the efforts of international community aiming to preserve the cultural heritage in Iraq, among them, the UN Resolution A/69/L.71 in May 2015, strict monitoring system of many UN member-states against smuggling artefacts and returning them back to its country of origin, UNESCO engagement is of value in this venue, not to mention the role of the host country, The Netherlands, Prince Claus Fund is a great example in this field.’


ceremony of merit for the Ambassador of lebanon abir ali By Diplomat Magazine. Photography: Roy Strik.

The time has come to say ‘until next time’ to another brilliant, dedicated and effective diplomat, who leaves behind many great accomplishments and a plethora of newfound friends. Diplomat Magazine celebrated Ms. Abir Ali, Chargé d’affaires of Lebanon for her successful time in the Netherlands by awarding her a Certificate of Merit. The event was packed with colleagues, ambassadors, and personal friends. The room filled to the point of needing more chairs, hugs and gifts were exchanged, and many congratulated Ms. Ali for her wonderful work while in The Hague. After the playing of the Dutch and Lebanese national anthems, H.E. Abdelouahab Bellouki, Ambassador of Morocco, took the floor to analyze the deeper meaning of Abir’s name in different cultures and her outstanding career. Additionally, he mentioned her exceptional performance in the Hague and emphasized their personal friendship.

The reception was a tremendous manifestation of friendship among colleagues from every continent. A guest described the atmosphere as a ‘salon was full of love.’ To preserve the memory, group pictures with all ambassadors together were taken. However, instead of lining up in U.N. order, the ambassadors simply gathered in enthusiasm wearing smiles on their faces. The merriness continued as teary-eyed participants joined together to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to the Apostolic Nuncio, H.E. Aldo Cavalli, who was completely taken by surprise. The music of Fayrouz and Paolo Conte, favourites of Ms Ali started, filled the room. Guests shared an enormous delicious cake made by Marta Orban, an exclusive creation for Ms Abir Ali. It featured the Lebanon flag, pastel colors and enormous bouquet of sugar flowers representing her attachment and loyalty for her country, her joy and her beauty.

Ms. Ali’s personal qualities and overextended network deemed worthy of a second speaker, this time the Cameroon Ambassador and dear friend of Abir, H.E. Odette Melono. Ms. Melono took to the floor to praise Ms. Ali’s contributions to the diplomatic community of the Hague. Ms. Abir Ali’s farewell words were dedicated to her colleagues, the Hague’s international institutions including the ICC and the OPCW in which she played a powerful role, the Netherlands as a host country, and Diplomat Magazine.

Ms Abir Ali, Chargé d’affaires of Lebanon

H.E. Odette Melono, Ambassdor of Cameroon

for more pictures see: diplomatmagazine.nl


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The Deutsche Bank KunstHalle is showing a comprehensive retrospective of Fahrelnissa Zeid (b. 1901, Istanbul, d. 1991, Amman) and the third presentation resulting from the cooperation between the KunstHalle and Tate Modern in London. Fahrelnissa Zeid was a pioneering artist best known for her large-scale colorful canvases—some over five meters wide—which reveal her unique vision and distinctive abstract style. This major exhibition brings together paintings, drawings and sculptures spanning over 40 years—from expressionist works made in Istanbul in the early 1940s, to immersive abstract canvases exhibited in London, Paris and New York in the 1950s and 1960s, finishing with her return to portraiture later in life. Celebrating her extraordinary career, the exhibition presents Zeid as an important figure in the international story of abstract art. Right: Self-Portrait, 1944 Under: My Hell, 1951 Pictures by Ra’ad bin Zeid Al Hussein

Zeid was one of the first women to receive formal training as an artist in Istanbul, continuing her studies in Paris in the late 1920s. The show begins with her breakthrough moment in the early 1940s, when she championed experimental approaches to painting and began to exhibit with the avant-garde d Group in Turkey. The works from the early part of Zeid’s career demonstrate her affinities with and divergence from international art movements, blending European painting traditions with Oriental themes. In 1946 Zeid and her husband, Prince Zeid Al-Hussein of the Hashemite royal family, moved to the UK where he had been posted as Iraqi Ambassador. Dividing her time between London and Paris, Zeid’s exhibitions were well received by critics and artists alike, cementing her position as one of the great female artists working in the post-war period. Key paintings from her 1954 show at the ICA in London feature in this exhibition, such as My Hell 1951 and The Octopus of Triton 1953, representing the artist at the height of her career as well as the complex range of influences and life experiences she drew upon. When the Hashemite royal family in Iraq was decimated in a military coup in Iraq in 1958, Zeid and her husband were forced to vacate the embassy—and her studio —in London. In response to the coup, and perhaps in recognition of her own mortality, Zeid made a return to figurative painting. For the last 20 years of her career she painted portraits of her friends and family with exaggerated features that aim to capture the ‘spirit’ of the sitter. The artist also began experimenting with painting

on turkey and chicken bones, which she later cast in polyester resin panels evocative of stained-glass windows. Zeid died in 1991, aged 89, in Amman, Jordan, having exhibited across Europe, the USA, and the Middle East. She left behind a remarkable visual legacy of her extraordinary life as well as a significant contribution to the global history of modernism. Fahrelnissa Zeid is curated by Kerryn Greenberg, Curator (International Art) and Vassilis Oikonomopoulos, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue from Tate Publishing. It is available at the ArtShop of the KunstHalle with an insert in German. A programme of talks and events are in the gallery. After the premiere at Tate Modern this summer and the presentation at the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle in Berlin, the exhibition will be on view at the Sursock Museum in Beirut in April 2018.


“Leben? oder Theater? Ein Singespiel” (“Life? or Theatre? A Musical Play”) A UNIQUE EXPOSITION IN THE JEWISH HISTORICAL MUSEUM IN AMSTERDAM UNTIL MARCH 25TH 2018. By John Dunkelgrün.

Salomon (1917-1943), perhaps the least known of the great 20th century painters has produced an absolutely unique oeuvre. It comprises some 1600 paintings and gouaches that depict her life story. Her work cannot be properly understood without knowing that life story. While many of her works sohw her to be very much part of the mid 20th century art scene, it is as a total story that her work has unique value. She was born into a wealthy family in Berlin. Her father was a famous doctor, who is credited with the invention of the mammogram. The family was at the center of Berlin’s cultural life and she grew up in a huge and fashionable apartment surrounded by servants. However, there was a deep dark streak in the family with her aunt, her mother and much later her grandmother committing suicide. Her father remarried a well known contralto four years after his wife’s death. Meanwhile Charlotte (as she is generally known) had developed a love

Self portrait of Charlotte Salomon for art. In 1935 she was, surprisingly for a Jew at the time, admitted to Berlin’s Academy of arts, because “her character was so modest and reserved, it would not pose a threat to male Aryan students”. Nevertheless, when she won first prize in a blind competition, the prize was given to a fellow student and she had to leave the Academy. Meanwhile her stepmother had engaged a voice teacher who became Charlotte’s tutor and first lover. After 1933 the family’s social

life steadily shrank and the mortal menace of the Nazi regime started to sink in. Following Kristallnacht in 1938 her parents sent her to stay with her grandparents in Villefranche sur Mer in the South of France. There, a year later her grandmother tried to hang herself. They had moved from Villefranche to a small apartment in Nice, where her grandmother succeeded in her quest for death by jumping out of the 3rd floor window. Her grandfather then told her about the family history of suicides. This weighed heavily upon her and together with her experience in Berlin it caused her extreme anxiety. A doctor, Dr. Georges Moridis, suggested she started painting her experiences as therapy. This she did in a complete frenzy, painting day and night, hardly eating or sleeping. Her visa required that she be the caretaker of her grandfather, who started to make ever stronger sexual demands of her. This became so unbearable that she decided to kill him by spiking his omelette with Veronal. The murder was not detected, but she wrote about it and even painted the man while he was dying. Meanwhile she had married Alexander Nagler, a Jewish refugee from Romania from whom she expected a child.

Yves-Saint Laurent Museum opens in Marrakech Saturday, 14 October 2014, Kingdom of Morocco: Yves Saint Laurent museum in Marrakech opened to the public merely three weeks after a museum dedicated to the fashion pioneer was inaugurated in his native city of Paris. tes the HRH Princess Lalla Salma inaugura rakech Mar in eum Yves Saint-Laurent Mus Marrakech eum Mus rent t-Lau Sain Picture by Yves



Diplomatic Press Officers in The Hague by Diplomat Magazine

Then in 1943 after the Germans had occupied Vichy France as well and demanded that all Jews register, Charlotte packed all her works in brown paper and handed them to Dr. Morides with a plea to take good care of them, as they “contained her whole life”. Then she and her husband registered as Jews rather than go into hiding, perhaps as her own act of suicide. They were taken to the infamous transition camp of Drancy and hence to Auschwitz where they were both murdered.

Photography: Kim Vermaat.

Alexey Dmitrievskiy, Press Attaché of the Embassy of Russia in The Hague, proposed to Diplomat Magazine a meeting among press officers currently working at embassies in The Hague. The purpose of this meeting was to find the way to bridge the gap between the international community and Dutch media.

Ironically her parents survived, hiding out in The Netherlands. Dr. Morides duly gave them the packages for which they had six red boxes especially made. It would be years and years before they decided to share them with the world. The current exposition in the JHM is the first that shows all her gouaches, some 800 of them, in chronological order. It is an incredible visible history of a family caught in the most calamitous episode of the 20th century. It shows the coming of age of a young woman in a family slowly squeezed out of a charmed cultured life. It shows her development as an artist, and early love for her tutor. It depicts her exile in France and the unbearable weight of her family history. As such, while most of the works are of great artistic merit in themselves, it is a a totality that it is an absolutely unique word of art.

To acquaint the press officers with one another, Dr. Mayelinne De Lara, publisher of Diplomat Magazine, called for a meeting at the Carlton Ambassador. During this first meeting many ideas were discussed by the group, and each press attaché had the opportunity to share his or her point of view.

For this article I have drawn extensively on the July 2017 New Yorker article by Toni Bentley.

The Marrakech museum, designed by the French architectural firm Studio KO, sprawls across an area of 4,000 square meters (4,783 square yards) and is located near the Majorelle Garden, which Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé bought in 1980. It features a permanent exhibition featuring the work of the prolific French couturier, who passed away in 2008. It includes an exhibit hall, an auditorium, a library, a bookshop and a restaurant. Officially the museum’s opening was held under the protection of HM The King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, as represented


In the days to come, a summary of the meeting will be circulated among the press officers and a Facebook group will be created. The Facebook group will invite press attachés of international organizations and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to join for a meeting. Additionally, plans will be formulated to contact news agencies and inviting Dutch journalists to talk.

by his spouse, HRH Princess Lalla Salma. In attendance was the President of the Institut du Monde Arabe, M Jack Lang, actresses Catherine Deneuve and Betty Catroux, HE Sheikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, BACA President (Bahrain) or TRH The Duke and Duchess of Anjou and Cadaval, Charles-Philippe d’Orléans and Diana de Cadaval.

Mr. Dmitriesvkiy’s efforts display the mutually beneficial elements of partnering with Diplomat Magazine. Via our platform, it is possible to send pictures, press releases, and more, connecting embassies in the Hague with Dutch media. Additionally, due to our partnership with Dow Jones and Factiva, Diplomat Magazine is going global, reaching 1.3 million subscribers and over 70,000 readers via Benelux. With this in mind, Mr. Dmitriesvkiy’s meeting will certainly be productive for all.






WHICH COUNTRIES ARE POWERFUL? By Barend ter Haar. Photography: Maaike Vink.

Are the Netherlands more powerful than Italy or Spain? Yes, according to 2017 ISA Country Power Rankings published by ISA (International Strategic Analysis), an international research and consulting firm headquartered in Luxembourg . ISA bases its ranking on an analysis of seven different categories of power: economy, demography, military, environmental and natural resources, politics, culture and technology. It is interesting to compare this list with the best countries/power rankings published by U.S. News & World Report . That list is based on only five factors: leadership, economic influence, political influence, strong international alliances and strong military alliances. The lists are remarkably different. The United Arab Emirates, for example, are number 10 on the US News list but do not appear on the ISA list, and Canada, Australia and India are 3, 5 and 6 on the ISA list but only 12, 16 and 17 on the list of US News. Sweden does not figure on the ISA list, but in 2016 it easily won a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council for two years, while Italy and the Netherlands had to do with one year each. Does this mean that Sweden is more powerful than Italy and the Netherlands? In the US News list Sweden is placed just behind Italy, but in front of the Netherlands and Spain. How seriously should we take these rankings? Not too seriously, if only because they are not always built on thorough knowledge of the countries. US News states, for example, that the “Kingdom of the Netherlands emerged in 1815 after years of Spanish and later French occupation”, ignoring that it was preceded by the Dutch Republic, an independent and relatively powerful state from 1648 to 1795.

But on the other hand: perceived power is also a form of power and the rankings provide interesting food for thought. What is it that makes a country powerful? Why is Switzerland, with little more than eight million inhabitants (i.e. half of that of the Netherlands), so high on both lists? How does the power to destroy, e. g. the number of nuclear weapons of a country, relate to the power to get things done? If you are interested in the power to get things done, than it is interesting to look at the ability of a country to obtain visa-free travelling for its citizens. According to the Global Passport Power Rank 20173, the winners are Germany and Singapore. Their inhabitants can visit 158 countries without a visa. They are closely followed by Sweden and South Korea, with 157 visa-free countries. (By the way: none of these four countries has nuclear weapons.)



1. USA 2. China 3. Canada 4. Russia 5. Australia 6. India 7. Japan 8. Germany 9. UK 10. France 11. Brazil 12. South Korea 13. Saudi Arabia 14. Netherlands 15. Spain 16. Italy 17. Mexico 18. Switzerland 19. Poland 20. Indonesia 21. Israel 22. Turkey 23. Argentina

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23.

USA Russia China UK Germany France Japan Israel Saudi Arabia United Arab Emirates South Korea Canada Turkey Iran Switzerland India Australia Italy Sweden Pakistan Netherlands Spain Qatar

www.isa-world.com/reports-forecasts/the-2017-isa-country-power-rankings www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/power-rankings 3 www.passportindex.org/byRank.php 1 2

“How does the power to destroy, e. g. the number of nuclear weapons of a country, relate to the power to get things done?”







By Mirko Zambelli, Minister, Embassy of Switzerland in the Netherlands. Photography: Swiss Embassy in The Hague.

Luxembourg’s Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple and HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum witness. Photography: SIP – Jean-Christophe Verhaegen.

Luxembourg signs Dubai Expo 2020 contract The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has become the first country to formally sign a participation contract with organizers of the Expo 2020 in Dubai. A high-level delegation from Luxembourg, headed by HRH The Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg, visited the Emirate of Dubai to meet organizers, as part of plans to maximize its 25 EUR million ($29 million) investment in the event.

After completing a round-the-world trip in his solar catamaran PlanetSolar in 2012, Swiss adventurer Raphaël Domjan was wondering what on earth to do next. The field of innovations in eco-transportation was becoming more competitive. Another Swiss project, the manned solar airplane Solar Impulse, was underway and managed to fly around the world in 2016. Since Domjan also wanted to take to the air, and his colleagues were making their mark with long-distance horizontal flights, he decided to go vertical – to the edge of space. At the invitation of the Swiss Embassy and with the support of Presence Switzerland, Domjan and CEO/chief engineer of SolarStratos, Roland Loos, visited TU Delft on October 19 to present their project. Addressing the knowledgeable audience gathered for his evening lecture at the aeronautical faculty, Domjan explained how his ultra-light, solar-powered airplane SolarStratos, only 8.5 metres in length, will be capable of flying to a height of 25,000 metres. “SolarStratos is a symbol of the pioneering spirit, of the dream, of innovation with the aim of demonstrating the potential of renewable energies and energy efficiency”, he explained. The team brought along a model of the delicate-looking airplane, whose shape is reminiscent of a dragonfly. The faculty’s students had already taken the opportunity to quiz Loos about the technical details during a preceding lunchtime lecture, and guests had the opportunity to meet the team during a reception following the presentation.

It is this adventuresome spirit of innovation and international cooperation that keeps Switzerland at the top of international innovation rankings. As a small country with few natural resources, it has a long tradition of fostering new ideas to develop the economy. Its research landscape, too, is an open space – currently, two thirds of the scientists working in Swiss universities come from abroad, and hundreds of young Swiss researchers work and gain experience outside their own borders. In a true spirit of collegiality, and given that SolarStratos is technically a two-seater, the pilot of Solar Impulse and Domjan’s friend, Bertrand Piccard, will join Domjan for an initial flight to break the altitude record for a manned solar-powered flight, which Piccard hat set at 9,235 metres. After that, Domjan will make his riskier solo trip to the stratosphere. “Today, adventures and explorations are not done to discover unknown continents or to beat records,” he said. “Their aim is to protect the environment and its biodiversity. In this way we can restore real meaning to the terms progress and innovation.”

The theme, “Resourceful Luxembourg” aims at reflecting the landlocked country’s status as a smart nation that looks abroad to connect the human, natural, technical, industrial and financial resources it needs to shape its future. Expo 2020 Dubai, will be the first World Expo in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region it will opens on 20 October 2020 and closes six months later on 10 April 2021. More than 180 countries are expected to participate. SolarStratos event at TU Delft. Photography by Guus Schoonewille.


Domjan’s flight to the stratosphere is scheduled for next year, and will take off from an as yet to be determined location near the equator, where the sun’s strength is at its maximum. Twenty-two square metres of solar panels on SolarStratos’ long wings are the only source of energy for the electric motor. Given the lack of oxygen and extreme cold at that height, Domjan will wear a space suit, which has been provided by Russian partners. The flight is expected to take about five and a half hours.




By Mr. Andrei Prokopchuk, Trade and Economic Counsellor of the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Economic diplomacy is getting more important within the frameworks of the diplomatic community. All diplomatic representations are trying to be active in this significant area of cooperation. Belarus Embassy in the Hague is not an exception from this tendency. Nowadays, in the day to day business diplomats are more involved in trade, economic and investments relations trying to bridge companies, agencies, and business people. Among the tools for promoting economic diplomacy could be named meetings on a high level between officials particularly in charge for the development of foreign economic relations, business forums and seminars, trade missions, bilateral and multilateral commissions, linking of the companies based on their interests. Economic section of the Embassy is trying to apply a maximum of these tools aiming at the achievement of the practical results. Our philosophy in the Embassy in a relation of trade and investment promotion is to bridge the Dutch companies with their potential partners in Belarus using the knowledge of the economic system of Belarus as well as the market possibilities and leading branches of the economy. The above approach led to the result that today all major well-known Dutch companies operate in Belarus where they implement a number of joint projects: production of pharmaceutical products based on blood plasma (Imres),


foreign representative offices), the share of Dutch investors in the statutory funds of these organizations is 270 mln USD. In 2016, the authorized capital of organizations was increased for 52 mln USD. As of January 1, 2017, the total amount of cumulative foreign investments from the Netherlands in Belarus amounted to 640 mln USD (5th place after the Russian Federation, Cyprus, the United Kingdom and Turkey).

assembly of milking robots and other agricultural machinery (Lely Industries, APH Group), agricultural production (Adama, Bejo Zaden), LED (Philips), beverages (Heineken) as well as in the field of logistics and construction.

The Belarusian-Dutch economic relations also lie on formidable legislation, such as agreements on facilitation and protection of investments, on avoiding double taxation, on air communications and on international automobile communications.

The importance of economic dimension in our bilateral relations with the Netherlands could also be outlined by the statistic indicators.

To the addition of the above foundational agreements, the Government of Belarus is also constantly amending legislation aiming at creation the most favorable conditions in the region for the international companies to do business in Belarus.

The Netherlands are traditionally among top-10 trade and investment partners of Belarus. In 2016 bilateral trade turnover was 1,15 bln USD. Export of Belarus amounted to 924 mln USD. This indicator stated that the Netherlands became our 4th largest export partner after the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. The historic record in terms of trade was fixed in 2012 when the bilateral turnover reached 8 bln USD and the Netherlands became the second major trading partner of Belarus after the Russian Federation.

Belarus success in this area is proved by the World Bank ranking. Belarus jumped to the 37th standing from No. 50 among 190 countries in the World Bank Doing Business-2017. The position of Belarus is one of the strongest among CIS countries. In the sub-ranking of the above report, Belarus took the 5th place by Registering Property index, the 31st place by Starting a Business index and the 30th place by International Trade index.

In 2016 the Netherlands became the 4th largest FDI investor (followed by the Russian Federation, Cyprus, and Lithuania) to Belarus. The total volume of Dutch investments for the last five years (2012-2016) to Belarus amounted to 4,5 bln USD.

I would like to conclude that 25 years which have passed since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Belarus and the Netherlands allowed to set up, develop and enrich bilateral economic contacts as well as to build mutual trust.

As of January 1, 2017, there are 114 entities registered in the Republic of Belarus with the participation of Dutch capital (39 are joint ventures, 75 are

I have no doubt that the next quarter of the century will be marked with further boosting of bilateral economic relations including the implementation of new remarkable projects which will lead to the new level of partnership between Belarus and the Netherlands.



THE HAGUE AND THE URBAN AGENDA FOR THE EU By Jhr. Alexander W. Beelaerts van Blokland LL.M.

The European Union is one of the most urbanised areas in the world. Today, more than 70% of Europe’s citizens lives in an Urban Area. At present, 73% of all jobs and 80% of all people aged 25-64 with a tertiary education are based in European cities, towns and suburbs. Urban areas are also places, in which challenges such as segregation, unemployment and poverty, are concentrated. The development of Urban Areas will have a major impact on the future sustainable development (economic, environmental and social) of the EU and its citizens.

On 30 May 2016, in Amsterdam, upon the invitation by the Netherlands Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Informal Meeting of EU Ministers responsable for Urban Matters and several international organizations involved, was held. It led to the establishing of the ‘Pact of Amsterdam’, the Urban Agenda for the EU. It strives towards the involvement of urban authorities in achieving better regulation, funding and knowledge. The Ministers agreed that, taking into account the priorities of the EU 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, the initial list of twelve Priority Themes (in no particular order) for the Urban Agenda for the EU is as follows: (1) inclusion of migrants and refugees, (2) air quality, (3) urban poverty, (4) housing, (5) circulair economy,(6) jobs and skills of the local economy, (7) climate adaption (including green infrastructure solutions), (8) energy transition, (9) sustainable use of land and nature-based solutions, (10) urban mobility, (11) digital transition and (12) innovative and responsabele public procurement.

All cities involved participate in one of the abovementioned themes. The Hague is one of the four Dutch cities involved (the others are Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht). The City of The Hague is participant in the important group that works on the priority theme circular economy. The objective is to increase the re-use, repair, refurbishment and recycling of existing materials and products to promote new growth and job opportunities. For instance, additional measures to increase resource productivity by 30% by 2030 could boost GPD by nearly 1%, while creating 2 million additional jobs. The focus will be on: waste management (turn a waste into a resource), sharing economy and resource efficiency. Jhr. Alexander W. Beelaerts van Blokland LL.M. is Justice (Judge) in the (Dutch) Court of Appeal and Special Advisor International Affairs appointed by the Mayor and Aldermen of The Hague. a.beelaerts@planet.nl

PERSONNEL: YOUR OBLIGATIONS WITH By Jan Dop, employment lawyer at Russell Advocaten. Photography: C. Vroom. Jan Dop is partner and Head of the Embassy Desk at Russell Advocaten. He advises and represents corporations, entrepreneurs, HR departments, Embassies and Consulates in corporate and commercial matters. Russell Advocaten is often asked by Embassies and Consulates what to do in the event of employee illness. In general, Embassies and Consulates employing local employees fall under Dutch law and are treated like any other employer in the Netherlands. Therefore, during the first two years of illness, you, as an employer, have several obligations with regard to the employee, such as: • Maintaining the employment contract • Continuing to pay wages of the employee • Making efforts for the re-integration of the employee.




Further, it is possible to ask the Judge to dissolve the employment contract due to personal reasons such as disfunctioning or culpable acting of the employee. The Judge has to deny the request in case it is related to the illness of the employee. A dismissal in breach with the prohibition against termination is subject to annulment.


You are not allowed to unilaterally terminate the employment contract with the sick employee during the first two years of illness. This prohibition does not apply in case of termination: • During the probationary period • With immediate effect • With written agreement by the employee, and • Due to business discontinuation.

During the first year of absence from work due to illness you must continue to pay at least 70% of the employee’s wages and at least the statutory minimum wages. During the second year, you still have to pay at least 70% of the wages but you do not have to pay the statutory minimum wages any longer. If you do not continue to pay wages, the employee can enforce this in court, including an increase that can amount to half of the salary due. You are obliged to take care together with the employee that he or she will return to work as quickly as possible. If you do not make (sufficient) effort to achieve the re-integration of the employee, the term for continued payment of wages may be extended. Therefore, engage a company doctor or occupational health and safety service (‘Arbodienst’) and ask them to draw up a problem analysis within six weeks after the first date of reporting ill.



“For the past few centuries, Africa lived fear but dreamt a hope of Europeans …From WWI to www.” This short statement describes the essence of the sixth book on geopolitics by Professor Anis Bajrektarevic, named ‘Europe and Africa’, which has just been released by the US publisher NOVA. This time, Bajrektarevic is co-signing the book with his junior researcher from Italy, Guliano Luongo, who is a director of ‘African studies’ at the Rome-based Institute for Geopolitics (IsAG). The book combines, in a unique way, both the past and the presence of two continents, which are quite different – in almost every aspect – now, but which were deeply interconnected during the colonial past – with Europe influencing Africa and Africa planting the seeds of influence on Europe that will be unveiled many years after. The book concentrates on security structures of both the ‘Old’ and ‘Forgotten’ continent, trying to answer the question why Europe is multilateral and Africa still bilateral in this field. To this end, Prof. Anis and his coauthor dive into the historical experiences and look in them for causes of today’s developments, and future prospects of Afro-Med and Euro-Med.

NOVA Publishers: www.novapublishers.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=62974

REGARD TO SICK EMPLOYEES Together with the company doctor or occupational health and safety service you then draw up an action plan specifying the arrangements regarding re-integration made between you and the employee. During the employee’s illness absence, make sure you will discuss the progress with the employee at least once every six weeks and plan a first– year evaluation after one year of sickness. If the employee is able to work, but only in a different position with changes to the working hours, or by means of training, you will have to explore the options together with the employee. If the employee cannot be re-integrated into your company, you will have to find out in good time whether the employee can re-integrate into another company, which is referred to as “second track” reintegration.


However, in the event of long-term sickness of an employee the employee must make an effort for re-integration too. If the employee does not fulfil his or her obligations, and, for instance, postings on social media show that he or she is not that sick any longer or impedes re-integration, you can impose sanctions.


Would you like to learn more about your obligations towards sick employees? We will gladly tell you what you may and may not do! Please contact Jan Dop of our Embassy Desk at jan.dop@russell. nl or by phone: +31 20 301 55 55.

Important: Make sure all re-integration efforts are laid down in writing!. DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE #7



“Our Mansion is so much more than a hotel. We are a place to meet, greet, laugh, talk, eat, work, sleep and enjoy life!

CARLTON AMBASSADOR MORE THAN A MANAGER DUTY ESTHER BOERS The Carlton Ambassador Hotel, located in one of the most beautiful streets of The Hague, serves many functions. Foremost, the Mansion operates as Diplomat Magazine’s headquarters and is the venue of our traditional Diplomat Meet and Greets. Additionally, the venue hosts celebrations for national days and is often the location for the ‘Ceremony of Merit’. In order to cater to all of these events, effective and sharp management is necessary. We asked Esther Boers, current manager of the Carlton Ambassador, how she upholds the prestige associated with this establishment.

Diplomat Magazine: How do you see your role and duties representing Carlton Ambassador vis-a-vis the international community in The Hague? Esther Boers: We are a Mansion in The Hague, where every guest is more than welcome. So everyone is welcomed with this idea of a “warm embrace”. We have great relationships with different types of international communities and we want to let them be part of our Mansion in any way, be that for events, drinking coffee, or high tea. Diplomat Magazine: In the two years that you have been managing the hotel, what have you done so far to increase the Carlton Ambassador visibility in the Netherlands? What are your plans, and how much more can be done in future while maintaining this position?

Esther Boers: Firstly, we are branding the Carlton Ambassador hotel by hiring a Brand Ambassador. We also made a blueprint of the hotel. We answered questions like, “why are we doing this?,” “what is our main purpose?” We have gone through this trajectory with all the team members. Additionally, our Sales Department connects with local communities and people to share our words and to show them who we are. We work with local and Dutch entrepreneurs to be more connected to the city. We also work closely with the Hague Marketing. Finally, we changed our website completely and we invest a lot in marketing activities. We feel special that we meet so many different nationalities in the hotel. That is what makes our work so interesting and meaningful as well. The diplomatic community is part of The Hague and also part of our hotel. We are grateful to work together and to be a good place for them. We provide a place where they feel home, where they receive unlimited hospitality. I want to share with you that our Mansion is so much more than a hotel. We are a place to meet, greet, laugh, talk, eat, work, sleep and enjoy life! When you are in The Hague for business, I can promise you that you will feel like a leisure guest when you enter our Mansion, because of our special ambiance and because of all the Ambassadors who work in the hotel. Every individual team member has the passion and drive to make your stay as memorable as possible. Photography: Marian van Noort.


Cake Diplomacy by Marta Orban of Sweet and Spice.

The Hague is not only the city of Peace and Justice, it is also the city of Cake Diplomacy. When asking Marta Orban, owner of Sweet and Spice, to design a cake for a cultural or diplomatic event, not only will designs and colors be discussed. Marta will pose questions about the guests, the place, the occasion, and do exhaustive research to ensure the cake is of the highest caliber. Her efforts were displayed at the last United States’ Independence Day celebration, where hundreds shared a beautiful cake of red, white, and blue. The Mexican Independence Day enjoyed a similar spectacle. A 2 meter cake featuring traditional Mexican designs was enjoyed by all attendees. It is not uncommon to see her cakes being enjoyed by diplomats, including the Apostolic Nuncio and the Chargé d’affaires of Lebanon, who recently enjoyed a cake tower of flowers and happiness during Ms Abir Ali, Ceremony of Merit and farewell.

The Apostolic Nuncio H.E. Aldo Cavalli and Ms Abir Ali cutting the cake during the Ceremony of Merit. Photography: Roy Strik.

Marta Orban is an artist, magician, and a dedicated young person who constructs the most beautiful cakes that are not only a treat for the eyes, but also for the mouth.


A picture is worth a thousand words Kim Vermaat Marian van Noort roy strik

Robert Huiberts

Hester Dijkstra

Henry Arvidsson

Fully tailored services

For additional information & bookings: please contact photos@diplomatmagazine.nl

Farewell to Ms Abir Ali Cake design



By Scott Martin and Wayne Jordash. Photography: Arthur Koppejan.

On 17 July 2014, Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with a total of 298 people on board from 17 countries when it was shot down over eastern Ukraine, crashing at a site in the Donetsk oblast, killing everyone onboard. This tragedy, well-known to the diplomatic community and people around the world, exacerbated an already tense diplomatic tete-a-tete between the Russian Federation and the Western world, with the West contending that separatists illegally conspired with Russia to occupy Ukraine through reliance on its logistical support and moral encouragement. Predictably, instead of acknowledging its role in the MH17 tragedy, the Russian government continued its systematic denials concerning its culpability for the violent takeover of Ukraine, including its involvement in shooting down the civilian airplane. On 4 July 2017, the international community moved one step closer to ascertaining the truth, as Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders announced that those criminally responsible for the attack would be prosecuted in Dutch courts. While it is a critically important step in holding to account those responsible for this tragedy, the trial process promises to be controversial and complex.

Firstly, it is likely that Dutch judges will be facing empty courtrooms and instead trying suspected perpetrators in absentia, as implicated separatists are unlikely to surrender and Russia is not likely to facilitate the extradition of anyone to stand trial. Secondly, access to the crime scene in eastern Ukraine will be difficult to negotiate. Not only would this significantly complicate an appropriate examination of the scene, it would obstruct access to eyewitnesses who were proximate to the crime when it occurred. These challenges will push the East and West further down the road of confrontation, compounding an already difficult situation. Indeed, in just the past year, concerns have been raised by Western Governments concerning the Russian Government’s alleged meddling in U.S. elections, the alleged killing of political adversaries of the Russian leadership on British sovereign territory, the killing of political adversaries of Russia leadership in Russia itself, and the occupation of Ukraine. In recent years, Russia has also announced its decision to withdraw from the nuclear security pact with the United States, that it is withdrawing its signature from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and that it can overrule judgements against it at the European Court of Human Rights.

Regrettably, Russia is not alone in its pivot away from a rules-based international system. Withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, the U.S. invasion of Iraq, threats from a collection of African countries to withdraw from the International Criminal Court and the inability of the World Trade Organization to conclude the Doha round of negotiations all endanger what is necessary for international security and economic stability. Failing to promote a solid, predictable international legal foundation brings about economic hardships, international instability and, at times, armed conflict. The Netherlands, home to The Hague (known as the “international city of peace and justice”) and known for its long tradition of even-handed justice, is duty-bound to pursue those individually criminally responsible for the shooting down of MH17. The investigation and subsequent prosecutions must continue in an objective, neutral manner. Other states should fulfil their international obligations to cooperate with this enquiry and provide access to alleged perpetrators and evidence that may prove useful in the trials. It remains to be seen whether Russia will ultimately accept the arrest warrants likely to be issued by the Dutch courts and facilitate the extradition process. Regardless, negotiations must take place and an agreement must be sought to remedy the events of such a tragic

“This tragedy, exacerbated an already tense diplomatic tete-a-tete between the Russian Federation and the Western world”



ETURN TO YSTEM day. Justice for the victims of these events, as well as the international legal order, demand it. The world needs to hit the ‘reset’ button, turn its back on “might makes right” politics and geopolitics as usual. The diplomatic community has laboured for centuries to promote the opposite - their collective efforts to bring order, justice, and fairness to the international legal system should not be have been done in vain. A system that makes the world safer, more predictable, just, and in protection of the human rights of all people must be returned to, lest the world fall prey to the same predilection of our forbearers where domestic political demands from powerful countries win the day and dictate international events. The MH17 investigation provides Russia and the West a unique confidence-building opportunity, giving it the chance to promote the sustainability of a system many have worked very hard for and provides a solid foundation for the East and West to build upon.


AN UPCOMING BOOK BY SUPRIYA VANI Socrates says, “All men’s souls are immortal but the souls of the righteous are immortal and divine”. The righteous souls achieve divinity because they strive hard to remove all dross from within and empty themselves like a flute to weave magical stirrings of divine love and blissful consciousness and take in their warm clasp the lowliest of the low, the neglected, the abandoned, the orphaned, in fact; the whole of humanity just in the same way as the sun spreads its canopy of warmth on everyone under the sky or the dewdrops leave no petal untouched. They are pained on finding others in pain. They are aggrieved when they find others in grief. They do not find themselves at peace on finding others in trouble. They find joys in others’ joys. They instantly reach out to others in need of care, of love, of succor or of solace. They are self-abnegated souls and always full of empathy for fellow human beings. They are zealously venerated by one and all. A peep into the life of all the sixteen women Nobel Peace prize laureates gives this revelation. What led me to foray into the lives of these magnificent women is my father’s motivation. In my early childhood, he would often relate to me stories of valour, of self-effacing sacrifices, of stoic sufferings of great men and women who helped in making the planet earth a place of peaceful co-existence for mankind. The quintessence of the lives of sixteen women Nobel peace laureates is running the gauntlet of adversity and myriad challenges in life with never-to-yield attitude. After interviewing many Nobel Peace laureates, I have found that each one of them has scripted a saga of rare activism and also of building bonds of love with the suffering humanity. Nobel Peace Prize Laureates like Bertha von Suttner, Jane Addams, Emily Green Balch, Alva Myrdal, Wangari Maathai and Mother Teresa laid the foundation of peace for us and have faded away from the Earth. Other Nobel Peace Laureates like Malala Yousafzai, Betty Williams, Mairead Maguire, Aung San Suu Kyi, Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Tawakkol Karman, Leymah Gbowee are all activists who dared to fight the unjust systems and never dithered even when death stared at them menacingly. Each one of us can lead a life of ecstatic fulfillment if we borrow a leaf from their book. They say it is never too late. They have scripted a saga. When will we ? We need to always remember that life’s most persistent and important question is, “What are we doing for others?” Supriya Vani is a 28 years old human rights activist and an author. She has interviewed several Nobel Peace Laureates for her upcoming book- Battling Injustice-The Stories of sixteen Women Nobel Peace Laureates.




Linda zin

PROMOTING MALAYSIA, MORE THAN A SPOUSAL DUTY By Diplomat Magazine. Photography: Roy Strik

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Linda Zin, the wife of the Malaysian Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. We strolled through The Hague, talking about responsibility, work and love. We stopped at the historical Hotel Des Indes in the picturesque Lange Voorhout neighborhood. When sitting down for a cup of tea, I decided to ask her some questions.

As the spouse of the Malaysian Ambassador, how do you see your role and duties in representing you country? The role as a spouse to an ambassador is quite similar to my career back home in corporate marketing. It is simply hospitality at its best. Perhaps, the difference now is that I represent a country, instead of a corporation. Further, instead of translating the hospitality to dollars and cents, I translate my conduct and mannerism to the good, dignified name and positive image of Malaysia. That is my primary role and duties here, although I certainly believe that the best way to do is just simply to be myself and have fun at the things I am doing. In the two years that you are here, how do you perceive the Netherlands? Tell us about a time before coming to your first posting as spouse, what expectations did you have at the time and how you performed together with more “experienced spouses”? The Netherlands is a liberal country with kind people and a well-developed economy. Recently, I had an opportunity to join my husband to Brainport in Eindhoven and learned about the city’s massive success in bringing back economic life to the city after the economic crisis in the 1990s. I think that Eindhoven is the precise reflection of what the whole country is, in terms of its coordination, synergy and


knowledge-sharing among the government, the universities and key players in the industry. All with one common goal, which is in finding what works best for their people and for the country. The Dutch people are fun and united as well. I joined the crowd during the King’s Day when I first arrived in 2015 and I was amazed that it takes only one color, Orange, to unite the whole nation. I also feel very safe, mostly in my neighborhood in Wassenaar. For example, I feel completely safe to go for my run alone in the evening, a simple pleasure like that which I would not be able to enjoy in my neighborhood in Kuala Lumpur. Overall, I am impressed with the quality of life and the living condition here compared to other European cities that I have been to. After all, I cannot complain about much, in a country, in which the Prime Minister cycled to see his King at the palace to present the list of Cabinet Members to his Majesty! I consider myself as very lucky to be in The Netherlands for my first posting although my husband has been posted to the USA and Indonesia before.

diplomatICSpouses When we received the news that we will be assuming these roles, I did not put any expectation or benchmark to myself but I know it is going to be intricately delicate and demanding at the same time. It is well understood that being spouses to diplomats, we have certain responsibilities to fulfill and they are all back in supporting our spouses’ official duties in promoting the interest of our country. I consider myself to be blessed as well since I have become friends with many other spouses of ambassadors here due to our jointed involvement in the Ambassadors’ Spouses Association, short ASA, here in The Hague. ASA has been an effective platform for me to connect and learn from other more experienced spouses. What have you done so far to increase Malaysia’s visibility in the Netherlands? What are your plans, how much more can be done as you perceive the future during your mandate? I accompany my husband in many diplomatic and social functions and gatherings. I take pride in wearing Malaysian’s traditional costume, mostly “baju kurung” to these events. I would also do the same when receiving our dignitaries from home at Schiphol Airport or when I am hosting in our Residence. It is my way in expressing my patriotism and the confidence that comes with it and it is tremendously gratifying.

Malaysia is also enthusiastic in gastro-diplomacy. I have organized numerous culinary events to promote Malaysian food here among the corps diplomatique, the locals, international school community and others. Recently in September we invited one of our celebrity Chefs from Malaysia for a cooking demonstration with the theme of “Street Food of Malaysia” and it was very well received by the guests. Going forward I would still keep on doing what we are doing best here but I would also like to take the opportunity in shifting the focus to learn and gain from the experiences of the Dutch in the areas that Malaysia and other ASEAN countries could improve on, for example in bridging the gender inequality and key sectors that have specific focus on women’s development. Tell us something about your involvement in ASA and the ASEAN Ladies Circle. I am the Secretary of Ambassadors’ Spouses Association (ASA), The Hague and the President of the ASEAN Ladies Circle (ALC), The Hague. ASA celebrates diversity and practices equality. Therefore, we do not have ranks in the association. My role as a Secretary is mainly administrative and to handle official correspondences and communications with the members. Together, with other committee members, we would plan activities that could foster closer ties among the members and the local community.

The challenge does lies in finding the right activity that suits the demographic, dynamic and interest of the members. I would really like to encourage more spouses to get more involved with ASA. Additionally, the association is reviving and all the 5 countries are responding, supporting and cooperating well with each other. At every quarter we will organize an activity which aims to encourage cordial interaction among the members. We do not look at only organizing activity within our circle but also collaborating with other organization, for example in May this year we have organized together with Diplomatic Magazine and Hague Bridge a cycling activity around The Hague which was also joined by all the ASEAN Ambassadors in The Hague. In the coming years, I hope to see that ALC, The Hague would also be thriving as ASEAN is advancing. What is your greatest strength and what you can say to the new spouses coming to The Hague to fulfill their role? You need to have a big heart full of kindness, a growth mindset and positive outlook as this role is almost philanthropic. It is also important to be involved with others beyond your community and official duties as there are many opportunities and platforms to be explored here. The world today is full of endless possibilities with the advancement of humanity and technology. The world today too, is full of challenges, mistrust, confusion and uncertainties in many parts of the world. People are suffering from poverty, war and injustice. As a member of the world community we should all come together and do our part to promote peace, harmony and justice. And to me, it is not hard at all. In the simplest terms, we can all be kind towards one another, regardless of who we are. Kindness is empowering and the best place to start is in our own home. As a mother, I think that it is vital for the parents to model kindness to their children. It is the core of all the education that we could provide to our children. It is so powerful that it will further shape their character and eventually mold our societies, flourish our nations and evolve our world to become a better place for all.




review Atsana Expo 2017 From June to September 2017, Atsana, the capital of Kazakhstan hosted the Atsana Expo show case, where over 120 countries and 22 international organizations demonstrated the latest innovations in the clean energy sector. Titled the Future of Energy, this expo focused on four themes, including the ‘Reduction of Carbon Emissions’, ‘Energy for Life’, ‘Energy for All’, and the ‘World of Energy,’ which focused on the role of each individual’s contribution to the efficient use of energy. The Dutch pavilion was launched by the Minister of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands, at that time Mr. Henk Kamp and the Kazakhstan Mr. A. Magauov. Vice Minister of Energy Mr. Kamp led a delegation of more than 100 Dutch companies, 75 of which were already established in Kazakhstan. As a leading investor in Kazakhstan, the Dutch pavilion emphasized the economic partnership between the two nations, organizing various activities during the duration of the Expo.

When looking back at the origins of this economic partnership, a notable moment was in 2007, when a delegation from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign and Economic Affairs visited Kazakhstan. 2 years later, Kazakhstan’s foreign minister visited the Netherlands, were he met with his counterpart and the Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte. Since then, prime minister Rutte has visited the country several times, including for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) summit in 2010. Due to this positive relationship, Dutch multinationals as well as small and medium-sized businesses, primarily in the energy, agriculture, logistics, and port development sectors – are increasingly showing interest in Kazakhstan. In contrast, Kazakhstan is showing increasing interest in working with the Netherlands in the agricultural, horticultural and poultry sectors. Additionally, currently the Netherlands and Kazakhstan are profiting trade partners. The Netherlands exports chemicals and machinery, while Kazakhstan exports primarily oil. While the countries are successful trade partners, there are significant differences between the two countries. Kazakhstan’s population of 17.7 million people enjoys an area of 2,724,900 km2, approximately 65.6 times bigger than the Netherlands. Additionally, Kazakhstan’s economy is primarily focused on natural resources. As geographically the largest of the former Soviet republics, excluding Russia, Kazakhstan’s vast hydrocarbon and mineral reserves form the backbone of the economy. Kazakhstan is landlocked and depends largely on Russia to export its oil to Europe. Further, oil is exported directly to China, showcasing Kazakhstan’s unique position as a bridge between Eurasia and Asia. Vice Minister Magauov said: “We are sure that Astana will become an effective platform for demonstrating the best world developments and trends in the use of energy from the sun, wind, biogas, sea and thermal waters. Development of mutually beneficial bilateral ties with the Kingdom of the Netherlands has always been based on cooperation, trust and friendship, and continues to be one of the priorities of our foreign policy. Kazakhstan considers the Netherlands as our key political, trade and investment partner in the European Union.”


When considering Kazakhstan’s economy, it is important to understand the ramifications of natural resource dependence. The economic downturn of its Eurasian Economic Union partner, Russia, and the decline of global commodity prices from 2014 to 2015, contributed to an economic slowdown in Kazakhstan. In order to combat this issue, in 2014 Kazakhstan devalued its currency, the tenge, and announced a stimulus package to cope with its economic challenges. Since 2015, Kazakhstan has replaced its currency band with a floating exchange rate, leading to an even sharper fall in the value of the tenge. Since January of 2016, the tenge has modestly appreciated, primarily due to a slight increase in oil prices. In addition to lack of diversification in the economy, Kazakhstan also struggle with various issues surrounding corruption, bureaucracy, and arbitrary law enforcement. This has been a large concern for investors, who seek security in their ventures. Further, the country’s banking sector is subpar, suffering from low liquidity, poor asset quality, and a lack of transparency. Despite these drawbacks, the Astana Expo revealed promising changes for the country of Kazakhstan. Green technologies based on new fundamental discoveries, physics, and building on the developments of Nikola Tesla are helping facilitate diversification within the Kazakhstani economy. Moreover, this demonstration showcased the best of the best in the solar, wind, biogas, and marine sectors, raising Kazakhstan as an emerging player in the global push for clean energy development. The facilities built for the Expo will continue to serve as vital constructions as Kazakhstan continues to develop. For example, spaces used for pavilions can be converted into standard office spaces, to ensure investment is not wasted. Overall, while Kazakhstan’s economy and political situation remain shaky, major strides are being made in the country’s development as exemplified via the Astana Expo. Not only was this Expo a major achievement for Kazakhstan as a nation, it will serve as an example for other countries in Eurasia and Asia who are seeking to diversify their economy, broaden international contacts, and push for modern development.


4th Annual Diplomats’ Autumn Welcoming Reception By Roy Lie A Tjam. Photography: Robert Huiberts and Marian van Noort.

Diplomat magazine in collaboration with Crowne Plaza Hotel and Diplomatic Card hosted its 4th Diplomats Welcome After Summer reception. The reception included a luxury cars exhibition on the premises of the Hotel Crowne Plaza in The Hague on the 14th of September 2017. The world’s most renowned car manufacturers descend on the diplomatic city of The Hague to present their latest developments to the Diplomatic Corps. The exhibition showcased many brands such as Maserati, Lamborghini, Lexus, BMW, Mini, Porsche, Land Rover, Audi, Jaguar, McLaren and Louwman Museum special brands. The inclement Dutch weather didn’t deter ambassadors, diplomats and international car lovers from attending the exquisite motor show.

prices from family cars to the most luxury machine of 2018… it was a discovery afternoon full of excitement. The Argentinian wine and live jazz band together with a DJs further contributed to the success of the reception of the 1st diplomatic car exhibit & test runs of the best new models on the Dutch market.

On the contrary, they avail themselves of the opportunity to test-drive many of the vehicles, and also had their photographs taken while posing at the wheel of their favorite cars.

Dr Mayelinne De Lara, Publisher of Diplomat Magazine and Patrick Aarsman, Manager of Hotel Crowne Plaza welcomed the guests to the recently renovated hotel inviting them to see the latest technology equipped salons and new rooms while the Chargé d’affaires of the Embassy of Argentina, Minister Counselor Pablo Piñeiro Aramburu gave an expose on Argentinian wine: Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Torrontés.

Many had questions about tax reductions for diplomats, special program for diplomats and embassies which included after sales services, maintenance, renting, shipping a car or pieces abroad and

Also present were Dutch wine importers of , San Rafael Import and Damaro Holland, who kindly offered to make a wine tasting of their top quality Argentinean wines.



diplomatTourism&culture Picture left: Sahib Pashazade, from Azerbaijan. Winners of the Grand Prix.

Uzbekistan XI Sharq Taronalari Festival August 2017 Samarqand By Roy Lie Tjam​. Photography: Sharq Taronalari Festival

The historic city of Samarqand – Uzbekistan hosted the XI Sharq Taronalari Festival 2017, a spectacular biennium international fine- and performing arts festival on its native soil. The Sharq Taronalari Festival or Music of the East Festival is one of the largest festivals in Central Asia.

countries participated. Today, it became one of the most popular and famous festivals not only in Central Asia but also far beyond. The significance of this year’s festival is the ever-increasing number of the artists from a broader geographical range of participating countries, and the prevalence of fine artistry in an array of forms such as music and dance level of participants.


The XI Sharq Taronalari Festival took place as it were under the watchful eye of the father of the Uzbek nation, the great Amir Temur. His monument is prominently situated in the center of town, he observed the participants of the Sharq Toranalari festival passing by. The festival was held from 25 – 30 August 2017 at the renowned Registan Square. This year, Samarqand hosted 241 artists from 58 countries. Besides performances and competitions, the program included a scientific conference, held from 26-27 August 2017 providing opportunities for countries to exchange their expertise and cultural talents.

Welcome comitee


The aims and objectives of the festival are to popularize widely the best achievements of national music art, to preserve and develop great traditions of peoples, to encourage talents in the musical- and vocal sphere, as well as to spread in further international creative ties, to strengthen cultural friendship and ideas of mutual sympathetic. The first International Music Festival “Sharq Taronalari”, took place in 1997 where musical groups and performers from 31 different



H.E. Mr. Shavkat Mirziyoyev President of the Republic of Uzbekistan started his opening address by observing that the Sharq Taronalari Festival gains a high prestige. He recounted, “Art is a means of expressing aspirations, joys and cares, inner experiences. Music is especially strong at that, the language understandable for everyone. Music acquaints and brings peoples and cultures closer, establishes a strong spiritual connection between them. All those visiting Samarqand today can feel the festive, friendly atmosphere reigning in the city.”

The President continued, “…the Sharq Taronalari International Music Festival, founded on the initiative of the First President of our country Islam Karimov 20 years ago, is now held for the eleventh time.” Moreover, the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev stressed: “In the present extremely difficult time, when various challenges and threats are intensifying in the world, as well as confrontations, the role, and importance of musical art increases, which without interpreters unites millions of people of different nationalities, languages, and religions, further strengthen the bonds of friendship, cooperation and harmony. In this regard, the Sharq Taronalari International Music Festival, which this year marks its 20 years, acquires a special meaning.”

EVENTS Subsequently, the President of the Republic welcomed the dignitaries in the audience such as: the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization Taleb Rifai, Chairman of the Assembly of Parliaments of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Christine Muttonen, Director General of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) Abdulaziz Bin Othman Al-Tuwaijri. The high-ranking guests include Halit Ehren, Director General of the International Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture, Hyun-suk Mun, Secretary-General of the International Organization of Folk Art for the Asian Region, Sergey Lebedev, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States, Mikhail Shvydkoi, Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for International Cultural Cooperation, Boris Kandov, President of the Congress of Bukharian Jews of the USA and Canada. The Grand Opening Ceremony of the festival carries on with a captivating spectacle by directors, choreographers, designers, and artists with performances of dances and songs. An unforgettable evening, a symphony of colors, sentiments, and illumination at the Registan square which was converted into an amphitheater. The Grand Opening Ceremony concluded with fireworks and a lavish Gala-dinner at a nearby venue.

The Jury.

ether and spouse Gina, tog Ambassador Ledda the Ambassador of Panama with His Excellency spouse Tatiana Delvalle. Willys Delvalle and

Philippines’s virtuoso

Pianist Raul Su


performed at Diligentia The Ambassador of the Philippines, His Excellency Jaime Victor Ledda and Mrs Gina Ledda hosted a piano concert by The Philippines’ multi-awarded pianist virtuoso Dr Prof Raul Sunico in The Hague on 28 September 2017. Dr. Raul Sunico, a world-renowned pianist and former President of Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) successfully performed a piano concert to more than 200 guests which included timeless classical pieces of Rachmaninoff, Chopin

and Debussy; much-loved Filipino classics, Kumintang and Bato sa Buhangin; and folk-pop pieces by Gershwin. Dutch’s own Vader Abraham’s Het kleine café aan de haven and Tante Lien’s Naseng Goreng were very much appreciated by the audience. In his welcome remarks, the Philippine Ambassador humbly expressed delight in organizing this concert in partnership with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Philippine Embassy in Paris and the Philippine Consulate General in Milan bringing both pride, honor and prominence to Philippine world-class artists in Europe.

Marriot The Hague celebrating DM’s 4th Anniversary Diplomat Magazine celebrates its fourth anniversary once again at Marriot The Hague. Starting out small with a group of ambassadors and few volunteers, the first diplomatic magazine in the Netherlands history, rapidly grew into the popular magazine of today attracting more than 70,000 readers per month and a special biannual printed edition covering the Benelux. Diplomat Magazine is directly accessible to some 1.1 million readers in Factiva –owned by Dow Jones, including in its diplomatic repertoire a high-level academic publication entitled Border Crossing. Vincent Pahlplatz General Manager offered a summer lunch to honour DM’ Team and dedicated an inspirational speech to the group. Marriot recent renovated premises are very popular among embassies for hosting many National Days and diplomatic events in The Hague during the year. Diplomat Magazine success can be attributed to the dedication and enthusiasm of its team of international highly skilled contributors. Diplomat Magazine has successfully emerged as a platform for diplomatic discourse, an event organiser and a publisher for matters relating to international relations in the Netherlands and beyond. The magazine’s regular agenda includes organising and supporting diplomatic networking events, art exhibitions, classical concerts, commercial or tourism activities, and all manner of embassies issues. Diplomat Magazine also produced special issues for countries, like the 10th Anniversary Special Edition for the Embassy of Rwanda and 45th Anniversary for Vietnam.


The magazine is free, and there is not cost for publishing. www.diplomatmagazine.nl.



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KICKSTART TAKES YOU FURTHER By LetitiaBaker, Kickstart School : Dutch and English Language Training in The Hague

Do you ever find yourself lost for words at inopportune moments? Are you studying or looking for work, but feel your language skills are letting you down? Does the thought of speaking English or Dutch at a social event or business meeting fill you with dread? If you answered yes to any of these questions, don’t despair. It’s never too late to start learning! At Kickstart School, we understand that people have different motivations for learning a language and we are constantly developing our language programmes to better meet the needs of our students. We offer a variety of language training programmes, so there’s something for everyone. Are you looking to improve your everyday English? Try a Practical English course! Have you reached an advanced level, but you’re keen to learn more? Proficient English could be right up your alley! Want to feel more confident chatting to friends or colleagues? Maybe a Conversation course is what you need.

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Amazing Thailand Health & Wellness Showcase 2017 By Roy Lie A Tjam. Photography: Tourism Authority of Thailand.


The Tourism Authority of Thailand organized the Amazing Thailand Health and Wellness Showcase conference, which took place on 11 August 2017. The event unveiled Thailand’s latest innovation on Functional and Regenerative Medicines – a globally emerging health trend that focuses on the restoration of the structure and function of damaged tissues and organs. De facto, Thailand is the first and only country in Asia that has institutions, such as Better Being Hospital and MALI Hospital, which specialize in functional and regenerative medicine. Moreover, it has 58 JCI accredited hospitals, thus ranking highest in Southeast Asia, and has become an anti-aging center with the largest number of American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine-certified medical professionals, tallying a total of 500 doctors, in Asia. The objective of the Amazing Thailand Health and Wellness Showcase 2017 conference was to promulgate Thailand as a destination indisputably befitting for Health and Wellness Tourism. This one day conference, at Centara Grand Bangkok Convention Centre, demonstrated the potentiality and readiness of Thailand’s health-service products. Top level Thai health service providers made good use of the opportunity to present their services to international buyers. The conference and annex fair presented health innovative services for healthy longevity such as: 1. Regenerative medicine 2. Anti-aging medicine 3. Cosmetic dentistry for beauty and anti-dental aging 4. Cosmetic surgery 5. Cell therapy 6. Health check-up innovation Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Mr. Noppadon Pakprot, Deputy Governor for Tourism Products and Business, delivered the opening speech in which he cordially and warmly welcomed all to the 4th Amazing Thailand Health and Wellness Showcase. Mr. DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE #7

Pakprot went on to announce general hospitals, dental clinics, laboratory checks, regenerative functional clinics and regenerative functional medicine hospitals - just to name a few – as the top 44 Health and Wellness providers in Thailand, as selected by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). All are ready, he said, to discuss prospective business deals. Moreover, Mr. Pakprot is convinced that the event will get prospective buyers up to speed on Thailand’s generous offering on health-and-wellness tourism knowledge and products. He then concluded his address by remarking the following, “We hope that this event will further strengthen the awareness of Thailand as the premier destination for health and wellness tourism,” The event proved to be very successful, providing ample opportunity to rub shoulders with high-level medical doctors and specialists as well as one-on-one conversations between stakeholders. There was also time for presentations, examinations, digital information and so much more. Some of the hospitals and clinics had even arranged to shuttle prospective buyers for visits to their respective institutions. As a renowned tourist destination, Thailand and its people are well known for their hospitality. It has been recognized among the top level Wellness and Health providers in the world. According to a report by, the independent consultancy, VISA and Oxford Economics, Thailand has once again been confirmed as one of Asia’s top medical tourism destinations. The Thailand Authority for Tourism is aspiring to widen out on the fusion of tourism wellness and health. It has

been proven beyond all doubt, the capacity and motivation Thailand possesses towards taking up that challenge. As a major highlight, the event confirmed people’s conviction of Thailand being a “Paradise for Longevity”. The government of the Kingdom of Thailand has implemented new medical tourism policies - extending the visitor-stay period to 90 days for citizens of the integrated CLMV countries and the Republic of China - in order to accommodate medical tourists traveling to its shores. Additionally, the long-stay visa preferentially offers an extension of 10 years to Australia, Canada, Japan, Denmark and other European countries. The conference got international media coverage with media delegations from Belgium, France, and the Netherlands being present. Under the auspices of TAT France and the Royal Thai Embassy in The Hague, an educational tour, to selected health-andwellness facilities, was organized after the conference, in order to provide first-hand experience. Royal Thai collaboratively with Tourism Authority of Thailand offices, around the globe, will eagerly assist interested parties in obtaining further information on Thai health and wellness tourism.



Romanian Cultural Happening

Blouses By Roy Lie A Tjam

The Embassy of Romania in The Hague has organized a superb Universal Day of the Romanian Blouse(“Ie”) at the Chancellery. The event was in cooperation with the Romanian national air carrier TAROM, and NetSib Foundation in Deventer. An exclusive event indeed, special guest at the event was Mrs. Andreea Ciortea, a Romanian cultural expert and a founding member of the movement “La Blouse Roumaine” who was flown in for the celebration of Universal Day of the Romanian BlouseIe/Ie. She delivered a lecture entitled “The spirit and celebration of the “IA” = the Romania Blouse. H.E. Brandusa Predescu Ambassador of Romania cordially welcomed her guests. The program included the screening of the video: Romania Blouse in Motion, a video projection of the dance show Hora, inspired by the large variety of traditional dance, music and rituals of Romanian culture. Furthermore, a lecture by the independent Romania choreograph based in the Netherlands Mr, Cornellu Ganea. The Hora dance show is one of his productions. Ambassador Brandusa Predescu applauded the two artists and sponsors for their contribution. The 2017 celebration of Universal Day of the Romanian Blouse(“Ie”) in The Hague, was a delight, attended by Ambassadors, friends of Romania and the Romanian diaspora.


H.E. Brandusa Predescu Ambassador of Romania


The annual joint naval exercise between the Bolivarian Coast Guard of Venezuela and the Caribbean Coast Guard of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, known as Open Eyes 2017, took place from the 23rd to the 26th of October in the maritime area of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. The main purpose of this naval exercise is to strengthen working relations between the Venezuelan Coast Guard and the Netherlands Coast Guard. Also, Open Eyes brings opportunities for mutual learning experiences on various procedures used by each Coast Guard under different circumstances. This year naval and flight units of both coast guards trained on search and rescue operations. In addition, the Centre for Rescue and Coordination of Curaçao participated in these exercises by performing important roles. As a closing event, participants of “Open Eyes 2017” exchanged presents from each country and engaged in a social activity at Daaibooi Beach in Curaçao. “Open Eyes 2017” is a clear example of the high level of cooperation conducted by both countries, Venezuela and the Netherlands, in order to jointly contribute to peace and stability in the Caribbean region, thus strengthening constructive bilateral relations.


Ladislav Hamran elected President of Eurojust The College of Eurojust elected Ladislav Hamran, currently Vice-President of Eurojust, as well as National Member for the Slovak Republic, as the new President of Eurojust. Mr Hamran replaced Michèle Coninsx. Ladislav Hamran has 17 years’ experience as a prosecutor. He started working at the General Prosecution Office in Bratislava in 2003, investigating and prosecuting mainly economic crime and corruption, until his secondment to Eurojust as National Member for the Slovak Republic in 2007. He was elected Vice-President of Eurojust in December 2013, and was re-elected Vice-President in December 2016. As Vice-President, he was mainly responsible for information and knowledge management projects, leading Eurojust’s Working Group on reorganisation and prioritisation.

Mr Hamran said: “I am overwhelmed with emotion and extremely grateful that my colleagues have placed their trust in me once again. They twice voted for me for Vice-President, and have now granted me the ultimate honour, President of Eurojust. I vow to listen carefully to people throughout the organisation to help make Eurojust a trusted and effective key partner in judicial cooperation. I fully believe in collegiality, both as an approach and as a working method, by developing healthy, effective and sustainable links between the College and the Administration, and also with our external partners and stakeholders. I want my term

in office to be marked by objectivity, fairness, transparency and integrity. My door will always be open. I look forward to modernising and professionalising Eurojust, in line with its wonderful new premises.”

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90th Anniversary OF THE FOUNDING OF THE PEOPLE’S LIBERATION ARMY OF CHINA By Roy Lie A Tjam. Photography: Roy Strik.

The Military, Navy and Air attache, Senior Colonel Hai Wei hosted a reception to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army of China, which falls on August 1. The People’s Liberation Army is among the world’s largest standing armies, and it’s taking on a greater role in International Diplomacy.

H.E. Mr Ken Wu, Ambassador of the People s Republic of China.

The reception was held at the auditorium of the Embassy on Thursday 27th July 2017. A video about the history of the People’s Liberation Army of China and a photo exhibition entitled Journey of Glory on the development of the PLA were displayed at the reception. In his welcome address, H.E. Ambassador Ken Wu introduced Chinese military’s active involvement in UN peace-keeping missions, counter-piracy missions, disaster relief missions and various military operations. Ambassador Wu Ken, spoke highly of the relationship between China and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is his firm conviction that the steady bilateral relationship will be perpetuated. Senior Colonel Hai Wei in his address reviewed the achievements of the People’s Liberation Army in the past 90 years. He hinted at the ongoing reforms in the army. Wei relates, the PLA is moving towards becoming a first-class military entity in the world. About 250 guests, including high-level military officers and delegates in the Netherlands, attended the reception.


itary, Navy ai Wei, Mil H l e n e lo o bassy of th Senior C e to the Em nd ch a tt a ir A and hina a public of C People s Re u, Ambassador. nW H.E. Mr Ke


Vietnam’s National Day celebrated in The Hague By Roy Lie A Tjam. Photography: Roy Strik.

The Embassy of Vietnam in The Hague recently celebrated the 72nd anniversary of the National Day at the Chancellery on Javastraat. H.E. Ambassador Ngo Thi Hoa delivered her welcoming speech by paying respect to Vietnam’s National hero and beloved President, Ho Chi Minh for declaring Vietnam’s independence, proclaiming the birth of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam, now the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. A country once plagued by war, Vietnam is currently an open-end economy, and as a result, living standards are constantly improving. Vietnam has completed many of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) before its goal-deadline, and its updated average GDP growth rate is at 6.5% per annum.

In part, this is what H.E. Ambassador Ngo Thi Hoa stated about the relationship between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the S.R. of Vietnam:

ur diplomacy is one of openness and “Oactive contribution to the common cause

of the world for peace, cooperation and development. The Vietnamese people always wants to befriend and be a reliable partner to all countries in the world including the Netherlands.

Our two countries are on the way to commemorate the 45th anniversary of that partnership in 2018. Our strategic partnerships are effective in significant areas such as climate change adaptation, water management; sustainable agriculture and food security.

e Netherlands is the second biggest “ Th European trading partner and top European investor of Viet Nam. Given our similarities and complimentary advantages, Viet Nam and the Netherlands have tremendous potentials for cooperation, and I’m confident that our bilateral relationship will have a bright future, benefitting the peoples of both countries.

The celebrations went on in the garden of the Chancellery with a fabulous performance by “QUAN HO LEN DONG” folklore displaying Quan Ho folk singing and practices related to the Viet beliefs in the Mother Goddess of three Realms. There were booths with authentic Vietnamese specialties. It was indeed a delightful Vietnamese afternoon in The Hague.

Cycling Diplomacy


The group of participants in the 10 Km route was made up of cyclists of all ages, first-time riders as well as veteran riders. Participating Ambassadors and diplomats were from: Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Ecuador, Estonia, ICC, OPCW, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Poland, South-African and the USA. The objectives of the ride were to promote inclusion and to provide an opportunity for networking, all while having fun and exploring The Hague’s historical and to touristic environment. The tour departed from Carlton Ambassador Hotel, traveled in the direction of the International Zone, and returned via Haagse Bos to end in the city center. Along the way, stops were made at interesting sights. Following the bike ride, all participants were invited for lunch at a renowned cafe in the center of The Hague. DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE #7


Ambassador of Cuba, H.E. Soraya Elena Alvarez Nunez


meet & greet Embassy of cuba Cuban Ambassador Hosts “Auténtica Cuba” Evening

Mrs Catherine van der Loos, Diplomat Magazine, Ambassador Alvarez, Mr Eduardo Morales and Mr Roy Lie A Tjam, Diplomat Magazine

By Catherine van der Loos. Photography: Kim vermaat.

The diplomatic calendar in The Hague opened unofficially with a lively “end of summer” evening hosted by the Embassy of Cuba. Ambassador Soraya Elena Alvarez Nuñez and her spouse, Mr Eduardo Morales graciously welcomed invited guests to a “Meet and Greet” reception held in “Ambassador Room” at the Carlton Ambassador Hotel, for an informal evening of music, mojitos, traditional fare, Cuban cigars and dancing. Ambassador Alvarez Nunez addressed the audience as follow: “After returning from the vacation period, it is a pleasure to share with all of you this beautiful Thursday afternoon, in which we invite you to enjoy the cozy premises of the Carlton Ambassador Hotel, who has opened his doors to us to show part of the Cuban culture: our exquisite food, our cocktails, renowned drinks, and even letting ourselves be carried away by the tropical rhythms of our music.

I will take this opportunity to convey a special thanks to all the collaborators of Diplomat Magazine, who have made us, feel part of this great diplomatic family and have supported us to make a reality this beautiful event.” Following the ambassador’s brief introduction, Kiko Ortega, the DJ hired for the event, played “Guantanamera,” a patriotic folk song loved by millions throughout the Western Hemisphere and around the world. The song, synonymous with the island nation, in the heart of Caribbean, infused the reception with a relaxed tropical atmosphere and served to put the ambassador’s numerous guests immediately at ease with each other. In addition to many representatives from the Dutch government; official representatives from more than twenty countries with diplomatic missions to the Netherlands attended the event. Diplomat Magazine and Carlton Ambassador, co-sponsored the event together with Mr. Manolis Arvanitis, the General Manager of the Diplomatic Card. Guests were offered “mojitos”, Cuban rums and served Arroz Moro, pork, mixed salad and “Old Havana” hamburgers. A generous selection of Cuban coffee and cigars were available for guests to enjoy between the olive trees on the hotel’s sunny garden terrace while dancers performed inside the Ambassador Room.

As a gesture of goodwill and for the purpose of cultural diplomacy, Ambassador Alvarez Nuñez’s staff presented guests takeaway bags filled with “holiday dreams” to be shared with armchair travellers at home. The bags included a copy of “Auténtica Cuba”, the country’s latest travel brochure promoting the country as a year round holiday destination. Cuba, the largest island in the Caribbean, offers a temperate climate and a variety of travel experiences for everyone to discover and enjoy. “Auténtica Cuba” is an invitation to explore the island’s 300 km of fine sandy beaches, 5,000 km of coastline, warm tranquil waters, coral reefs, historic cities and nine UNESCO cultural and natural world heritage sites. With major airline carriers offering daily nonstop flights from Amsterdam to Havana, Cuba has never been closer. The great explorer Christopher Columbus, according to “Auténtica Cuba,” described the island’s natural splendour as, “the most beautiful land that human eyes have seen.” After enjoying the ambassador’s warm introduction to “authentic Cuba,” many guests are likely to plan their own “meet and greet” with the Cuba for an island holiday in the near future!

Anton Lutter, Djoeke Altena, Eugene Matos with a guest.


for more pictures see: diplomatmagazine.nl

meet & greet Embassy of kazakhstan


An extraordinary Diplomat Meet and Greet. By Roy Lie A Tjam. Photography: Kim Vermaat.

Ambassador Magzhan Ilyassov joyously welcomed his guests to the Ambassadors Room of the Carlton Ambassador Hotel The Hague. Attendees came from a broad diplomatic spectrum, among them Ambassadors and Embassy representatives of Russia, Belarus, USA, Cuba, Cameroon, Bangladesh, Iraq, Georgia, Kosovo, Austria, Bangladesh, Armenia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Hungary, Bosnia & Herzegovina, European Union, European Parliament, OPCW, International Courts. Magzhan Ilyassov subsequently expressed thanks to those who made it all happen, Diplomatic Card, Hotel Carlton Ambassador and Diplomat magazine. Ambassador Magzhan Ilyassov continued his welcome remarks reminiscent of the fact that June 2, 2016, was the day he landed on Dutch soil in order to take up the position of Kazakhstan ‘s(new) Ambassador to the Netherlands. Magzhan Ilyassov went on, mentioning 2017 to be the year of celebrating 25 years of diplomatic relationship between his country and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Netherlands is Kazakhstan’s second most important EU business partner. The Ambassador introduced a brief video presentation of his country. By all means, the video has proven to be a very revealing one. 2017 has been an eventful year for the Kazakhstan mission under the valiant direction of Ambassador Magzhan Ilyassov. Some of the activities to date lectures at De witte Society, a business investment seminar, official mission to Kazakhstan and a Diplomat Meet & Greet. Furthermore, there has been ample opportunity to get acquainted with brandy and chocolate labeled “Made in Kazakhstan” it is said, Kazakhstan chocolate and brandy are secret weapons that can conquer. Ilyassov endeavored to have a friendly chat with his guests. He’s a fabulous host. Below: The Russian Ambassador H.E. Alexander Shulgin, spouse Natalia Shulgina, Mrs. Akmaral Aydarbekova and her husband the Ambassador of Kazakhstan H.E. H.E. Magzhan Ilyassov.

Kazakh Ambassador Hosts Open House at New Embassy H.E. Mr Magzhan Ilyassov, Ambassador of Kazakhstan, and his wife, Akmaral Aidarbekova, hosted a memorable celebration to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Kazakhstan and the Netherlands. In a welcome display of generous hospitality to mark the significant event to both countries and to celebrate 25 years of the diplomatic service of Kazakhstan, Ambassador Ilyassov graciously opened the doors of his country’s new embassy building on the Badhuisweg to more than two hundred guests. Nearly all of the ambassadors from the diplomatic missions in the Netherlands stopped by share the important occasion with Ambassador Ilyassov and to extend their best wishes to the Kazakh people. Other guests included representatives from the Dutch government and business sectors notably, many senior corporate guests from the Dutch oil and gas industries were among the invitees.

ov r Dilyor Khakim bassador, H.E. M g Lee, Am un EU Yo n s, lo Yu r. ou Iliop ussels, H.E. M Br m fro H.E. Mr Dimitris g in m omou, Uzbekistan co pidoforos Econ Ambassador of a, and H.E. Mr El re Ko h ut So of Ambassador Cyprus. Ambassador of

Ambassador of Kazakhstan, H.E. Magzhan Ilyassov and spouse Mrs. Akmaral Aydarbekova

for more pictures see: diplomatmagazine.nl


Uzbek dancers


meet & greet Embassy of Uzbekistan Cultural Hospitality at its Best The Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Brussels, surprised The Hague’s diplomat community with a grandiose reception to celebrate its 26th Anniversary, an example of the traditional Uzbek hospitality.

The Senator Room of Carlton Ambassador was filled with an abundance of ambassadors, diplomats and judges from embassies and International organisations. Additionally, business people, Dutch officials, parliamentarians, academics and friends of Eurasia came from different Dutch Ministries and universities to celebrate and meet the Ambassador-designate H.E. Mr. Dilyor Khakimov, who would soon present credentials to King Willem Alexander of the Netherlands. Ambassador Khakimov took office in Brussels early September and is also credited to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Early in the morning, the Uzbek team from the embassy in Brussels arrived to Carlton to start the preparation of the venue under the direction of Ambassador Khakimov. Uzbek diplomats and their spouses, artist, dancers and the chef transformed the elegant Senator Room in a welcoming place full of colors, flowers and music. Ambassador Khakimov, H.E. Heidemaria Gurer, Ambassador of Austria and H.E. Vjosa Dobruna, Ambassador of Kosovo wearing typical Uzbek adras, H.E. Andrea Gustovic Ercegovac, Ambassador of Croatia and the Ambassador of Korea, H.E. Yun Young Lee.


Mr. Karomiddin Gadoev, Counsellor and Chargé d’affaires, presented the audience with a detailed speech on Uzbek economy and the already 26-year-old diplomatic relations established between Uzbekistan and the Netherlands. Mr. Azim Mukhamedjanov, second Secretary, Press Official and the driving force of this Meet and Greet, initially planned for this event to take place last autumn but cancelled due to President Islam Karimov’s passing. The Embassy of Uzbekistan in Brussels maintains its presence in the Netherlands by regularly attending lectures at Leiden University, meetings at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Diplomat Magazine events in The Hague, and business conferences in Amsterdam. The Embassy actively participated in the Hanos Gastronomic Festival in Delft and organised media trips. Diplomat Magazine has been invited recently twice to visit Tashkent, Samarkand and

Bukhara, first as part of the international team of observers for the presidential elections and secondly to cover the International music festival XI Sharq Taronalari. After greetings and speeches, the famous Uzbek singer Botir Qodirov entertained the audience with warm melodies that captivated the attention of all, irregardless of the language barrier. Then, Maryam Agisheva, a professional dancer studying choreography in Paris concluded the entertainment engagingly, as many joined her dancing. Immediately after, a wonderful traditional buffet of delicious food was presented. This buffet featured rice prepared in Kazahstan, mouton, patir-non, and various sorts of stuffed pockets of dough, salads, and sweets. Uzbekistan Diplomats Meet & Greet was organised with the support of Diplomatic Card, Carlton Ambassador and Diplomat Magazine.

The Ambassador of Georgia, H.E. Konstantine Surguladze, H.E. Soraya Elena Alvarez Nuñez and Ambassador Khakimov.

for more pictures see: diplomatmagazine.nl

The Ambassador of Korea H.E. Yun Young Lee, and the ambassador of Uzbekistan.

diplomats meet&greet

Ocean 28 summit in Malta Photography: European Union, Matthew Mirabelli 2017.

In Malta, the 28 members of the European Union have announced an ambitious package of 36 EU-initiatives to foster healthier, cleaner, safer and more secure oceans. More than €6 billion have been committed by public and private actors at the EU-hosted “Our Ocean” conference 2017 in Malta on October 5-6, to better manage the oceans. On behalf of the EU, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella announced on October 5 over €550 million of EU-funded initiatives to tackle global oceans challenges. At the conference, opening the conference, Vice-President Frans Timmermans announced that the European Commission would phase out by end 2017 all single-use plastic cups in water fountains and vending machines in its buildings in Brussels. Furthermore, Development Commissioner Neven Mimica reaffirmed on behalf of the EU and its African, Caribbean, and Pacific partners their commitment for sustainable ocean governance. Maltese host, Prime Minister Dr Joseph Muscat welcomed all attending guests and speakers. Prominent support from the cause was at hand with the participation of HM Queen Dowager Noor al-Hussein of Jordan, HRH The Prince of Wales and HSH The Sovereign Prince of Monaco.

for more pictures see: diplomatmagazine.nl

Meet & greet embassy of indonesia By Roy Lie A Tjam. Photography: Roy Strik.

On 26th October 2017, H. E. Mr. I Gusti Agung Wesaka Puja, Ambassador of the Republic Indonesia in the Netherlands organized a Diplomat Meet and Greet (DMG). The event took place at the Carlton Ambassador Hotel The Hague. Scores of Ambassador Puja’s colleagues and friends of Indonesia honored the invitation; they were, in turn, offered a selection of the best Indonesian dishes. All enjoyed the bounteous treat. The program featured performances and a presentation. MC was Ms. Vilda Azwar. The dance duo InaDance performed and live piano music was by Stephanus Maximilian Harsono. Furthermore, Mr. Marc Pieplenbosch introduced his Sayah Spekkoeklikeur. An alcoholic beverage made of Indonesian spices. Pieplenbosch envisages introducing a Padang flavor liqueur by 2018. An animated quiz with interesting prizes concluded the Indonesian style Meet&Greet.


Diplomat Magazine 2017 - version 3.indd 1


A Tulip Planting Ceremony at the Keukenhof Flower Exhibition By Roy Lie A Tjam. Photography: Kristaps Kļaviņš.

A tulip-bulb planting ceremony took place at the Keukenhof Flower Exhibition. Ambassadors of the Baltic states, H.E. Mrs Kaili Terras, Ambassador to Estonia; H.E. Mrs Ilze Rūse, Ambassador to Latvia; and H.E. Mr Vidmantas Purlys, Ambassador of Lithuania, planted the tulip bulb “Flaming Baltic” also known as Tulipa ‘flaming baltic’. The Flaming Baltic Tulip is a tulip variety that was created to commemorate the Baltic Way, a movement that stands for the Baltic states’ independence and freedom. The special tulip will also mark the upcoming centenary of the Baltic countries in 2018.

On the picture H.E Ambassador I Gusti Agung Wesaka Puja of Indonesia, H.E Ambassador Mr. Ahmad Nazri Yusof of Malaysia, Madam Pauline Krikke, Mayor of The Hague, H.E Ambassador Jamie Victor B. Ledda of the Philippines, E Ambassador Ngo Thi Hoa of Vietnam and H.E Ambassador Pornprachai Ganjanarint and Mr. Peter Portman, Director for the Department of Asia and Oceania at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


celebration 2017

Thanks to the contributions of Dutch tulip-growers and the excellent collaboration with Keukenhof Flower Exhibition, a ‘Baltic flowerbed’ adjacent to the William-Alexander pavilion featuring a tulip collection associated with each of the Baltic states. The numerous Keukenhof visitors will enjoy the wide spectrum of tulips such as “Tallinn”, “Latvija” and “Gintarine Lietuva”.

By Roy Lie A Tjam

The planting event took place under direction of the Keukenhof Flower Exhibition’s director, Mr. Bart Siemerink, on 13 November 2017. In his speech, Siemerink indicated how delighted and pleased Keukenhof is to cooperate with the Baltic States, and that he is aware of the significance of next year’s historical celebrations for the Baltic States.

H.E Ambassador Jamie Victor B. Ledda of the Philippines, H.E Ambassador I Gusti Agung Wesaka Puja of Indonesia, H.E Ambassador Ngo Thi Hoa of Vietnam, H.E Ambassador Pornprachai Ganjanarint of Thailand, H.E Ambassador Mr. Ahmad Nazri Yusof of Malaysia the ASEAN Committee and family of The Hague.

H.E. Ambassador, Ahmad Nazri Yusof of Malaysia welcomed the guests to the flag hoisting ceremony on the occasion of ASEAN’s 50th anniversary, he did so on behalf of the following honourable colleagues:

The flag hoisting ceremony of 2017 took place on the premises of the Embassy of Malaysia in The Hague as Mrs. Zuraini Abdul Ghani hosted as the Master of Ceremony. The Embassy of Malaysia is the current chair of the committee “ASEAN Committee The Hague” (ACTH). The program included speeches, songs, and dances in which some of the Ambassadors demonstrated their skills of performing arts. The unveiling of the ASEAN Ladies Circle logo was also an integral part of the program. Similar celebrations took place in the capitals of ASEAN Member States besides The Hague. Ambassador Ahmad Nazri Yusof, commenced the ceremony by expressing his remarks through extending a warm and cordial welcome to the special guest, Madam Pauline Krikke, Mayor of The Hague.


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H.E. Mrs Kaili Terras, Ambassador to Estonia; H.E. Mr Vidmantas Purlys, Ambassador of Lithuania; Keukenhof Flower Exhibition’s director, Mr. Bart Siemerink and H.E. Mrs Ilze Rūse, Ambassador to Latvia.

In his welcome address, Ambassador Yusof assured Madam Krikke that her presence was a tremendous honor to each and every distinguished guest here today which reflected the cordial, important relationship established between the countries of ASEAN and the Netherlands. Ambassador Yusof extended his warm welcome to Mr. Peter Portman, Director for the Department of Asia and Oceania.

Diplomat Magazine 2017 - version 3.indd 1


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