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DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE

J.Th. (Jan) Hoekema, Mayor of Wassenaar

At Home In

Wassenaar

Jamie Shea NATO

It was the best of times...

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert - Minister of Defence

A less secure world

Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda

An exceptional leader The role of the spouse,

Spouses in The Netherlands

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diplomatmagazine

Colophon Diplomat Magazine

By diplomats for Diplomats Year 2, No 2, November 2015

First Ambassadors contributing writers, founders of Diplomat Magazine in June 2013

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’Affairs, Embassy of the Dominican Republic

Publisher Editor

Dr. Mayelinne De Lara Roy A Lie Tjam

We have reached our third year

With wonder and delight, we have seen Diplomat Magazine evolve from a novel concept into a reliable information platform for the diplomatic and international community; an important working tool for diplomats and academics; a creator of events promoting the art and culture of peoples; a cyber sphere bringing together ideas from all over the world; a unique public relations facilitator; and a staunch supporter of the causes of justice and peace. Contributions to this edition are many and varied. Ambassadors from 15 countries expound on economics, global diplomacy, history, art, politics and future global challenges, and we bid farewell to the Ambassadors of Croatia, Sudan and Iraq.

Diplomatic adviser in Brussels Baron Henri Estramant

Associate Editors

Major General, Fabien Ndayishimiye, Embassy of Burundi Anna Maria Mistretta, Embassy of Italy

Junior Editor

Eugene Matos De Lara, University of Ottawa

Junior Publisher

Duke Michael of Mecklenburg, University of Leiden

PHotographers

Henry Arvidsson Hester Dijkstra

Kim Vermaat Robert Huiberts

graphic design Studio Kliek, The Hague 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.

When the idea of the publication was first conceived, we asked ourselves: what can a diplomatic magazine offer? We now have an answer – Diplomat Magazine connects diplomats and make participation possible. In times of rapid change with uncertain outcomes, we are proud to have our main article signed by H. E. Jeanine HennisPlasschaert, Dutch Minister of Defence, who provides an update on the Netherlands’ approach to coping with the turmoil of an unstable world. In this issue, Diplomat Magazine focuses on inclusion, participation, innovation and the future. Among other highlights, we report on the visit of President Paul Kagame, whose célèbre speech was welcomed by an audience of more than 4,000 in Amsterdam. We present articles by the prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, who gives us an exclusive insight into her daily work against war crimes, genocide and crime against humanity; and Jamie Shea, who elaborates on the challenges facing NATO. Archbishop H. E. Aldo Cavalli talks about earth, refugees and modern slavery, while Marc Petermann offers his perspective on the refugee crisis in Europe.

Read also in this special issue about diplomacy in a digital age by distinguished Professor and Clingendale Senior Research Fellow, Jan Melissen. Enjoy our reports on a series of successful diplomatic events, as well as the role of the diplomatic spouse, as told by an ensemble of Ambassadors’ wives meeting at the emblematic Peace Palace of The Hague. We wish to thank the Ambassadors of Armenia, Bangladesh, China, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Iran, Italy, Kenya, Kosovo, Lebanon, Pakistan, Rwanda, Serbia, Slovenia, Tunisia, Ukraine and Venezuela for their incredible support on the establishment of the first Embassy Art Exhibition, organised by Diplomat Magazine and the gallery Patrice van Dorst, which will become an annual event. Thanks also to the Diplomat Magazine team, including our great photographers and inspiring junior contributors. We hope you enjoy the issue.

Dr. Mayelinne De Lara

Diplomat Magazine

Zuid-Hollandlaan 7 2596 AL The Hague, the Netherlands www.diplomatmagazine.nl publisher@diplomatmagazine.nl

Photography by Kim Vermaat. For all the very latest diplomatic news, views, photos, events and more, just go to: diplomatmagazine.nl

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DIPLOMAT VIP Fatou Bensouda, International Criminal Court Dr. Ger Bergkamp, International Water Association Jamie Shea, NATO J.Th. (Jan) Hoekema, Mayor of Wassenaar Kathryne Bomberger, ICMP Karsten Klein

diplomat magazine #3

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DIPLOMAT Ambassadorial H.E. Mgr.+ Aldo Cavalli, Apostolic Nuncio H.E. Mr. Ahmad Jalal Said Al Mufleh, Jordan H.E. Mir-Hamza Efendiyev, Azerbaijan H.E. Konstantine Surguladze, Georgia Francesco Azzarello, Italy Dr. Christoph Israng, Germany H.E. Ms. Dziunik Aghajanian, Armenia Dr. Saad A. Ibrahim Al Ali, Iraq H.E. Asein Isaev, Kyrgyz Republic H.E. Odette Melono, Cameroon H. E. Joseph Cole, Malta H.E. Ambassador Mimoza Ahmetaj, Kosovo H.E. Mrs. Adia Sakiqi, Albania Matjaž Šinkovec, Slovenia Pierre Ménat, France

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29 31 32 33 35 36 39 40 41 42 44 46 47 48 49

Héctor Olasolo Marc Petermann Jan Melissen Sunday Oyinloye Joe Ray Dr Keith Dinni

Ceremony of merit Croatia, Sudan, Iraq

DIPLOMATIC SPOUSES Mrs. Wenci Li The Role of the spouse

DIPLOMAT TOURISM & CULTURE The Tunesian Dar

DIPLOMAT MEET & GREET

Central America, Pakistan, Botswana, El Salvador

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diplomatmagazine

A less secure world 12


diplomatmagazine By H. E. Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert Minister of Defence of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Photography: The Ministry of Defence.

In order to cope with the turmoil in a less secure world, it is obvious that we need more defence. The Dutch armed forces are therefore being strengthened. As an important first step the Ministry of Defence will receive an extra 220 million euros next year in order to improve the readiness of the forces. A figure that will rise to 345 million euros in 2020. The annual budget for the deployment of Dutch forces in international missions will also be increased by 60 million euros. Moreover the Dutch government has announced its readiness to further invest in the armed forces. There is no question that we are living in an era of rapid change with uncertain outcomes. The demands placed on our armed forces are likely to increase even more. We must continue to invest in future-proofing our military. This requires a steady hand in a gradual and long-term approach.

The world in turmoil

There is no question that our security environment has changed for the worse. The instability and conflicts surrounding Europe are undeniably having a deleterious impact on our societies. The recent terrorist attacks on Paris as well as a number of foiled terrorist attempts are a potent reminder of this. Youngsters from Europe are moreover lured to participate in gruesome acts of terror in the Middle East. Bad governance, religious extremism, demographic developments, climate change and a scarcity of natural resources have resulted in a toxic mix in much of the world. This toxic mix of mishap has also induced an increasing number of migrants to knock on the European door. In addition, Russia continues to be a liability to European security. Europe needs to bring stability to the arc of conflict that now surrounds it. This truly is a daunting challenge. It probably even is a generational challenge, involving the whole gamut of (policy) instruments that we have at our disposal. But it is the challenge at hand. And it is clearly in the interest of all our nations. For everyone involved, there is much at stake and no time to lose. We simply need to protect and defend everything we hold dear, our security and our freedom above all.

Improving the readiness of our forces

Our first priority is to strengthen the Dutch armed forces’ basic operational readiness. In NATO, we are helping to improve the responsiveness of the forces in order to deter -- and, if necessary, defend against -- any attack. The Netherlands is actively contributing to implementing the Readiness Action Plan and the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF). Recently, we have also signed the founding declaration for the Joint Expeditionary Forces. By making more people and military materiel available and exercising them more often, we can enhance the rapid deployment of our operational units. And with more reserve parts, stocks can be increased, allowing for faster repair of materiel. It will take time until the effects of measures become tangible at the level of operational units. In the coming years, however, they should lead to a substantial improvement in the armed forces’ basic operational readiness and deployability. In the coming years, the Dutch government intends to also strengthen the combat support and combat service support units as well as the combat units of the Dutch armed forces. And yes, we need to ensure that we can replace indispensable military capabilities.

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Planned deployment of the Dutch armed forces in 2016 In addition to strengthening the armed forces, the Netherlands will continue in 2016 to deploy units for overseas missions. The deployment of the armed forces will be focused on the fight against ISIL, with four operational F-16s and approximately 200 soldiers. We will also be providing 130 trainers for the Iraqi and Kurdish security forces in Bagdad and North Iraq. The Dutch military contribution of some 450 soldiers to the UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA) has been extended until the end of 2016. The Netherlands also contributes to the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan. In 2016, a number of small contributions to missions in Africa and the Middle East will be continued, including the contributions to the European Union Training Mission in Somalia and the Capacity Building Mission Iraq. The Dutch government will decide before the end of this year whether to continue the Netherlands’ contribution to the EU operation Atalanta against piracy in the Horn of Africa in 2016. Vessel Protection Detachments will continue to be used to protect merchant shipping. Moreover, in 2016 the Netherlands will be providing an extensive contribution to the new NATO Response Force. In the second half of 2016, the Netherlands will also contribute to the EU Battlegroup.

intensifying international cooperation I am a strong proponent of greater European defence cooperation. Europe needs to be a much more convincing and credible security provider than it has been. In addition to enhancing our basic operational readiness, the Dutch military will therefore continue to build on its already intensive collaborative partnerships. One example is the treaty the Netherlands signed last March with Belgium for joint air policing. Another is the integration of the Dutch 43rd Mechanised Brigade into a German armoured division. A German tank battalion - one company of which will be staffed by Dutch military personnel - will in turn become part of this Dutch brigade. This arrangement allows us not only to retain our knowledge and skills in operating tanks but also to enhance the deployability and sustainability of our armed forces. The Dutch military is keen to further intensify its cooperation at the European level. In the first half of 2016, the Netherlands will assume the Presidency of the European Union. During those six months, we will strive to make defence cooperation in Europe less noncommittal. A stronger Common Security and Defence Policy is in the interests of not only the EU but also of NATO. It is high time to tackle the European overreliance on the US.

Way ahead

I am pleased with the path we have embarked on. Clearly, we are not yet where we should be. But the reality is that we are once again moving forward.

Clearly, we are not yet where we should be. But the reality is that we are once again moving forward. 14


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diplomatmagazine

Paul Kagame President of the Republic of Rwanda

an exceptional leader By H. E. Jean Pierre Karabaranga, Ambassador of the Republic of Rwanda to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Photography: The Embassy of Rwanda.

In 1990, Paul Kagame returned to Rwanda to lead the Rwandan Patriotic Front’s (RPF) four-year struggle to liberate the country from the autocratic and divisive order established since independence in 1962. Led by Kagame, RPA/RPF forces defeated the murderous regime and stopped the genocide against the Tutsi in 1994, as the world stood aside when the United Nations, and other leading world powers did little to stop genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda. Under Kagame’s leadership, Rwanda has set course towards reconciliation, nation building and socioeconomic development. From the beginning in the aftermath of the genocide against the Tutsis, President Paul Kagame and Rwanda were faced with multiple challenges. Against the odds, he managed to transform an almost failed state/ country into Africa’s biggest success story in less than 20 years.

More than Twenty one years after the 1994 genocide, much of the international commentary about Rwanda is astonishment at the country’s dramatic economic success. President Kagame has received recognition for his leadership in peace building and reconciliation, development, good governance, promotion of human rights and women’s empowerment, and advancement of education and ICT, and is widely sought after to address regional and international audiences on a range of issues including African development, leadership, and the potential of ICT as a dynamic industry as well as an enabler for Africa’s socioeconomic transformation. President Paul Kagame, is widely recognised for bolstering investor confidence through his anti-poverty strategies and strong political leadership. His economic policies have encouraged the staple of agriculture, at the same time ushering in diversification by means of the industries of the future. With a GDP growth rate of 7.8% a year, Rwanda was in 2014 named by World Bank’s top economic reformer. Rwanda today ranks top of the other countries in the world where women constitute more than 64% in parliament and other high ranking positions both in the government and private sector. Despite the many uncommon challenges in our country, his leadership shows results for people on the ground. In the last 20 years, the average life expectancy has increased to 65 years, up from 48 in 1990, according to the World Health Organization.

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Infant mortality have drastically reduced, from 253 per 1,000 in 1995 to 32 per 1,000 in 2015 and continue to reduce, a tribute to the general health insurance (Mutuelle de Santé). School enrolment right from primary to university has also increased by over 150% due to the introduction of free education system (9 and 12 year basic education). Rwanda has met the deadline for almost all of MDGs including the fastest rate of decline of child mortality and gender parity in education. Foreign aid, which remains at about 15% of GDP, has been effectively used for economic development and poverty reduction. As a matter of fact between 2010 and 2014 1,500,000 people were lifted from poverty. Through safety and security, zero-tolerance for corruption, and a stated goal to transform foreign aid into trade and investment development aid, Rwanda has put itself on a trajectory toward greater self-sufficiency; the evidence is in the numbers projected 7.6% GDP growth in 2015, making it the ninth fastest growing economy in the world. The streets of its capital, Kigali, are impeccable, the roads are good and clean, lights work and, police officers in Rwanda do not stop drivers simply to coerce bribes. Very unique, under Kagame’s leadership Rwanda has banned plastic bags. At Kigali International Airport, a sign warns visitors that plastic bags are not allowed. Eventually, the country is looking to ban other types of plastic becoming the world’s first plastic-free nation. Rwanda’s constitution recognizes that “every citizen is entitled to a healthy and satisfying environment.” It also underlines each citizen’s responsibility to protect, safeguard and promote the environment.


diplomaticevents

Key Achievement under President Paul Kagame leadership

• t he 2014 World Bank report : Rwanda among the fastest growing economies of the world. • Growing the economy at an average GDP of 8% p.a. and we aim at achieving 11.5% from 2015 - 2020. • Growth of the GDP per capita in 2013 $693 from $644 in 2012, a 3 fold increase from 2000. Our GDP target is $1,240 by 2017. • Rwanda’s strong performance is largely driven by the expansion of the service sector. The sector contributes about 48% of GDP compared to 33% and 15% contributed by agriculture and industrial sectors respectively. • Inflation in Rwanda has been kept at a single digit since 2008. • Fitch Ratings Ltd, sets Rwanda’s Credit rating at B+ with a positive outlook, citing strong economic growth over the past years and prospects for stronger growth. • Rwanda is the safest country to live in Africa. (Gallup Report 2012). • Clean and green city, with the lowest crime of any capital city in the region, Kigali declared winner of UN Habitat Award (2008)- highest award for an urban area. • 2nd Safest city in the world for women to walk alone (Gallup report 2013). • 5th contributor of troops globally to UN Peace keeping missions across the world. • Rwanda has made substantial progress towards gender empowerment Rwanda is first in the world in terms of female representation in government, most notably with the achievement of 64 per cent female representation in Parliament. • In health, Rwanda increased life expectancy from 46 in 1995 to 68 years by reducing the infant and under 5 mortality rate and the maternal mortality rate, by to controling potential epidemic diseases and reducing AIDS prevalence. With more than 90% of the rural population now subscribed to Mutuelle, the mutual healthcare insurance, almost everyone can afford healthcare. Due to greater access to health services there has been a decline in death from diseases like malaria, which saw an 85.3% drop between 2005 and 2011. • In education: With 61% of the population being under the age of 24 the Rwandan government has made education a top priority. The government has made primary and secondary school compulsory for both boys and girls. • 3rd easiest place to do business in Africa.

President Kagame concludes two dayS official working visit to the Netherlands On 5 and 6 October 2015 President Kagame concluded a two-day official working visit to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. After addressing over four thousand Rwandans and friends of Rwanda during Rwanda Day in Amsterdam, President Kagame commenced his official working visit to the Netherlands by meeting His Majesty King WillemAlexander in The Hague before holding discussions with Queen Máxima that mainly dwelt on financial inclusion. As one of Rwanda’s earliest development partners after the end of the Genocide against the Tutsi, the Netherlands continues to be a key supporter of Rwanda’s justice sector and Food Security. President Kagame also held discussions with President of the Senate Ankie Broekers-Knol and Speaker of the House of Representatives Anouchka van Miltenburg as well as Mr Bert Koenders, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Mrs Liliane Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands During the meeting with the President of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Representatives, President Kagame highlighted the strength of Rwanda’s bilateral relations with the Netherlands: “The country was rebuilt from scratch, thanks to the resilience of the people of Rwanda and support of partners such as the Netherlands. Rwanda has been developing over the last two decades against many challenges in different areas.”

• 4th easiest globally for a business to get credit. • 8th easiest globally to acquire and register a property. • Top global reformer 150th to 46th in 6 years (by IFC and World Bank). • Most competitive place to do business in East Africa and 2nd in Africa, after Mauritiusv( by World economic Forum). • 7th best destination for investments. 2nd in Africa after Botswana. (BPI Index 2014). • 6 hours to register a business.

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ICC-Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, gives a tour d’horizon of her Office’s work By Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. Photography: Photoline.

As Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or the “Court”), my mandate is to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, where we have jurisdiction and the relevant national authorities are either unwilling or unable genuinely to do so. I have proudly served this important institution for more than 10 years, and since June 2012, as its Prosecutor. It is a great privilege and an honour to serve in this capacity. The role carries with it immense responsibilities, and I’m most committed to continuing to fulfil my mandate in accordance with the Rome Statute without fear or favour. Much has changed since a decade ago. While challenges remain, the Court also has significant achievements to its name. The ICC has not seen busier days. In the context of my Office’s preliminary examination work, we’re currently analysing eight situations from around the world, including with respect to Afghanistan, Georgia, Palestine, Iraq (regarding alleged detainee abuse by UK forces), Ukraine and Colombia, to determine whether the legal criteria of the Rome Statute have been met to open an investigation. My Office has already opened nine investigations in Uganda; the Central African Republic (two separate investigations); Sudan, Darfur; the Democratic Republic

of the Congo; Kenya, Libya, Côte d’Ivoire, and Mali. More recently, I also requested authorisation from the Court’s judges to open an investigation into the situation in Georgia. That judicial determination is pending. On the strength of the Office’s new strategic plans, we continue our work in the courtroom by bringing cases built on solid foundation, and by so doing, demonstrating the severity of Rome Statute crimes and hopefully to deter future crimes. This brings me to an important point. As calls for the exercise of our jurisdiction grow from all four corners, my Office continues to face resource challenges. This increase in demand for justice has not been fully matched by a similar increase in resources. Support from States Parties for adequate resources is critical to carry out quality preliminary examinations, investigations, and prosecutions. Investing in justice will pay dividends for peace, stability and economic growth, while the return on that investment in human terms is incalculable.

Similarly, strong institutional structures and policies that allow us the flexibility to adapt to these increasing demands within the strict legal confines of the Statute are fundamentally important. For this reason, I have invested specifically in the development of a comprehensive Code of Conduct for my Office as well as policies, and new strategic approaches to our work. In June 2014, we promulgated the Office’s Policy Paper on Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes. We are also busy working on a similar Policy Paper on Children in and affected by armed conflict. Other policies are being contemplated, including a comprehensive Office policy on protected property, including historical buildings and monuments, under the Rome Statute. All such efforts are geared towards enhancing the quality of our performance and ensuring our effectiveness. These are not merely feel-good words or lofty goals. I have made quality performance a top priority in everything we do at my Office. We must strive to consistently generate results and achieve efficiency-gains where possible. We have already started to see the fruits of such efforts in practice. Our work is not done in isolation. States Parties have the primary responsibility to investigate and prosecute Rome Statute crimes. It is thus our hope that such policies not only contribute to strengthening our own processes, but can also be of assistance to national authorities in their efforts to root out atrocity crimes. Only when all actors within the Rome Statute system work closely together and in full harmony, can we achieve the common goal of ending impunity for the most serious crimes of international concern.

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Can the Paris climate negotiations be successful if water is ignored?

The Dead Sea is reducing in volume

We have reached a point where water is now considered to be one of the highest global risks. Climate change and variability, and the increasing frequency of extreme weather events, call for entire economies and nations to adapt and accelerate the implementation of innovative solutions to address water security. So why does the current text negotiated for the COP21 climate discussions exclude water? If water does not take its rightful place we will be making a mistake of historic proportions, a lost opportunity for effective mitigation and adaptation. The message on water from the international community is at best mixed: in September water gained its own Sustainable Development Goal, making it a global priority; two months later, global climate negotiators seem to have forgotten water exists.

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By Dr. Ger Bergkamp, Executive Director, International Water Association. Photography: IWA

We live in a changing world that is quickly becoming water scarce. Fresh water is critical for human wellbeing, as well as for healthy ecosystems and sustainable economies. Yet water scarcity is a global reality and water resources are facing unprecedented pressures. Rapid urbanisation, coupled with population growth and changing consumption patterns are being exacerbated by man-made climate change and variability. Water is not just a ‘victim’ of climate change, it can be part of the solution to mitigate climate change. Getting water in the right quality and quantity where it needs to be in agriculture, cities and industries is typically energy intensive. Between 10% and 40% of operational costs are on energy consumption, and the water sector contributes between 2-5% of global carbon emissions, including through emissions such as nitrogen oxides and methane. New and existing technologies, combined with innovative regulation and financing, can incentivise the water sector to become energy and carbon neutral. Water utilities in Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands already operate treatment plants that are energy neutral. The IWA is developing a new framework to enable water utilities to make an easier transition to energy and carbon neutrality over the next 20 years. This will not only reduce carbon emissions, it can

mean major savings on utility energy bills and improve their bottom line. This is crucial at a time when many utilities are under pressure from falling consumption due to water efficiency gains at household level. On top of mitigating climate change, the water sector has a major role to play in adaptation to climate change. We need to reduce the amount of water we abstract, change the way we use it and come up with new ways to re-use and discharge wastewater. The IWA’s 5Rs framework of new water management can be a powerful tool for building the adaptation that we need. Reducing water loss and increasing water efficiency. Re-using water and creating a ‘new’ resource. Recovering energy and materials from wastewater to catalyse a circular economy; Re-plenishing the environment through restoring watersheds, lakes and groundwater reserves. Together these lead us to a 6th R: Resilience.


diplomaticevents To see the new global reality in practice all you need to do is visit Jordan, as I did earlier last month. Jordan, a country where the availability of water resources per capita is one of the lowest in the world. Rising industrial and agricultural production to meet the needs of a growing population are combining with climate change to produce a potential ‘worst case scenario’ in Jordan, and across the Middle East and North Africa. This in combination with the dramatic refugee crisis increasing water demand is what you could call a ‘perfect storm’. Prolonged droughts and soaring summer temperatures, like this summer, will become the norm rather than the exception. Political instability and water conflicts between communities and countries are increasingly likely. Yet we have the technology and knowhow to find solutions to these challenges. With significant investment in water infrastructure and best practice water management, good governance and the right policy and financing frameworks, it is possible to ensure water security in Jordan and elsewhere. Talking to Hazim el Nassar, the Jordanian Minister for Water and Irrigation, during the IWA Water and Development Congress last month in Jordan, it was clear that water resources are being depleted at unsustainable rates. Jordan needs major support, including financial support of billions of dollars, to prevent it from falling prey to the regional and potentially water-related instability. The increasing water tensions between the resident population and refugees who have fled Syria and Iraq in their millions is a sign on the wall. To keep Jordan afloat a major international effort of support is needed, unparalleled in the region, to ensure technology is put in place to re-use water, increase efficiency, pay for the electricity bills of water and ensure water is provided safely to all communities. Jordan’s situation is not unique, and many parts of the world will face similar conditions over the next 20 years. While we are negotiating on climate change in Paris, we should not forget that financial resources are needed today to ensure countries, like Jordan, which are already on the edge of serious climate conditions are not pushed over the edge to fall prey to social, political and economic instability.

Republic of Korea National Day 2015 By Roy Lie A. Tjam. Photography: Kim Vermaat.

The Korean National day 2015 celebration, attracted scores of fellow ambassadors, public servants and many friends who arrived to congratulate Ambassador Jong-hyun Choe. A summary of the Ambassador’s address now follows: “We’re celebrating today the foundation of the Korean nation. According to our historiography the history of our people can be dated back some four thousand years. And this year holds even greater meaning in that it is seventy years since my country was liberated from colonial rule in 1945 following the end of the Second World War. Since then my country has indeed travelled a remarkable path. We owe a great deal to our friends in the international community for the support and help extended to us as we travelled that path. The United Nations helped us to form a new government in 1948 by establishing seven commissions. And when we were attacked by North Korea in 1950, many countries including the Netherlands sent soldiers to defend us. After the Korean War, many friends extended an invaluable hand to us in the form of significant development assistance. Since the mid- sixties when my country adopted an export – oriented growth strategy, you have bought Korean products. And since the mid -seventies many of you have placed orders with Korean construction companies. Had it not been for all these, my country would not be where it is today. And I would like to take this opportunity to express our deep appreciation to you for all you have done for us.”

Dr. Bergkamp speaking at the World Water Congress

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Ambassador Jong-hyun Choe’s address was followed by a performance of the Soprano: Yun Park and a quartet made up of students at the Prins Claus Conservatorium in Groningen.

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“It was the best of times; So begins Charles Dickens’s novel A Tale of Two Cities. It is an observation that could equally apply these days to NATO. By Jamie Shea, Deputy Assistant Secretary General Emerging Security Challenges NATO. Photography: NATO.

In the first place, Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its military incursion into Eastern Ukraine, have given the Alliance a new lease of life. In the 18 months since the Kremlin’s actions upended the post-Cold-War European security order and raised alarm bells regarding the extent of Russia revisionism, NATO has been busy around the clock organizing exercises, and deployments in Central and Eastern Europe. These have intended to reassure the Eastern Allies that NATO will stand by them if Russia attacks. The Alliance has substantially changed its force posture to be ready to respond with new high alert multinational reaction forces. It has placed six new Headquarters on the territories of its Eastern Allies and overhauled its command and control arrangements and air defences, so as to be able to handle the requirements of large-scale manoeuvres and major incoming forces should it come to the worst case scenario.

‘NATO has been busy around the clock organizing exercises, and deployments in Central and Eastern Europe.’

As it heads towards its next Summit in Warsaw in July 2016, the question will be just how many soldiers and how much hardware NATO will need to station durably in Eastern Europe to deter Russia as well as reassure its own member nations. Enough to prevent war – or to successfully fight one – but not so much that Vladimir Putin concludes that Russia is now locked into a long-term confrontation with the West; nor so much that the Alliance has no forces left for crisis management or the next generation of military interventions elsewhere. Getting this balance right between a capacity for military escalation on the one hand and political de-escalation on the other will be the crucial task for NATO ambassadors and their military colleagues in the months ahead.

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This said, the spring in its step that the Alliance is getting from returning to its classical mission of collective defence should not make us think that NATO is now condemned to be successful, or that security is once again automatic. It is also, if not the worst of times for NATO, certainly one of the most demanding and challenging in its entire history, and this for a number of reasons. First is that defence budgets do not necessary follow new threats. Governments will try to avoid cutting their military forces further but the costs of re-settling hundreds of thousands of refugees and bailing out the weak Eurozone economies, will make it difficult for many Allies to respect their NATO commitment to spend 2% of their GDP on defence. Currently only five out of 28 Allies do this. The modern demands of security with the focus on terrorism, border controls and intelligence services, also means that the classical military no longer has the monopoly on security funds that it once enjoyed. Many governments will take a gamble that they can re-establish

effective deterrence relatively on the cheap through more military activity and joint multinational units rather than new capabilities and additional soldiers. This will make risk assessment a very important topic on the NATO agenda. Secondly, what if Russia does not pose a direct military threat to NATO, given NATO’s overall superiority in budgets and capabilities, but tries instead to exploit the Achilles Heel of hybrid warfare? This involves intelligence operations, infiltrating special forces, economic pressures and propaganda campaigns to intimidate an adversary and undermine his will to resist. We saw this with the “little green men” in Crimea and the way in which Russia rapidly took over key facilities and the entire communications system of the local Ukrainian government and armed forces. Although it is beyond question that NATO countries are less vulnerable than Ukraine to hybrid warfare, it will still be a challenge for the Allies to identify the early warning indicators of this type of covert campaign and to sort out who is the best responder: the nation, the EU with its economic instruments or NATO with its military forces? How does NATO help its member states to identify their vulnerabilities and improve their resilience against hybrid warfare?


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it was the worst of times” ‘The Alliance has substantially changed its force posture to be ready to respond with new high alert multinational reaction forces.’ The third issue concerns the South where the threats stemming from the breakdown of governments and sometimes entire societies in North Africa and the Middle East are arguably as severe as those posed by Russia – and certainly not something that any diplomat can negotiate his way out of in the foreseeable future. Success here will require patient conflict resolution and institution and defence capacity building to help legitimate local governments stand on their own feet. Ultimately, interventions on the ground may be needed to eliminate

the most radical and extremist elements, like the Islamic State, which unfortunately are also the best equipped, financed and organized and unlikely to submit to pressure from air campaigns alone. Here the Alliance is not 80% of the solution, as it is in dealing with the military threat posed by Russia in the East and its brain power in forging alliances with local actors and other organizations like the UN and the EU, will be as important, if not more so, than its military brawn.

So ultimately, the pressures on NATO have never been more diverse. Gone are the days when the Alliance could deal with one challenge at a time and have it more or less under control before a new challenges arises. Moreover after 20 years in which NATO member states have had partnerships and cooperation and stabilization missions as the principal DNA of NATO’s raison d’être and daily activities, restoring NATO’s reputation as a major military power to be feared as well as respected will not be straightforward. It will not be the task that many NATO ambassadors would have looked forward to at the beginning of their mandate or that Alliance-watchers had hoped would be necessary in the new Europe after the Cold War; but it has become, whether we like it or not, the new prerequisite for transatlantic security in the decades ahead.

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At Home In Wassenaar By J.Th. (Jan) Hoekema, Mayor of Wassenaar. Photography: the Municipality of Wassenaar.

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Crunchy crumpets for breakfast, a plate of mac ‘n’ cheese -only works with a second helping-, the rotten smell of durians at the market, a secret stash of Yam noodles, HobNobs to dunk into your cup of tea…. Every expat has been there. In a bout of melancholy you suddenly find yourself in an expat store, desperately looking for comfort food that makes you feel a bit closer to home. Only to realize that to go looking for the things you miss most, you feel even more homesick than before. In my younger days, working as an officer for the MFA, I often wondered what exactly made me feel like home. Living abroad changes your concept of ‘home’. Expats may sometimes feel a bit unrooted as to them ‘home’ has become a transitory place. It is a new place, in a new country, with new people and new customs and at the same time it is also the place you left behind, where your family and friends live, where everything is familiar. However, returning to the homeland for a shorter or longer period of time always needs adjusting for you never really return to the place you left behind. During your absence your familiar world has moved on as well. And to your own amazement going back to the host country feels more like homecoming than you could ever have imagined. During the years I spent abroad to me ‘home’ became not so much a location, as a feeling. A feeling that I was welcomed, a feeling that I could share and contribute. And above all, a feeling of belonging, safety and being in sync with the environment. For several years now, the beautiful village of Wassenaar has been this home to me. A village I am very proud to be Mayor of.

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‘home’ became not so much a location, as a feeling. A feeling that I was welcomed.’ Elsevier magazine, the Dutch equivalent to Time Magazine, proclaimed Wassenaar to be one of the ten best places to live in the Netherlands. Wassenaar is an authentic Dutch village, located in a National Park that comprises historic properties, dune landscape and meadows. This green pearl on the Dutch coast offers an oasis of peace and quiet near the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague -and their great museums, concert halls, theatres, universities amongst other big city pleasures. Wassenaar is the hometown of our beloved Royal Family. The safety of Wassenaar offers them a peaceful and private setting in which they can retreat from their public lives. At the same time Wassenaar is a safe haven for refugees, who can here start to recover from the atrocities of war to take their place in society again.

Wassenaar has a strong sense of community and a vibrant cultural life. We take pride in sharing our beloved residential area and our habits and customs with people from all over the world. It is with good reason that many internationals choose Wassenaar as their Dutch home town, amongst which 35 ambassadors. Approximately 20-25% of our inhabitants are expats which clearly contributes to the flavour of our open community. Footprints of the integration of our expat community can be found in the annual Open Air performances of The English Theatre at Town Hall De Paauw, the International Chamber Music Festival Wassenaar and the campus of the American School of the Hague being located in Wassenaar. I hope that during your stay in Holland we can provide you with a feeling of home. So that somewhere in the future, you find yourself longing for our good old Dutch favourites: warm chocolate, stroopwafels, salt liquorice and gold Gouda cheese…


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ICMP Establishes Headquarters in The Hague

By Kathryne Bomberger, Director-General, the International Commission on Missing Persons.

More than three quarters of a million refugees have set out for Europe by sea in 2015 and of this number almost 3,500 have perished. Many of the missing and dead have not been located; many have not been identified.

Signing of the Host State Agreement with Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders on 5 October 2015. Photography: Aad Meijer (photographer MFA).

Those who disappear on the world’s migration routes are a tragic component of a global missing persons crisis that also encompasses conflict, crime, human rights violations and natural disasters. It has become clear that this global crisis requires a global response – and in order to be effective, that response must be coordinated, multidisciplinary, and based on principles that are understood and accepted by all stakeholders. The decision by the governments of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg to sign an Agreement in December last year granting the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) the status of an intergovernmental organization with a mandate to tackle the missing persons issue around the world – the only international organization focused exclusively on this issue – reflects a new international consensus. The Agreement stipulates that ICMP’s new international headquarters will be in The Hague. Foreign Minister Bert Koenders and I signed a host nation agreement on 5 October, and the process of setting up an ICMP office here is now well advanced. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the City of The Hague for the proactive practical assistance they have given us in this exercise.

On 29 October at the Dutch Foreign Ministry the UK chaired the first Conference of ICMP State Parties – a body mandated by the 2014 Agreement. In addition to representatives of countries that have signed the Agreement, representatives of El Salvador, Germany, the US, Interpol and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) attended as observers. The CSP discussed ICMP’s plan of work through 2018. Among key activities for the period, ICMP will host the first meeting in November of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee on Missing Persons, whose initial focus will be on the issue of missing migrants and refugees. In 2016 ICMP will convene the first meeting of the Global Forum, which will bring together policymakers, legal experts, academics, civil society activists and others to advance an international discourse on missing persons. During the coming three-year period, ICMP will harness new scientific methods to enhance its standing capacity in DNA-based human identification and it will establish a Center of Excellence for Training in The Hague. In addition, ICMP will expand access to its Identification Data Management System (iDMS) so that it can be utilized online from anywhere in the world. And it will operate programs in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Also on 29 October at the Foreign Ministry, we briefed around 30 country representatives on ICMP’s activities, explaining among other things that through signing the Agreement, countries are able to contribute to the organization’s development and strategy, as well as further advance the process of addressing the global problem of missing persons. Countries do not assume any funding or other financial obligations by signing. Originally established in 1996 at the initiative of US President Bill Clinton to help governments in the Western Balkans account for the 40,000 people missing as a result of the conflicts in former Yugoslavia, ICMP spearheaded an effort that made it possible to account for more than 70 percent of these people. In 2001 ICMP pioneered a DNA-led process that resulted in an exponential rise in the number of identifications. ICMP was invited to work beyond the Western Balkans for the first time in 2005, following the Southeast Asian Tsunami and since then it has been asked by governments and organizations to work in countries throughout the world. With a standing capacity to process 10,000 DNA profiles per year, ICMP has been able to make around 20,000 DNA identifications worldwide. ICMP employs a rule of law approach and helps states to develop public law institutions to investigate missing persons cases. In the course of two decades we have found that this is more effective than an ad hoc humanitarian approach. ICMP also works with families of the missing to help them lobby effectively for their rights. Having our headquarters in The Hague will make it possible for ICMP to work more closely with diplomatic missions, international courts and other organizations that are based here. We look forward to developing constructive relations in the City of Peace and Justice with a community of people who are committed to delivering solutions to major global challenges. For more information please visit: www.icmp.int Photography: ICMP.

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The Hague has an international eco-system

What exactly entails the program?

‘Let me start with a few examples: Drones who can be used in a case of emergencies, big data, which can be converted into practical visualisations to make humanitarian help more effective and tweets who can be converted into flood maps who can actually save lives in case of flooding. The mentioned examples are all technological innovations with an international impact, made possible by start-ups or entrepreneurs who are all based in the Hague. We call this phenomenon: the impact economy and it is exactly the kind of economy the city wants to stimulate. That is why we have developed this program. The city is a junction of public authorities, of international institutions and companies, creatives, embassies and NGO’s. This has an historic background, of course, but also more and more an economic signification. I call it an international eco-system: on a daily basis thousands of people are working on a better world.

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By Karsten Klein. Photography: Arenda Oomen.

Alderman Karsten Klein has the Hague lliterally at his feet: his office at City Hall provides a magnificent view of the hustle and bustle of the city. If it is up to Klein there will be even more economic bustle in the city. To achieve this, an increase in innovative talent is necessary. That is why he has introduced the program Impact Economy, a program where societal and technological innovations with international outreach are united to create a better world.

can play an innovative role in solving them. For example: I can imagine that countries who are based in delta’s and are suffering from flooding can benefit from the start up, I mentioned above, that extracts data from twitter and creates maps that give insight to inundation areas. Embassies that are interested are more than welcome to contact us on impacteconomy@denhaag.nl. We also encourage them to have a look at our platform impactcity.nl on which they can also share their events and possibly share their challenges.

The Hague used to focus on attracting large international institutions and companies to settle in the city. Now we are ready for the next step: we can use our reputation as international city of peace and justice to attract companies and start-ups who are working on global challenges. Our international ecosystem is a perfect environment for exactly these kind of entrepreneurs who are focused on making our world a better place. The city wants to stimulate people working on the Impact Economy by investing in people, places experiments and ideas.’

How does the embassy network benefit from the Impact Economy program?

‘In the impact economy embassies and their economic diplomats are valuable partners with whom we would like to collaborate more intensely. Embassies can let us know which challenges they are facing in their country. We are interested in entering such dialogues, as some of our impact start-ups

Also, I can imagine the city organising meet-ups or conferences for certain trade sectors from specific countries. We can than inform economic representatives of the embassy about promising developments for new industries. Not so long ago I went to Milan to discuss the enhancement in the area of food, food production and food safety. The Westland is one of the most knowledge –intensive agriculture areas and is just around the corner. Right here in this city we have multiple companies and start-ups who are working on further rejuvenation of these themes. We can make this knowledge and these developments are potentially applicable to other countries for other countries. There is more. In addition to this I think there are also more informal possibilities for cooperation. We want to create a welcoming environment for diplomatic staff. The Impact Economy program inspires to attract young people. The city offers a lot of international cultural activities, sports events and recreational opportunities. We have high end meeting places and an international events calendar. We encourage embassies to join us.’

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Apostolic nuncio

Earth, Refugees, Modern Slavery

By H.E. Mgr.+ Aldo Cavalli, Apostolic Nuncio. Photography: Kim Vermaat.

The international community always has some questions to face and to solve. Sometimes we find ways to reach solutions; sometimes that it is not immediately possible: in that case many people have to suffer.I want to point out three problems that are particularly keeping us busy these days, problems we are discussing in order to find some solution: the question of earth, the question of refugees, the question of modern slavery.

Is it possible not to think about the ecological problems, about the task of caring for the Earth, our common home? Not to think about what we experience, what we see, what we touch: the destruction of the biological diversity, the change of the climate, the contamination of the earth’s waters, of its land and its air? Perhaps the first thing we have to do is to improve our personal attitude towards the Earth. It seems to me that Francis of Assisi is an authentic leader to teach us how to appreciate the Earth, how to reach the correct attitude in front of nature that surrounds us and gives us the possibility to live well: “Praised be you, my Lord, with all your creatures, especially Brother Sun, who is the day and through whom you give us light… Praised be you, my Lord, through Brother Wind, and through the air, cloudy and serene, and every kind of weather through whom you give sustenance to your creatures…Praised be you, my Lord, through sister Water, who is very useful and humble and precious and chaste...Praised be you, my Lord, through Brother Fire…”. (Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, nr. 87)

‘... three problems: the question of earth, the question of refugees, the question of modern slavery.’ All of us are in any way concerned about these problems, and sometimes we propose solutions we thought about, but it seems difficult to find even the correct beginning of the way to a true solution. Also Pope Francis thought about those problems to reach the true solution, in dialogue with the people and the institutions that are concerned about those questions.

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If we experience that Earth is like a mother that nourishes all her sons, we learn to respect our country and the countries of others. Then we understand that everyone can live well on this Earth, and nobody should feel compelled to leave his country to take refuge in another country, because of a deficiency in the primary necessities of life.

‘...nobody should feel compelled to leave his country to take refuge in another country.’ If we experience that the Earth is for all, then we understand that all of us have the right to live free wherever we live, and none has the right to treat a person as a slave. “Human beings too are creatures of this world, enjoying a right to life and happiness, and endowed with a unique dignity.” (Laudato Si’, nr. 43) To seek in ourselves the interactions with natural system and social systems makes us leaders of good in this world.

This is the true attitude to experience the Earth: all elements of the Earth are our brother and sister…all is our family.

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“ To Paris with the Identity Card ” ... a Romanian comedy Text and pictures by Catherine Dailey.

The Embassy of Romania, in cooperation with the Romanian Cultural Institute in Brussels, presented a screening of the recent Romanian comedy film, “To Paris with the Identity Card” on September 17 to mark the opening of the European Film Festival. H.E. Ireny Comaroschi, Ambassador of Romania to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, warmly welcomed guests at the embassy’s grand drawing room transformed into a private “film house” for the evening screening shown to a capacity crowd. Among the guests were members of the Romanian community in the Netherlands, Dutch government officials, including Mr. Roelof van Ees, Director of Protocol of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and film aficionados enjoying the opportunity to participate in the European festival.

They were introduced to a realistic tragicomedy. The film depicted contemporary life in Bucharest, after the fall of communism nearly twenty-five years ago, as experienced by a community of former academics, politicians, aging citizens, young couples and troubled families. Serban Marinescu, the director of the film, documented the vacuous reality of his fictionalized characters’ bleak isolated lives sharply—lives seemingly devoid of values, hope and meaning.

Following the screening, the audience had an opportunity to speak with the film director, Mr. Șerban Marinescu, actors Mr. Mircea Diaconu and Mr. Dorel Vișan, the director general of DACIN-SARA, Mr. Bogdan Ficeac and the film producer Mrs. Carmen Tripădus. Many in the audience, who were gathered for the event, expressed their views on Romanian politics and society’s values.

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jordan Water Situation in Jordan By H.E. Mr. Ahmad Jalal Said Al Mufleh, Ambassador for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Photography: Kim Vermaat for Diplomat Magazine.

Water is the heart of life and enters directly and actively in all life activities. Jordan’s renewable sources cannot keep up with the growing demand. This deficit is translated by the marked increase in the country’s imports of food items compared with its exports. This strategy outlined long term goals to develop and manage water resources, put forth recommendations on its allocation, legislations and institutional organization based on sound assessments. H.E. Mr. Ahmad Jalal Said Al Mufleh, Ambassador for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and his wife.

The annual average of fresh water available as renewable resources within the safe limits is about 750 million cubic meters annually, including 275 million cubic meters from renewable ground water resources and the rest from surface sources. In addition to this, treated waste water is used, as well as quantities taken from non-renewable ground water to cover the deficit in various needs. This has a negative impact on ground water reservoirs. About 51% of this water is used in agriculture, 44% for house use and 5% for industry. Jordan’s needs of water in 2014 are estimated at about 1200 million cubic meters, of which only 850 million cubic meters are available, a deficit of 30%. This deficit is subject to increase due to population growth and increased economic activity on one hand and on the other further burdened with the massive influx of 1.4 million Syrian refugees into Jordan over the past 3 years, with less than 10% in camps and the rest absorbed into our communities. The share of Jordanian individuals from renewable water in 2014 was less than 130 cubic meters for various uses. This is a small portion of what individuals need for domestic and industrial use, and water for food production. Individuals need 1000 cubic meters annually, which means it is a high priority to take advantage of all water resources available, including reusing treated waste water. A water strategy was drafted to cover water needs up to 2022, and was approved by the government.

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The government has made much effort to provide Jordanian citizens with water, as well as provide sanitation services through waste water networks. The percentage of house water service increased to 95% and sanitation services increased by 65%%. Moreover, 31 waste water treatment plants were built producing 137 million cubic meters annually of treated water used for irrigation purposes. In view of the progress in supply systems in the Kingdom and weak management of collection and maintenance, work must be done to overcome these drawbacks. A high percentage of Jordan’s population lives in urban areas, and urban environmental problems form a number of elements of water resource management, such as: Establishing wastewater treatment plants based on advanced technologies, implementing programs for rain water, water seepage and sanitation programs in urban areas. In addition to promoting the treatment and reuse of waste water and solid waste, and control of industrial sources of pollution to protect water resources. As for the goals, work is underway to reach an average supply for each person with around 112 liters of safe water per day to fulfill the needs of the population and maintain health, as well as supplying 75% of the population with sanitation and ensuring that 75% of the solid waste produced in urban areas is collected, treated and disposed of in an environmentally safe way. The Ministry of Water and Irrigation is mandated with the water sector, and its role focuses on drafting water policy, decision making, central administration of data and information, monitoring, and national

water planning for the water sector. Under its umbrella there are two arms: the Water Authority of Jordan that is mandated with domestic water affairs, including the development of water resources and supplying citizens with it, as well as the execution, maintenance and operation of supply systems, providing sanitation services, and waste water treatment and reuse. The Jordan Valley Authority is mandated with the development of the Jordan Valley area. This geographic area’s primary activity is agriculture, and most of the activities of this authority are connected to irrigation water. There are many government and private institutions that play a role in the water sector such as the Ministry of Agriculture, Metrology Department, Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Finance, and other specialized research and study centers, such as universities, NGOs mandated with environmental protection, and the Royal Scientific Society. The effective provision of water resource assessment technologies appropriate for Jordan’s needs, including means of assessing the climate impact on fresh water, and taking the necessary institutional measures to verify good collection, analysis, storage, and extraction, and the distribution of this information among those who need it, in terms of the quantity and quality of water resources available in water fall areas and in ground water storage, will certainly lead to sustainable development and a water environment that will maintain public health. In the area of water resources and its quality, and the water ecosystem, the government is intensifying efforts to prevent further deterioration in water quality and the ability to control high consumption rates as a result of population increases and industrial activity, in order to preserve water resources which should ensure public health.

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diplomatAMBASSADORIAL

Azerbaijan sustainable development as a target By H.E. Mir-Hamza Efendiyev, Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Photography: Max Koot Studio.

Azerbaijan has come a long way from the challenges it faced upon gaining its independence from the USSR in 1991. At that time, political and socio-economic situation in the country was disastrous, Azerbaijan was on the verge of civil war, and this situation was aggravated by the ongoing Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, resulting in the occupation of 20% of our territories by Armenian military forces. The conflict is still the most painful issue for Azerbaijan and continues to pose a serious threat to regional security in general. Therefore, we expect the international community to demonstrate a firm response to security challenges that persist in the region by consistent commitment to the territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of international borders of Azerbaijan and urge for soonest implementation of respective UN Security Council resolutions adopted in this regard. The situation continued to deteriorate up until the arrival to power of Heydar Aliyev, the late president of Azerbaijan, in 1993. Immediately after, the chaotic situation returned under control, and Azerbaijan rapidly started showing signs of recovery and development. The far-sighted oil strategy of Heydar Aliyev opened new opportunities for the country and just a year after, in 1994, a historical agreement was signed between Azerbaijan and the consortium of foreign oil companies, known as the “Contract of the Century”. This resulted in the oil boom in our country and put a start to the well-known projects related to energy security and diversification such as BakuTbilisi-Ceyhan, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum, the currently being implemented Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), and the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP). Today, President Ilham Aliyev’s successful continuation of this policy, throughout the implementation of complex political and socio-economic reforms in the country ensures stability and dynamic democratic development. One of the main priorities for

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our government today is the diversification of our economy through directing oil and gas revenues into non-oil sector and successful steps are taken in this direction. Azerbaijan has implemented a series of innovative reforms in every sector of the country’s economy and a significant importance is given to the modernization of public services, modern communication and information technologies. Our country has achieved significant results in the economic diversification process, and for the past year 2014, the share of non-oil sector in the overall GDP counted for 60%, and this positive trend is expected to continue further. The current relations between Azerbaijan and the Netherlands are dynamically developing. Recent years have been rich in reciprocal visits of the heads of states as well as ministerial meetings in different fields, the latter of which took place recently in the framework of the 70th session of UN General Assembly. Today, more than 100 companies with Dutch capital are registered in Azerbaijan and operate in various business fields. In the period of last two years four business forums between Azerbaijan and the Netherlands were successfully held. It is a positive fact, that according to our Ministry of Economic Development and Industry, for the year 2014, the Netherlands were fourth in terms of foreign direct investments in the economy of our country.

Tolerance and dialogue between cultures is a way of life in Azerbaijan. The Government pursue the policy of cultural dialogue and tolerance which objective is to enable the people to live together peacefully and o develop a sense of community. In this regard, “Baku Process” for the promotion of intercultural dialogue was initiated in 2008 and World Forums on Intercultural Dialogue and Baku International Humanitarian Forums held in Azerbaijan each year. When talking about the ongoing processes in Azerbaijan, it is important to mention that our country has become a host for many important international events which contribute significantly to the process of growth of interest and tourism in Azerbaijan. Our country is being host to International festivals and contests, such as the “Gabala International Music Festival”, the “Eurovision” song contest in 2012. The Inaugural European Games successfully held in Baku in June this year. Now we have on the agenda the Formula 1 “Baku European Grand Prix” which will take place in 2016, as well as fourth “Islamic Solidarity Games” in Baku in 2017, several matches of UEFA “EURO 2020” and etc.


diplomatAMBASSADORIAL

GEORGIA Seven years on since 2008 August war By H.E. Konstantine Surguladze, Ambassador of Georgia to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Photography: the Embassy of Georgia.

82 years old David Vanishvili, went to sleep in his house in Georgia, just to find himself the next morning in the so called “South Ossetia”, occupied part of Georgia, with his house being separated from his farmland by the barbwire fence, marking the socalled “border” between Georgia and the occupied region. On the 7th anniversary of the RussiaGeorgian 2008 August 5 days war, despite the EU-brokered six-point Ceasefire agreement between Georgia and the Russian Federation, the latter remains in full disregard of its obligation under this agreement. Russia blatantly violated the ceasefire agreement and recognized two regions of Georgia, Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states; instead of withdrawing its forces to their pre-war positions, the RF has reinforced its military bases in these regions, built on places of annihilated Georgian villages, inhabitants of which, up to 140 000 ethnic Georgians where forcefully driven from their homes, whereby they joined already existing IDPs; 20% of the Georgian territory continues to be occupied by Russian occupying forces.

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Current developments in Ukraine are simply reinstallation of the approaches firstly tested by Russia in Georgia, just on the smaller scale. The political support Georgia received from international community, appeared, as time has shown, as non sufficient to stop Russia’s further aggressive steps, since Russia perceived it as a “soft persuasion” and a signal that revision on the “results of the cold war” was still possible, notwithstanding the drastic violation principles of inviolability of borders, hence the fundamental principles of International Law. So it seemed to be a good start for new endeavor-challenging Ukraine. Current developments in Ukraine are simply reinstallation of the approaches firstly tested by Russia in Georgia, just on the smaller scale. What we are witnessing today are merely steps undertaken by Russia towards “creeping occupation and annexation”. Let me shortly outline the facts: Barbwire fences are being installed along the occupation line in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region, which further intrude into the territory controlled by the Central Government of Georgia, leaving behind the houses and farmland of the local population; also, banners are being installed, marking the so-called “state border” along the occupation line, the most recent installation took place just over two months ago, whereby a considerable segment of the Strategic Baku-Supsa Oil Pipeline, has fallen under the control of the Russian occupation force. Moreover, Russia signed the so-called “treaty on alliance and strategic partnership” with its occupation regime in Sokhumi and similar “treaty on alliance and integration” with the Tskhinvali occupation regime, whereby both documents are directed against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and constitute the factual annexation of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, as provide for their full integration into social, economic, administrative institutions and – most importantly - military and security space of Russia.

The process is significantly affecting everyday life of the local population, both in the occupied regions, as well as in the adjacent areas. The local population is forcefully deterred from the access to their agricultural lands, potable and irrigation water systems. Residents are prevented from acceding to the local cemeteries and reaching emergency medical services. Moreover, some of them were compelled to leave their places of residence left behind the occupation line, thus creating a new generation of IDPs. The situation inside Georgia’s occupied regions raises particular concern given that no international monitoring mechanisms operate therein since the mandates of the UN and OSCE Monitoring Missions were vetoed by the RF back in 2009. As for the EU Monitoring Mission, deployed in Georgia immediately after the War, it is still denied access to the occupied territories. These developments are a part of Russia’s purposeful policy provoking Georgia and further threatening already fragile peace and security on the ground, region and beyond and are well inscribed in the broader neighboring political agenda of Russia - undermining the sovereignty of its neighbors with clear European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations. There is only one coherent response from Georgia, - strengthening its grip on democracy, rule of law and promotion of other benefits of the democratic state along with its other undertakings, including the unilateral legally-binding non-use of force pledge vis-à-vis Russia. At the same time, on the part of the international community, vital is on the one hand, the genuine assessment - adequate to the wider challenges Russia represents today - of these developments and on the other, its active inclusion in Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic integration process,- our irreversible choice, which will certainly serve as a protective shield against Russia’s policy of sphere of influence domination.

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diplomatAMBASSADORIAL By Francesco Azzarello Ambassador of Italy. Photography: The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

ITALY EXPO Milano 2015:

The Universal Exposition in Milan has been an undoubted and uncontroversial success. Since its opening the 1st of May, EXPO 2015 has been the showroom of efficient and sustainable food management, as well as a unique platform for economic opportunities and political discussions. Leaders, businessmen, visitors from all over the world have gathered in Milan in order to visit the premises of the Exposition and raise awareness on the issue of food production. The message carried through the slogan “Feeding the Planet. Energy for Life” could not have been more timely and effective.

what a success!

EXPO 2015 has had 145 participating countries, among which 54 built up their pavilions and the remaining joined in nine clusters organized around a specific theme: bio-Mediterranean (10), rice (5), cacao and chocolate (6), coffee (10), cereals (7), fruits and legumes (9), islands and sea (14), desert (8), spices (4). Through the clusters, EXPO 2015 has ensured the highest level of representation of African countries ever attained by a Universal Exposition. Among the International Organisations, the United Nations and the European Union set up their own pavilions, with the UN prestigiously established at the Pavilion Zero at the main entrance of EXPO and the UE in front of the Tree of Life. A large number of private companies have also taken an active role, such as Alitalia, Case New Holland, Coca Cola, ENEL, Ferrero, Intesa Sanpaolo, Perugina. EXPO 2015 has achieved an impressive record of over 21 million visitors, with an increasing rate of 150.000-200.000 visitors per day (from 19 to 25 October 1.200.266 people have visited EXPO). These remarkable achievements highlight that EXPO 2015 has delivered one of the best performances ever in the recent history of Universal Expositions.

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World leaders have gathered in Milan to visit EXPO 2015, mainly during the national days of their countries: the most intense months have been June and July, and more national days are scheduled for September and October. In the first weeks, EXPO 2015 was visited, among others, by the European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini, President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, Egyptian Minister for Foreign Trade Mounir Abel Nour, Ethiopian Minister of Industry Mebrathu Meles, Indonesian Minister of Trade Rachmat Gobel, Qatari Minister of Economy Sheikh Ahmed Bin Jassim Al-Thani, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. To recall some of the visits in June, the Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Wang Yang on 8 June, Argentinian President Christina de Kirchner on 9, the Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin on 10. And the British Prime Minister David Cameron on 17, US First Lady Michelle Obama on 18, French President François Hollande on 21, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev on 27. The Japanese Minister of agriculture Yoshimasa Hayashi and the Minister of Economy Daishiro Yamagiwa visited on 11 of July and Queen Letizia of Spain on the 23. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the 18 of August, the Iranian Minister for Industry Mohammen Reza Menatzadeh and Minister of Culture Ali Jannati on the 23, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the 27.

Amongst many other visits of Heads of State, of Government and Ministers, the Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon visited EXPO on October 16: during the official ceremony, which was attended by the President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella, he received the Charter of Milan as a legacy of Expo to the United Nations. On the 17, US Secretary of State John Kerry concluded the Food Week organized by the USA Pavillon. EXPO has been a unique opportunity for business: more than 1.750 private companies from 72 countries have registered in the platform EXPO Business Matching, which has been organized in order to facilitate B2B meetings. 350 of them took place in May and June. 400 more delegations of private companies have visited during the following months. Also civil society has been actively involved with a dedicated pavilion at Cascina Triulza. Last but not least, a particular mention should be addressed to the “Women’s week” which took place from 29 June to 10 July, with the participation of the Italian former Foreign Minister Emma Bonino, the former Deputy Foreign Minister Marta Dassu’ and the President of EXPO Diana Bracco.

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diplomatAMBASSADORIAL

GERMANY Supporting OPCW’s disarmament efforts in Syria is a top priority for German foreign policy By Ambassador Dr. Christoph Israng, Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Germany to the OPCW.

Although almost all countries in the world have acceded to the treaty banning chemical weapons, they still pose a threat: the international community is facing a great challenge in Syria. The country joined the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 2013 and had to dismantle its chemical weapons programme. This was a great success for the international community.

is especially important that agreements are honoured, for we are facing the next stage in difficult negotiations and it is essential that the reliability of the international community’s pledges be beyond doubt.”

Germany, as well as our international partners, have actively supported and continue to support the efforts of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to implement the CWC in Syria, through both ad hoc support (e.g. by providing air transport for OPCW inspectors) and more complex missions. Most of all, however, Germany contributed five million euros to the OPCW Trust Fund for the Destruction of Syrian Chemical Weapons. Moreover, we support the use of EU funds for this task.

The German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) provided assistance by conducting a maritime escort operation for the US vessel Cape Ray while it was executing the at sea destruction of Syrian chemical weapons. Naturally, this took place in accordance with international Photography: Desmond Parks/U.S. Navy. Courtesy of www.bundeswehr-journal.de agreements and UN mandates. In this maritime escort operation, German soldiers ensured that the transport and destruction of The truth is that However, it is disappointing Syrian chemical warfare agents were finalised successfully and safely. even now, more than two The method of ‘hydrolysis’ was used, meaning that the destruction toxic chemicals such that years after Syria’s accession of these chemical weapons took place in a closed system and thus as chlorine are being to the CWC, doubts remain no substances were released into the air or sea. About 400 tons of over whether the Syrian liquid and solid residues of mustard gas, created by this method, used in Syria. authorities have declared all were transported to Germany elements of their chemical for their complete disposal Germany contributed weapons programme. Sadly, there is even worse: the truth is that at the publicly-owned toxic chemicals such as chlorine are being used in Syria, regularly disposal company GEKA five million euros to the killing and severely harming mostly civilians including children. in Munster, northern Germany. These substances, OPCW Trust Fund for Disarmament and non-proliferation have always been a top foreign known as hydrolysate, were the Destruction of Syrian policy priority for the Federal Republic of Germany. Therefore, burned in compliance with Germany actively works for the full and global implementation of environmental regulations Chemical Weapons. the CWC as well as its universalisation. That is why Germany is by April 2015. Hydrolysate actively contributing to ending the threat posed by Syrian chemical and other remaining chemical agents were transported to Finland, weapons, including the destruction of the declared Syrian chemical the United States and the United Kingdom for their final destruction. weapons outside of Syria. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter On the occasion of the finalisation of the destruction operations Steinmeier commented on this, saying: “No-one who takes their in Germany and Finland, OPCW Director-General, Ambassador international responsibility seriously can refuse to live up to this Ahmet Üzümcü stated: “This is yet another milestone on the path obligation [supporting the destruction of the Syrian chemical to eliminating chemical weapons stocks from Syria – one that was weapons]. That also applies to our country, as we have fully achieved in a safe and efficient way, thanks to the valuable support developed technical facilities for destroying chemical substances. It provided by the German Government and Finnish industry.”

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diplomaticevents

StartupDelta By Duke Michael of Mecklenburg & Baron Henri Estramant. Photography: The European Commission.

Former European Commissioner and Dutch politician Neelie Kroes started at the beginning of 2015 the “International Circle of Influencers” in conjunction with HRH Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands and others. The latter association encompasses investors, top business people, engineers and government officials from the USA, Europe and Asia. Photography: OPCW

Continuing reports of the ongoing use of chemical weapons in Syria are a challenge for the entire OPCW family. Additionally, the German Armed Forces have run several safety training courses for OPCW inspectors. Germany has also financed two projects to improve the protection and treatment of civilian chemical weapons victims in Syria: on behalf of the German Government, GIZ (German corporation for international cooperation) provided the supply of medical equipment with a total value of more than two million euros to Syrian civil society. A third project is currently under way. The delivered equipment does not only provide urgent medical support to local hospitals and doctors in the region between Aleppo and Hama, it is also perfectly suited to the difficult situation in the area: the equipment is portable and can be relocated quickly and easily to other hospitals if necessary. Furthermore, medical staff of the German Armed Forces have contributed to an OPCW handbook on the treatment of victims of chemical weapons. Continuing reports of the ongoing use of chemical weapons in Syria are a challenge for the entire OPCW family. Every use of chemical weapons is a breach of the CWC and must be investigated. The unanimous decision of the 7 August session of the United Nations Security Council to identify those responsible for the use of chemical weapons in Syria is an important step in this regard. The OPCW’s independent experts will play an important role in the coming investigations. Germany stands ready to continue to actively support the OPCW’s work as well as to help make the OPCW’s main objective a reality: a world free of chemical weapons.

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The circle was already welcomed by Prime Minister Mark Rutte on 8 June 2015 at the Catshuis in The Hague, to draw up the methods for a detailed study on how exactly best to achieve their goals. Neelie Kroes acts in the capacity of “Special Envoy” from the Prime Minister, the Minister of Economic Affairs, Henk Kamp, and the Mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard van der Laan. The “International Circle of Influencers” is but an arm of the larger project, StartupDelta, which profiles itself as “One single hub for startups”. In terms of startup innovation, Amsterdam, ranks high, ranking no. 4 within the EU, and 19 globally. Moreover StartupDelta is Europe’s 3rd fastest growing startup ecosystem, just behind Berlin and London and ranks the 5th highest Growth Index of the global top 20. In spite of the country’s small size, Dutch startups as for instance Booking.com, Adyen and Shapeways are changing the way people worldwide travel, pay and build their homes. One should also not forget that Wi-Fi, CD, Bluetooth and the DVD were all invented in the Low Countries. Multinationals, banks, think tanks and institutions such as Royal Philips, TNO (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research), ING or ASML are already part of the prestigious network of StartupDelta. Amongst the influential business people StartupDelta counts Ron Mobed (Elsevier), Feike Sijbesma (DSM), Peter Wennink (ASML), Pieter van der Does (Ayden), Werner Vogels (Amazon), Robert Verwaayen (RoBen) or Paddy Cosgrave (Web Summits). On the picture: Ms. Neelie Kros, International Circle of Influencers.

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diplomatAMBASSADORIAL

ARMENIA a country rich in history, traditions and opportunities By H.E. Ms. Dziunik Aghajanian, Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Photography: Kim Vermaat.

Armenian - Dutch connections go back into the depth of history. Sint Servaas, an Armenian-born bishop from 4th century, is patron saint of Maastricht, Schijndel and Grimbergen. Gent still honors the memory of St. Macarius, an Armenian thaumaturge who died there in the eleventh century. Over half a millennium Armenians were trading with the Dutch and had well-established communities around the country. A Dutch writer states in “De Amsterdammer ” magazine of 14 August 1887 that “The story of the Armenian community is a golden page in the history of the city of Amsterdam.” Despite the historic connections, the relationship between Armenia and the Netherlands are still in early stages of development. It started in 1992, as Armenia regained its independence after six centuries of statelessness. The cooperation then focused mainly on assistance to Armenia as part of the Dutch constituency in IMF and World Bank. It is only recently that the cooperation has shifted towards bilateral economic partnership. Both the Dutch and the Armenians are well-known for being trading people with big networks, both are heavily reliant on the human capital given the natural restrictions, both have relatively small countries and are focusing on innovative approaches to maximize the possibilities for advancement. Yet the geopolitical situation that Armenia faces- the continued blockade by Turkey and Azerbaijan, the escalation of ceasefire violations around the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, the persistent geopolitical tensions in the South Caucasus and inoperative communication infrastructure in the region create almost insurmountable difficulties for rapid development of a landlocked country like Armenia. The resilience of the Armenian people is more apparent now than ever. Hundred years from the day when the Armenian genocide was perpetrated in the Ottoman Turkish Empire with the purpose of wiping out Armenians and all Armenian traces from their homeland, Armenians are proud to stand with a strong and prosperous

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Diaspora enjoying respect in all the countries where they found refuge. About two decades after a devastating earthquake that took the lives of more than 25000 people leaving one-third of the country in total devastation and over half a million people homeless, over 400000 refugees fleeing the massacres of Armenians in Sumgait, Kirovabad and Baku, and a war unleashed by neighboring Azerbaijan to stifle the peaceful drive of Armenians in Nagorno Karabakh for selfdetermination, the collapse of the Soviet economic system and the blockade by the

Armenia, today, presents itself as a middle-income country with diversified economy. neighbors that threw the economy to a total standstill, Armenia, today, presents itself as a middle-income country with diversified economy registering growth despite the world financial crisis hitting hard. Reforms carried out in the country have created beneficial environment: Armenia ranks thirty-seven in WB’s 2014 “Doing Business” index, 2013 Index of Economic Freedom by Heritage Foundation rates Armenia thirty-eight, greater than global average. It is considered to be a good place to do business especially in the areas considered to be priority for Armenia’s development: IT, precision engineering, agriculture, especially horticulture, tourism,

health and education, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. Highly-skilled labor force and emphasis on innovative technologies generate competitive advantages for all those creating partnerships in Armenia. The recent archeological discoveries – the oldest known winemaking facility, dating back to 6100BC, and the oldest, 5000-year-old leather shoe add on to the existing historic and natural attractions in the country. Hundreds of Medieval churches dotting the Armenian landscape are of immense interest to tourists that have a fancy for the early Christian history and architecture. Unique soil and climatic conditions, the limited use of chemical fertilizers make the Armenian agricultural products much appreciated in the export markets because of their high quality. Vegetables, trout, sturgeon, red and black caviars are some of the products highly sought in export markets. Alcoholic beverages, world famous Armenian brandy, natural juices, grape and fruit wines are expanding their markets as well. The Armenian beer, produced in Armenia from ancient times, the oldest records of which can be found in Xenophon’s “Anabasis”, has been rediscovered and is gaining more ground, too. Armenia’s recent joining the Eurasian Union and privileged trading status with USA and the EU creates unequaled opportunities for becoming an economic bridge between the two markets.

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diplomatAMBASSADORIAL

IRAQ Looking back on

Iraqi-Dutch relations

By Dr. Saad A. Ibrahim Al Ali, ambassador of Iraq to the Netherlands. Photography: Kim Vermaat.

Dr. Saad A. Ibrahim Al Ali is about to sign off as Iraqi ambassador to the Netherlands. Looking back he is proud of the strengthening of the political and economic ties between Iraq and the Netherlands, thankful for the Dutch support to the process of democracy in Iraq, but above all, proud to have been a chairman of the 18th conference of states parties of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). I presented my credentials to HM Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands on the 23rd of June 2010, becoming the thirteenth Ambassador of The Republic of Iraq to the Netherlands. When I arrived, less than fifteen Dutch companies were doing business in Iraq; today their number has increased to over 170. Shell in recent years closed billion dollar oil deals with Iraq. The Dutch Foreign Ministry strengthened its embassy staff in Baghdad with additional diplomats and opened a consulate in Erbil. Ministers of Foreign Affairs of both countries exchanged visits to each other. Since 2010, there has been an exchange of trade missions on oil and gas, water and agriculture. Iraq is showing a great deal of interest in economic sectors in which the Netherlands has expertise, for instance water, agriculture, construction, oil and gas. Dutch firms in the horticulture sector have signed contracts involving investments in southern Iraq. On the other side, many delegations from Iraq visited the Netherlands; and a new delegation led by the Iraqi Minister of Agriculture visited the Netherlands in October. This all led to the signing and activation of agreements which, in some cases, had been waiting for years: The agreement for the establishment and operation of air services, which was originally signed in 1955 and finally activated in 2013, to stimulate civil air transportation between and via the Netherlands and Iraq. A gentlemen’s agreement has recently been reached between credit insurer Atradius Dutch Business on behalf of the Dutch government and Trade Bank of Iraq on

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behalf of the Iraqi government, for the protection of Dutch exporters to support Dutch companies in Iraq and provide them with coverage against risks. A memorandum of understanding between the Netherlands Court of Audit (NCA) and the Federal Bureau of Supreme Audit of Iraq (FBSA) was signed in the first half of 2013, to review the Performance Audit Function of the Federal Board of Supreme Audit of Iraq. A treaty was signed concerning the encouragement and reciprocal protection of investments, to intensify economic cooperation between both states. As was a Double Taxation Treaty which aims to eliminate the double taxation on its finalization stage. A treaty for the import of live animals is to be signed soon. While our countries strengthened its economic and political ties, safety unfortunately remained an issue. In 2003, the Netherlands participated in the international alliance which toppled the former dictatorial regime in Iraq, and supported the democratic political process. More recently, the Dutch government participated in the international coalition against DAESH (ISIS in English) and provided military support. By September 2014, the total value of Dutch humanitarian assistance provided to Iraq was eight million Euros. The Netherlands, along with other European countries, also opened its arms for Iraqi refugees. It created a new Iraqi community of 55,000 people in the Netherlands; a community which turned out to be successful in the Dutch society.

Iraq developed from being a country with weapons of mass destruction under supervision of the OPCW to being a member state of the OPCW. That is: from being part of the problem, to being part of the solution. Iraq ratified the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in December 2008 and became a member in February 2009. Iraq is now an active member of the Executive Council. I presented my credentials to the Director General of the Organization as the Permanent Representative of Iraq to the Organization on June 14, 2010. I felt very fortunate to represent my country with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, in 2013. We even went to Oslo because OPCW was granted the Nobel Peace Prize for its role in achieving peace and security. In 2013, Iraq chaired the 18th conference of the state parties and also chaired the committee of the whole of the third review conference. I was elected as deputy chair for the 19th session of the state party’s conference in 2014, representing the Asian Group for one year. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to all my colleagues who, with their help and support, have made my job possible, especially those in the Dutch government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I must also not forget my colleagues in the OPCW, with whom I share the continued success of the organization.


diplomatAMBASSADORIAL

By H.E. Asein Isaev, Ambassador of Kyrgyz Republic to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Photography: The Embassy of Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyzstan is a country of majestic mountains, pristine nature, rich culture and hospitable people. Kyrgyzstan is the land of boundless opportunities with rich natural resources and great potential.

Kyrgyz Republic

Investment opportunities

of the Kyrgyz Republic Only for 24 years of independence, Kyrgyzstan managed to achieve the democratization of social and political life, liberalization of doing business conditions, foreign trade activities, membership in international organizations and unions. Kyrgyzstan has provided to the entrepreneurs freedom of trade, opened up the opportunities for the development of production and access to international markets, as well as to its internal market. Furthermore, Kyrgyzstan has advantages among CIS countries in terms of investment attractiveness on a number of factors, as implementation of a program of market reforms and macroeconomic stabilization, active works on the privatization of telecommunications, energy and transport sectors, full-fledged free trade regime, free money exchange system and unrestricted movement of capital, liberal investment regime, where all sectors of economy are open to investors, free economic zones that provide favorable conditions for business. Mining, manufacturing, tourism and processing industry sectors are more attractive for investments. There are numerous large mining and processing enterprises operating in the Kyrgyz Republic. In the meantime, according to international experts, with a relatively

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small area and good geological exploration, mineral resource potential is used poorly. According to international financial institutions, mining sector in Kyrgyzstan annually could generate revenue of more than one billion US dollars and become the locomotive of the entire economy of the country. Kyrgyzstan is one of the leading places among CIS countries on the potential of renewable energy. The most suitable way for the development and practical use of renewable energy in Kyrgyzstan are development of electric power supply using energy of small watercourses, solar photovoltaic and wind power stations. Experts estimate the overall potential of renewable energy is about 840 million tons of oil equivalent per year, while actually used about only 0.2% of them. At present, Kyrgyzstan is the only one Central Asian republic where scientific research and development in this area brought to industrial production. Processing industry in recent years has become increasingly important, as agriculture is the main source of income for the majority of the population living in rural areas.

Kyrgyzstan since ancient times has been in the Central Asian civilization and it is an important hub in terms of international, diplomatic and cultural communications between the East and the West. Moreover, Kyrgyzstan imbibed the cultural achievements of the East and the West, occupying a prime geographical location on the trade routes. Currently, Kyrgyzstan is becoming more attractive for fans of extreme sports, eco-tourism, hiking and bike tours, as well as for people interested in the history and the present day countries located on the Silk Road. Kyrgyzstan has unique natural resources, historical and cultural sites of global significance, as well as the necessary conditions for the development of international tourism. Kyrgyzstan has introduced a visa regime for 61 countries, which also implies openness to investors. All sectors of the economy are open without restriction to the implementation of investment projects and created a very liberal terms for investors. The Embassy of the Kyrgyzstan to the Netherlands welcomes you to the Kyrgyz Republic and will have a pleasure to guide you in the ocean of investment opportunities.

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diplomaticevents

diplomatAMBASSADORIAL

Ambassador Holmström welcomed by IKEA and the Swedish Chamber of Commerce

CAMEROON

By Catherine Dailey. Photography: Caroline Wrangsten.

of Ambassadors

On October 6, 2015 H.E. Mr. Per Holmström was welcomed to the Netherlands by Inter IKEA Systems in Delft and the Swedish Chamber of Commerce.

New Dean of the African Group

Sweden and The Netherlands has a long history of trade and cultural relations and the creation of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in The Netherlands in May 1960 furthered this relationship which has proved mutually beneficial. This relationship is highlighted in a recently published book The Swedes and the Dutch were Made for Each Other. Historiska Media, 2014. Mr. Per Holmström officially became Sweden’s ambassador in the Netherlands on September 9 this year when he presented his Letters of Credence to His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. Up to that time he was Head of the Department for Consular Affairs and Civil Law at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Stockholm and had previously served at the Consulate General in Jerusalem and at the Swedish Embassy in Paris. Mr. Holmström is impressed by the work of the wide variety of Sweden related organizations in the Netherlands, and assures them of the Embassy’s full support. Left picture: Ambassador Per Holmstrîm. Second picture: Ehsan Turabaz Inter IKEA Systems and Kerstin Gerlagh Swedish Chamber of Commerce. Right picture: Ambassador is awarded Honorary Chairman of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce by Ehsan Turabaz and Hannie Kroes SKF.

By Roy Lie A. Tjam. Photography: Gualtiero Buonamassa.

H.E. Odette Melono Ambassador for the Republic of Cameroon to the Netherlands has been appointed Dean of the African Group of Ambassadors, a group of nineteen in total. She is taking over from Dr. Nimota Nihinlola Akanbi, former Ambassador of Nigeria. The Africa Group of Ambassadors looks after matters regarding the continent of Africa and the African diaspora. The Dean works alongside H.E. Ambassador Vusi Bruce Koloane of South-Africa who is the Coordinator of the group at the OPCW and H.E. Karim Ben Becher Ambassador of Tunisia, Coordinator of the group at the ICC.The group convenes on an ad hoc basis. During her stint as Dean, Odette Melono envisages to maintain the cohesion of the Group, which is among other activities, working to change the perception of the continent which is plagued by a distorted image, often sustained by global media outlets. Africa is also tackling present-day challenges such as terrorism, combating transnational wildlife crime, human trafficking and environmental governance. We wish to congratulate Dean Odette Melono on her appointment to this esteem office. We have great confidence she will be a great dean.

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diplomatAMBASSADORIAL

Malta Malta on the Mediterranean Sea routes:

An island-state’s foreign policy

By H. E. Joseph Cole, Ambassador of the Republic of Malta to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Photography: Robert Huiberts.

Strategically located at the centre of the Mediterranean, the Maltese Islands have been traditionally known for their booming tourism industry. However, their important location, the clear political commitment to ensure sustainable economic activity and the islands’ highly qualified workforce, has ensured that Malta has become increasingly respected in the areas of trade and investment. In recent years, Malta has demonstrated both economic resilience as well as an ability to thrive. This year Malta has the special privilege to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Malta and the Kingdom of The Netherlands.

Malta is pleased to host the European Commission-League of Arab States Liaison Office (ECLASLO) as a unique structure between the two regional organizations. The aim of this Office is to generate mutual contact between the Malta is not only an European Union’s institutions and those EU Member State, but of the Arab League.

The bilateral relations between Malta and The Netherlands will be further strengthened a Mediterranean EU in the coming months This year also marks when Malta and The Member State. the 450th anniversary Netherlands together of the Great Siege with Slovakia form the EU Presidency Trio of Malta. This historic event marked the for the period January 2016 to June 2017. Maltese islands and significantly shaped In 2018 Malta’s capital city Valletta and Malta’s and European history. the Dutch city Leeuwarden will have the honour of holding the title of European Fifty-one years ago Malta joined the United Capital of Culture. Nations. For a small, nascent state such as Malta, it was a year of promise and new It goes without saying that the beginnings as it took its place among the Mediterranean features as a central pillar august members of the United Nations. The of Malta’s foreign policy. Malta is not only United Nations found a trusted and reliable an EU Member State, but a Mediterranean partner in Malta, willing to contribute, EU Member State. In view of its geopolitical to the causes of international peace and location, Malta’s cultural, trade, economic security. and political contacts with the Arab world go back decades, and in some cases I will cite just two examples: The first is centuries and it is therefore only natural for Malta’s association with the Law of the Sea; Malta to undertake its role as the natural a widely acknowledged role since Malta contact point between the two shores of the was instrumental in the launching of the Mediterranean. international process that would eventually lead to the 1982 United Nations Convention Malta was also the prime advocate on the on the Law of the Sea. need to strengthen peace and security in the Mediterranean which is directly linked to The second example comes shortly after, in peace and security in Europe. The current 1988, when we were one of the first Member challenges being faced in the Mediterranean States to highlight the risks of climate make Malta’s role ever more important and change to the global community within the relevant to ensure stability in the region. UN fora.

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The coming months will be very challenging for Malta. In 2014, Malta together with Algeria, France, Italy, Jordan, Morocco, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States, launched an International Institute for Justice and Rule of Law. This Institute, hosted in Malta, provides training for the police, educators, religious and community leaders, and policy makers. It brings together communication experts and law and enforcement agents who can help governments and communities learn to protect themselves from challenges like terrorism. It will also work with educators to give teachers the tools to protect at-risk children from recruitment from extremists. It is simply amazing what a small country like Malta with a population of less than half a million can do.


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diplomatAMBASSADORIAL

Kosovo moving forward

fast forward

By H.E. Ambassador Mimoza Ahmetaj, Head of Mission of Kosovo to the EU, Embassy to Belgium and Luxembourg. Photography: Zana Hoxha.

The Republic of Kosovo, having declared its independence in 2008, is the youngest country in Europe today, in both age of population and of statehood. It has been recognized by 111 countries throughout the world, and has made tremendous progress towards Euro-Atlantic integration as a democratic, multi-ethnic and secular country deeply committed to European values. Our civic democracy grants constitutional protection to all our ethnic communities, with around ten of them peacefully cohabiting in Kosovo, identifying with an equal variety of faiths – Sunni Muslims, Catholic Christians, Orthodox Christians, Sufis, Protestants, Jews, as well as many other groups are all free to live and love in Kosovo.

The end of the war of 1998-99 found Kosovo heavily damaged in all aspects. With over one million refugees, over 80% of schools destroyed, and no institutions in place whatsoever, Kosovo found itself at its nadir just at the turn of the new millennium; however, looking back now, it has certainly risen to the challenge. The Kosovars’ remarkable motivation to rebuild, coupled with the international community’s commitment, has transformed Kosovo from a war-torn place into a country thriving. Today, Kosovo has the highest average economic growth in all of South Eastern Europe in the last seven years; it has the first female president elected in the Balkans; it is safer than many Western European countries; it has one of the most modern constitutions globally, one that bans discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion as well as sexual orientation; and it boasts a very rich ethnic and religious diversity that give a particular charm to this new country.

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Kosovo is historically known for always nurturing religious diversity, but in the recent years this tolerance has been gaining even more international recognition thanks to its annual interfaith conferences. Kosovo is now being cited as a global example of a country where many faiths live in perfect harmony. Apart from bilateral relations, Kosovo is also making its place in the world of multilateral organizations – we are now members of two UN specialized agencies, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, as well as of the International Organization of La Francophonie, the International Olympic Committee, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, The Venice Commission, and many other sports and regional organizations. Kosovo has also finalized negotiations on the first contractual agreement with the European Union, the Stabilization and Association Agreement, and it is expected to sign it very soon. In the spirit of good neighborly relations and contribution to regional peace and stability, Kosovo has shown exceptional goodwill in the dialogue facilitated by the EU between Kosovo and Serbia, reaching several landmark agreements on practical issues.

So what remains to be done?

Kosovo’s foremost and biggest potential – and simultaneously, challenge – is its youth. With an average age of 28 and half of the population under 25, we are faced now with the challenge of providing them with a better future and a positive outlook where our youth has a chance to truly be part of the globalized society spreading today. Recognizing this, the Republic of Kosovo has formally applied to become a UNESCO member this year. UNESCO’s purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through education, science, and culture; aiming to build the defenses of peace in the minds of young men and women. It is just what Kosovo needs. This membership will not only enhance our education, science and culture, enabling them to benefit from shared knowledge and best international practices, but it will also share Kosovo’s wealth of heritage with the entire world. We have tried our hardest to overcome the stereotypical evocation of grim images at the mention of our country’s name by showing the world what Kosovo is really like, and you now find all foreign visitors to Kosovo describe it as “young and vibrant”. Joining a global platform such as UNESCO will certainly help us share some of this extraordinary energy with the rest of the world – let’s avoid the isolation of these young people by helping Kosovo become a UNESCO member!

Official Name: Republic of Kosovo Area: 10,887 sqkm Government: Parlamentarian Republic President: Madame Atifete Jahjaga Capital: Pristina GDP (Kosovo Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF): 5.3 billion € ( 2013) GDP Annual Growth: 2.7% (2014) Nationality: Kosovo nationality Population: 1.8 million Ethnic groups: 88% ethnic Albanians, 7% ethnic Serbs, 5% other (Bosniak, Gorani, Roma, Ashkali, Egyptian, Turk). Official Languages: Albanian, Serbian


diplomatAMBASSADORIAL

A Gallery Window into the Yet Unknown but Fascinating

Albanian Art

By H.E. Mrs. Adia Sakiqi, Albanian Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Photography: Embassy of Albania in The Hague.

‘When I take a break from politics, I reflect on Albania’s unique heritage of art and photography. For the first, I constantly think of improving ways of communication and then I fall back into the latter, artistic forms of expression, art so fragile that unconditionally accepts auto-criticism.’ We organized the first photo exhibition ‘Albania from Air and under Water’ in January 2015 at the House of Europe in The Hague, on the occasion of Albania’s obtaining EU candidate status in 2014. Aerial photography of rugged and rocky Riviera’s white cliffs and fertile fields, exhibited the intensity of the landscapes, together with the diversity and occurrence of cultural and natural heritage sites. I am proud to say that these pictures incited many viewers to travel to Albania later on. Their journey was memorable, I was told. Based on the success of the photo exhibition, we now have a permanent space in our embassy dedicated to exhibitions of Albanian artists. Albanian Embassy Art Gallery is open to the Dutch public at Hoge Nieuwstraat 22, in The Hague. We are definitely not the first art gallery in the Hague, but we are one of the first embassy art galleries in the city. I am delighted to invite you to our gallery and take you through the works of art which depict the simple and the complicated, the ordinary and the extraordinary of the everyday life of the people of Albania. Our gallery window remains open to the curious glance of the passers by while our embassy staff is hospitable to the visitors during our opening hours. Moreover, numerous events, cultural and political debates will take place at Albanian Embassy Art Gallery. I am delighted to invite you to learn about Via Egnatia, in Albania, an international hiking path

and travel destination, a fascinating travel in the mountains with Mediterranean vegetation, rich with aromas of sage, oregano and rosemary and herbal tea combined with the warm colors of shrub that stay green all year around. Yet, as the past serves us well to envisage the future, we need to rethink and reconstruct the present. Via Egnatia served as one of the main roads connecting east and west, part of it goes through modern Albania. Thousands of years later, as the Western Balkan countries are progressing in the long process toward EU membership, in August 2014, Chancellor Angela Merkel launched a process, which we now in the South Mediterranean refer to as the Berlin Process, i.e., support for the European perspective of the Western Balkans based in interconnectivity. Interconnectivity among the countries of the Western Balkans’ region via common infrastructural projects, interconnectivity in the energy sector, that all starts with the interconnectivity of cultures. There will be no prosperity and economical progress without regional cooperation and dialogue in the Western Balkans. We cannot have a constructive dialogue with Brussels without dialoguing with our neighbors. Striving for the stability of neighbors is investing in our own stability. That is why Albania has endorsed Kosovo membership in UNESCO. Communication of the youth, cultural exchanges, protection of our diverse cultural heritage will be the catalysts of our economic prosperity. It all starts with communication and cultural exchanges of the young generation. That is why I cannot help but fall back to culture and art for all it offers.

Opening hours Albanian Embassy Art Gallery: Tuesday and Thursday: 14.00 - 16.00 Wednesday and Friday: 10.00 - 12.00 By appointment: 070 - 42 72 101

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diplomatAMBASSADORIAL

SLOVENIA Wearing a number of hats, Slovenia’s global diplomatic outreach from Brussels By Ambassador Matjaž Šinkovec, Head of Mission of Slovenia to the Kingdom of Belgium, Permanent Representative to the EU Political and Security Committee, to the African Union, non-resident ambassador to Luxembourg, Cabo Verde and Ethiopia. Photography: Magdalena Šinkovec.

In order to take care of its international ambitions every country would ideally have at least one diplomatic-consular post in every other country of the world. However, not even the largest, wealthiest and most populous countries can afford that. Two phenomena occurred at more or less the same time. The economic and financial crises that hit in 2007/2008 resulted in austerity measures by a great number of countries; they included cuts in and closures of diplomatic and consular representation abroad, in many cases quite radical. However, the international community realized simultaneously more than ever before how interconnected the world was and that their political and economic ambitions and actions should move from predominantly regional to more global. The dilemma was how to act more globally faced with great cuts in the funds earmarked for foreign representation.

One of the answers was the one already widely used by small countries: the so called cross-accreditation or non-resident coverage where an ambassador in a foreign country is accredited also to other countries. Another one was an increase of accreditation to major regional international organizations, such as e. g. the African Union, ASEAN or CARICOM. Slovenia’s global outreach used both of these methods when it was affected by the financial crisis at the time when it was embarking ambitiously upon its campaign for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council. That resulted in accrediting ambassadors to the African Union from Brussels, ASEAN from Canberra and CARICOM from Washington. Probably Brussels is one of the most natural places for smaller European Union member states such as Slovenia to exercise crossaccreditation. There is plenty of ground for this orientation. Firstly, Slovenia has the most sizeable diplomatic representation in Brussels of all world capitals, with its diplomatic missions to Belgium, the EU and NATO. Secondly, Brussels is home to

embassies of most countries of the world. And last but not least, there is evident interest of various countries from the Africa-Caribbean-Pacific regions to develop closer relations with Slovenia because of its membership in the European Union. Slovenia has until now no embassy in Sub-Saharan Africa. The power house that fuels Slovenia’s 2 plus % GDP growth are the exports, currently at 23 billion Euro per annum, and our businesses are looking for new, non-traditional markets.To deal more closely with the continent of 1 billion people and important economic growth, the “Continent of the 21st Century,” one of our first steps were non-resident accreditations to the African Union, Cabo Verde and Ethiopia. While the AU accreditation especially opens a number of doors to venues where African statesmen meet, accreditations to the two above mentioned countries have both developmental and trade grounds. They also represent a good basis for the future decision where to open our first resident embassy in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Matjaž Šinkovec is a senior Slovenian diplomat who has served as Ambassador to the Court of St James’s (1992-1997) and NATO (1995-2006), State Secretary and Political Director during Slovenia’s EU Presidency in 2008, Special Envoy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Slovenia’s Security Council bid (2008-2011) and was an actor of Slovenia’s Democracy and Independence movement (1988-1992). Currently serving as ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the African Union, the Republic of Cabo Verde, and Representative to EU’s Political and Security Committee, he presented his credentials as ambassador to Ethiopia on 21 October 2015.

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diplomatAMBASSADORIAL

FRANCE Ambassador under the Tunisian Revolution Pierre Ménat, Editions Pepper.

The previous Ambassador of France to The Netherlands, known in The Hague for his commitment to diplomacy, his professionalism and his know-how, Pierre Ménat just published a book. And what a book it is! One could call it a historic document as it relates his experience of living in Tunisia as the Ambassador of France while the country was in full revolution. “An Ambassador under the Tunisian Revolution” is a highly anticipated book. It is not only the testimony of Pierre Ménat, Ambassador of France in Tunisia at the time of the revolution that ended the Ben Ali regime in 2011. It is also a great analysis of the profession of ambassador: the responsibilities and commitments, the projects of cooperation, the media and political games. Pierre Ménat, who was recalled to Paris shortly after January 14, 2011, waited five years before writing “An Ambassador under the Tunisian Revolution” because of the discretion his position demanded. Now that he is free to speak, he gives us a first-hand confession of his experiences on the frontline with a careful analysis of the events that occurred after his arrival in Tunisia in 2009 and the democratic transition of the country up today.

​‘... a highly anticipated book.’ ‘It is also a great analysis of the profession of ambassador​.’

diplomat magazine #3

diplomaticevents

The Day of Wallonia and the Federation Wallonia-Brussels Photography: Kim Vermaat.

The Day of Wallonia and the Federation WalloniaBrussels was celebrated in The Hague on the 23rd of September. On invitation of the Delegate of Wallonia-Brussels in The Hague, Marc Clairbois, and his spouse a reception was organised in the Sociëteit De Witte. Ambassadors, diplomats, representatives from Dutch authorities and associations and members of the Belgian community were present. Marc Clairbois seized the opportunity to mention the most important fields of activity of the Delegation WalloniaBrussels, the Walloon agency for exports (AWEx) and Wallonia-Brussels Tourism in The Netherlands. These domains include education, culture, scientific research, universities, the promotion of foreign trade and investments and tourism. Special attention was drawn to several projects. Among those the opening of the lock of Lanaye on the Dutch-Belgian border in November 2015 by King Philippe of Belgium and the Dutch Minister for Infrastructure Mrs. Melanie Schultz van Haegen. This major construction project is of strategic importance for the economic development of Wallonia, since it will facilitate waterway traffic between the ports of Liège and Rotterdam. Marc Clairbois also evoked the intensive cooperation with The Netherlands in the field of cinema as well as the support for Dutch education in Wallonia and French education in The Netherlands. The theme of this reception was “Mons 2015, European capital of culture”. A photographic exhibition entitled “Mons street review” was presented; inspired on the “Street View” function of Google, a company that has made some major investments in the region of Mons. It was an illustration of the success of Mons2015 (1.5 million visitors up till now), and of the cultural programme that will continue until the end of the year. The presence of a Jazz quartet from the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, as well as some local Walloon drinks and food, further contributed to the excellent atmosphere of this reception. On the picture from left to right: H.E. Ahmet Üzümcü, Ambassador, Directorgeneral of the OPCW, H.E. Chris Hoornaert, Ambassador of Belgium to the Netherlands, H.E. Laurent Pic, Ambassador of France to the Netherlands, Mr. Marc Clairbois, Delegate of Wallonia-Brussels in the Netherlands.

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diplomatmagazine

ceremony of merit for Ambassadors of Croatia and The Sudan By Roy Lie A. Tjam. Photography: Kim Vermaat.

It was time to say goodbye to two dedicated and wonderful diplomats who leave behind them many great accomplishments and hundreds of friends. Ambassadors H. E. Vesela Mrden Korac from Croatia and H. E. Mohamed Elhassan Ibrahim from The Sudan completed their ambassadorial terms in late June. Diplomat Magazine celebrated their successful time in The Netherlands by presenting them with a Certificate of Merit in a solemn ceremony attended by their respective spouses, colleagues, ambassadors, special friends and members of their staff. After the national anthem of the Netherlands and the national anthem of Croatia, H. E. Ahmet Halilovic ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina took the floor to talk about Ambassador Mrden’s outstanding career, her exceptional performance in The Hague, and their personal friendship. Ambassador Mrden Korac received the Certificate of Merit accompanied by her husband Professor Marko Korac.

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Her farewell words were dedicated to her colleagues, to The Hague’s international institutions including the ICC and OPCW in which she played a powerful role, to the Netherlands as a host country that made her professional and private life enjoyable, and also to Diplomat Magazine. Her Excellency’s remarked that diplomatic life has changed in a positive way since the creation of the first diplomatic magazine of the Netherlands. She noted the value of the knowledge and availability of DM’s team to publish accurate information, promote the work of embassies and publish daily articles related to each mission. ‘’Ambassadors became stars with hundreds of pictures published in Diplomat Magazine as accurate proof of their performance’’, said Ambassador Mrden. The audience stood up once again to listen to the national anthem of Sudan in tribute to His Excellency Ambassador Mohamed Elhassan Ibrahim. Ambassador Karim Ben Bécher from Tunisia talked at length about Ambassador’s Ibrahim’s successful career, he said:

‘Ambassador Hassan, your rich diplomatic experience in positions in Africa, the Middle East and Europe allowed you to integrate quickly and easily into the diplomatic community here, despite your short stay. Your sense of humour, your open and affable temperament allowed you to win in such a short time a lot of friends among whom I hope I can consider myself. I greatly appreciated your curiosity and commitment to art, culture and especially the Arab poetry. You had the great merit of reconciling your mission as Ambassador with your openness to the environment in which you live and succeeded in so short time to promote your country and to attract new investments there. For all these reasons, I congratulate you and pay tribute to you, confirming the pleasure for having worked with you and hopefully, been your friend.’


diplomatmagazine

ceremony of merit for the Ambassador of IRAQ By Duke Michael of Mecklenburg. Photography: Kim Vermaat.

On 3rd November. 2015, Diplomat Magazine’s farewell and Ceremony of Merit went to His Excellency Dr Saad Abdul Majeed Ibrahim Al Ali, Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Madam Besma Fayed, Dr. Al Ali’s wife, and his brother Mr. Hameed Ibrahim, were amongst the respectable guests present at Carlton Ambassador Hotel, where the event took place in a very private atmosphere. Amongst the many Heads of Diplomatic missions was H. E. Sayyid Mohammed Bin Harib Abdallah Al-Said, Ambassador of Oman, who held the main speech honoring his parting colleague.

H.E. Dr Saad Abdul Majeed Ibrahim Al Ali and his wife Besma Fayed.

The Ambassador of Oman referred to Ambassador Al Ali’s work in the Netherlands since 2010. He played a crucial role in terms of bilateral and multilateral negotiations, including his representation at the OPCW and other international organizations in The Hague. “He has been a champion of human rights and is continuing to support woman’s rights and empowerment in the Middle East”. Diplomat Magazine initiated the Ceremony of Merit & Farewell in recognition towards parting Ambassadors for their exceptional work and outstanding support to the diplomatic corps, for strengthen the bilateral ties between the Netherland’s and their respective countries and for their personal contribution to Diplomat Magazine. Conversely, Ambassador Saad is one amongst 42 ambassadors volunteer founders and contributing writers of Diplomat Magazine. Diplomat Magazine, the very first diplomatic magazine in Netherland’s history, wishes to His Excellency all the best and a safe trip back home together with his family.

Ambassadors at

Merit

H.E. Dr Saad Abdul Majeed Ibrahim Al Ali, Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq to the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

H.E. Sayyid M ohammed Bi n Harib Abda and H. E. Dr. llah Al-Said Saad Al Ali.

diplomat magazine #3

the Ceremony of

Hameed Ambassador of Morocco, Mr. H.E. Abdelouahab Bellouki, and Ali Al d Saa Dr. E. H. or), sad Ibrahim (brother of the Ambas Besma Fayed.

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diplomatmagazine

Let’s Act and Unite Let’s Act and Unite was the message of 3rd World Conference of Women’s Shelters held from 6th to 10th November 2015 in The Hague.

This could range from actively penalizing child marriages by governments to taking a stand against sexual harassment at the workplace by businesses. Violence against women and girls is a human rights violation and has been proclaimed a top priority of the United Nation’s, which is endorsed at the highest level by Secretary–General Ban Ki-moon. The UN aims at gender equality by 2030. At the moment still one in every three women faces violence because of their gender at least once in their lives.

With 1,000 participants from 115 countries and inspiring keynote speakers as Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Hina Jilani, Dr. Mugweke and Ashley Judd. The conference sent out a pledge to all people to think about how we can contribute – as individuals, as communities, as governments, as businesses, as religious institutions. Violence against women has a profound effect on the victims themselves, but it affects families and communities also, resulting in enormous social, economic and productivity costs. Special attention was paid to the vulnerable position of women and girls in armed conflict. In the Call to Action handed by the chair Bandana Rana to Martin van Rijn, State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sports, the Global Network of Women’s Shelters calls upon all sectors of society and all people – men, women, boys, girls – to actively step up.

Manners in Rwanda Rwanda is in many ways a new country full of life, energy and hope for the future

“Manners In Rwanda” book takes you to the green landscapes of Rwanda, through the eyes of its young people, at the crossroads between modern and traditional influences. “Manners in Rwanda” book offers travel tips, cultural insights, vocabularies and language notes. It is a blend of classical and contemporary Rwanda. The book gives a comprehensive insight of a Rwandan way of life—giving a narrative of the ancient Rwanda, Rwandan housing, settlement, beliefs, clothing, sports, entertainment, wedding and intimacy, cuisine and so on. As very fundamental aspect in Rwandan culture, the book breaks down all the marriage rituals.

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The World of Mesdag in Stereophotography From 18 October 2015 to 6 March 2016, Panorama Mesdag is showing a unique collection of surprising and beguiling stereo photos. Join Mesdag on a 3D walk around The Hague and Scheveningen, and get a vivid sense of how Mesdag’s world looked at the end of the 19th century. The exhibition is being organised in partnership with The Hague City Archives.

Stereophotography is the perfect medium to bring to life the two contrasting worlds inhabited by Mesdag: the fashionable cosmopolitan society of The Hague on the one side, and the impoverished fishing community of Scheveningen on the other.


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Blue Day at UNESCO-IHE On September 29th, students and staff at UNESCO-IHE in Delft celebrate Blue Day, to mark the adoption of the new Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 6: Ensure access to water and sanitation for all.

The in house orchestra of Legoland performs in The Hague

On the 13th of October the inhouse-orchestra of Legoland, Denmark, performed at two schools in The Hague. The orchestra consists of a group of 35 young musicians who usually play in the Lego theme park in Billund, Denmark. The talented young musicians decided to surprise a large number of school children with a concert.

Joan Miró

at the Cobra Museum The Cobra Museum in Amstelveen, will present “Miró & CoBrA. Experimental Play”. This is the first mayor exhibition by Spanish artist Joan Miró (1893-1983) in the Netherlands in the last 60 years. The work in the exhibition demonstrates Miró’s radical liberation from form, gesture and material, and shows a striking correspondence to the works of CoBrA members, an international group of post war artists (1948-1951). The exhibition includes more than 80 works by Joan Miró and 60 works by various Cobra artists including Karel Appel, Asger Jorn, Constant and Pierre Alechinsky. A central part of the exhibition is the reconstruction of Miró’s studio in Mallorca. This part of the exhibition has been made possible thanks to the collaboration of the Fundación Pilar & Joan Miró in Mallorca. There are also loans of Miro’s work from international museums such as the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, New York’s Guggenheim Museum and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.

“Miró & CoBrA. Experimental Play” is on show from 9 October 2015 to 31 January 2016.

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Dressed in their red and blue uniforms the orchestra marched in, to perform for the school children. The children got the chance to enjoy classics from The Lion King and The Jungle Book as well as interpretations of music from Pharrel and Bruno Mars. After the introductory music from the orchestra, the children were not able to sit still any longer. It quickly evolved into a large dance session, with all the happy children celebrating to the music from the Lego orchestra.


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‘t Goude Hooft

the living room of The Hague

For almost six centuries (since 1423), `t Goude Hooft, the oldest inn in The Hague, has been housed in a characteristic building at the Dagelijkse Groenmarkt in the political, cultural and tourist centre of the city. Recently, `t Goude Hooft has been fully refurbished, once again making The Hague the place to be to meet people! We would be delighted for you to come and see our renovated interior. More than ever, `t Goude Hooft is the place to eat, drink, party, get married, keep meetings, or spend the night in the heart of The Hague; but above all, to experience!

`t Goude Hooft still stands for daily fresh produce and professional hospitality. You can come here for a wonderful lunch on the mezzanine, a meeting or private dinner in the Ridderzaal (Knight´s Hall), a reception in the urban garden or a fantastic party in Club 1660. It is even possible to get married in `t Goude Hooft and spend your wedding night in one of the eight luxury suites.

During the refurbished, the unused parts of the building, such as the Club 1660 (beneath the restaurant) and a five-star-equivalent hotel (on the upper two storeys), were put into use once more. Whilst respecting the history, the interior is decorated in a classical, fashionable style. Come and enjoy contemporary comfort and modern class in charming historical surroundings.

In the Middle Ages, `t Goude Hooft was the living room of The Hague. Farmers, citizens and country folk got together in the tavern, but it was also a place where knights held their meetings. Now, however, The Hague has got its living room back! At `t Goude Hooft everyone is welcome. So come along and experience The Hague´s modern-day inn!

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The Hague Marriott is coming to town! The Bel Air hotel has had a presence in The Hague’s hospitality market for more than four decades. During this period, the hotel has accommodated numerous presidents, artists and other VIPs, and has hosted hundreds of National Days, diplomatic events and ceremonies. Since the hotel was sold in April 2014, it has undergone major renovation. As of 4 of January 2016, the hotel will become a proud member of the Marriott family – and the first Marriot-branded hotel in The Hague. Marriott is one of the largest and best-known hotel chains in the world and has a strong international reputation among business and leisure guests, alongside its standing as a first-class host for a wide variety of events.

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According to the new General Manager, Mr Vincent Pahlplatz, choosing Marriot was simple: “Currently, we are investing heavily in the creation of a completely up-to-date hotel, which is well-equipped for any purpose of visit to The Hague. Not only are we fully renovating all 306 hotel rooms, but we are also creating additional meeting space, boardrooms, new public areas and an executive lounge for our VIP guests on the top floor. From this lounge we offer a spectacular view over the city and the sea. The Great Room on the ground floor will be the ideal location for guests and inhabitants of The Hague to meet, interact, wine and dine. “Our partnership with the Marriott brand enables us to reach out to all kinds of global travellers. Moreover, our guests can directly benefit from all that Marriott has to offer, such as a global loyalty program, easy booking and the meeting program, Meetings Imagined.”

Following renovation, the hotel will be the biggest in The Hague, with 306 fully renovated bedrooms including executive rooms, junior suites and the biggest Presidential Suite in the city. It will offer 18 meeting rooms, the A1 meeting room with Private Event Garden, the Great Room bar and several private dining rooms. Together with the Executive Lounge, gym and private parking space, this will be a unique venue for any event or stay. Mr Pahlplatz added: “I believe that due to the changes we are currently making to the hotel, we will be even better-equipped than before to help our guests achieve their objectives. It is my personal objective, and that of the team, that we assist every guest in achieving their goals, be it a successful National Day, a wedding, a corporate event or dinner for two. All of this and more will be possible at The Hague Marriott.”


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‘To Catch a Rainbow’ Author Thandie M.V. releases ‘To Catch a Rainbow’, new book tells story of diversity, international living and connects cultures globally through children’s play and places GENEVA – Author Thandie M.V. has been inspired by her daughter Rose, who has lived in several countries and experienced the joy of gaining new friends, but also the pain of losing friends, nannies and constantly changing schools and homes. Rose’s experience prompted her to write “To Catch a Rainbow-Connecting People, Play, and Places,” (published by AuthorHouse UK). “This book addresses an aspect of expatriate lifestyles told from a child’s perspective,” the author says. “To Catch a Rainbow,” fosters a positive message on how globalization is changing the face of national identities by connecting cultures and peoples through travel.

About the Author

Thandie Mwape Villadsen trained as a Journalist at Evelyn Hone College in Zambia and has a Master of Arts in Leading Innovation and Change from York St John University in England. Thandie is married to Henrik Villadsen, a Danish lawyer. She has fourteen years of experience in international relations (peace, security & humanitarian affairs) with the United Nations in East Timor, Kosovo, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Zimbabwe, New York and Geneva. Prior to joining the United Nations, Thandie worked as a Reporter at Radio Phoenix in Zambia and as an international portfolio journalist for the South African Broadcasting Corporation in Johannesburg. Thandie is a finalist graduate Student of the University of London’s Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy in a Master of Arts in Global Diplomacy. She has a keen interest in globalisation and its effect on international security.

Internationally Ambitious A modern approach to study that inspires independent learning - helping every student open the door to an exciting and fulfilling future.

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The New Special

Jurisdiction for Peace

in Colombia

By Héctor Olasolo, Colombian Academy of International Law. Photograpy: Utrecht University​.

On 23 September 2015, the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – Popular Army (‘FARC-EP’), issued a joint communique, in which they made public the core aspects of their agreement on justice matters (‘the New Agreement’), including, in particular, the establishment of a Special Jurisdiction for Peace. The next day, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (‘ICC’), Ms. Fatou Bensouda, made a preliminary statement thereon, in which she highlighted that “any genuine and practical initiative to end the decades-long armed conflict in Colombia, while paying homage to justice as a critical pillar of sustainable peace, is welcome by her Office”. Prior to the New Agreement, the 2012 Legal Framework for Peace in Colombia had raised the concern of the ICC Prosecutor, the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights and several bodies of the universal system for the protection of human rights, because when the investigation, prosecution and punishment of those crimes that deserve the deepest social condemnation (‘ICC crimes’) become a mere appendage of a transitional process, then one cannot but affirm the State’s failure to comply with its obligations, voluntarily assumed, to (i) provide protection against serious violations of human rights, and (ii) investigate, prosecute and punish such crimes.

At first glance, the New Agreement constitutes a significant departure from the Legal Framework for Peace. It shows that all crimes of genocide and all crimes against humanity committed by the various parties to the armed conflict will fall within the Special Jurisdiction for Peace. This is of remarkable importance when considering – as explained by Prof. Jorge Giraldo in the 2015 Report of the Commission for the History of the Conflict and the Victims – that in an armed conflict with more than 250.000 casualties, for each member of the warrying parties killed in a combat operation between 1985 and 2000, there were seventy-nine civilian deaths. In subsequent years, this proportion fell dramatically to 1 out of 380. The New Agreement also shows that criminal proceedings before the Special Jurisdiction for Peace will not be limited to the ‘most responsible persons’. They will also cover all those who, directly or indirectly, were involved in the commission of international crimes. Moreover, as a general rule, alternative sentences of 5 to 8 years of restriction of liberty – which are very similar to the alternative sentences provided for in the 2005 Peace and Justice Law for the purpose of promoting the demobilization of paramilitary groups – will be imposed, although they could be served in facilities other than prisons.

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But certainly, the most striking feature of the New Agreement is the definition of the goals to be achieved by the criminal proceedings of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace. After hearing for several years in Colombia that truth and reparations should be provided for through extra-judicial mechanisms, and that criminal proceedings have little or nothing to do with providing guarantees of non-repetition, the New Agreement explicitly acknowledges: (i) the value of the judicial truth on individual responsibilities (which complements the contextual and historic truth provided for by extrajudicial mechanisms); (ii) the importance of the judicial process to fight impunity; (iii) the effective contribution of judicial proceedings to victims’ reparations; and (iv) the relevance of criminal proceedings to provide for effective guarantees of non-repetition. In other words, the New Agreement rejects the Legal Framework for Peace view of criminal justice as a mere appendage of the transitional process, and acknowledges its International Law status as an autonomous and necessary pillar of such process. This does not mean that what is known so far about the New Agreement raises no concern. Nevertheless, it is difficult to analyse at this stage the true extent of such concerns. As a result, the New Agreement looks much closer to fulfil the ICC Prosecutor’s request for its due consideration as a critical pillar of sustainable peace. The challenge is now to ensure that the investigation, prosecution and punishment of ICC crimes remain in their restored position, and that once the fine print of the New Agreement becomes public, adequate measures are taken to address the concerns arising therefrom. Hector Olasolo is Chair in International Law at the University of El Rosario (Colombia) & Chairman of the Ibero-American Institute of The Hague for Peace, Human Rigths and International Justice (The Netherlands).


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What can be learned

from the current refugee crisis in Europe? Arguably many aspects can be learned from the current crisis, however, one aspect is increasingly that the European Union is currently not as united and proactive as itself envisages and is expected to be. The European Union was able to withstand many challenges and crisis throughout its era, be it the European Debt crisis for instance, in which despite the different attitudes among the member states, a consensus could arguably be quickly achieved.

By Marc Petermann, BA International Relations.

Images of refugees seeking shelter in European nations has in recent weeks seared into our minds and has produced vastly different policies/perceptions within the population as well as different responses of governments from several European nations. In some countries refugees from all parts of the world (Syria, Afghanistan as most prominent example) were warmly welcomed, as at Munich main railway station teddy bears were given to Syrian children, whereas, Hungary locks its borders and uses tear gas against refugees. The different responses within Europe to the crisis couldn’t have been starker. What does this symbolise and what can we learn from these unprecedented contrasts?

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Many refugees (Syrian refugees as one example) were escaping the atrocities of rape or death that the ‘Islamic State’ currently commits in Syria, however, the burning of hostels for asylum seekers in parts of Germany, as well as demonstrations against the accommodation of asylum seekers in Warsaw emphasises that in some regions/ countries the fear of death and lacking sense of support (police-wise, society-wise) is as present as it is in the countries many refugees were originally fleeing from.

‘Xenophobia and increasing racism is a widespread European problem and, therefore, needs to be resolved European wide.’ This time, however, consensus among the member states is far-off. A quota of distributing refugees into the respective European member states is rejected by many countries as well as the mere idea of some nations refusing to accommodate any refugees at all. A divided Europe, resembling the old times of the Iron Curtain, appears to be closer to Europe. Eurosceptic Parties such as the ‘Alternative for Germany’ or the Hungarian nationalist party ‘Jobbik’ party are increasingly gaining popularity amongst others because of the refugee crisis, and parties such as the ‘Danish People’s Party’ have even emerged as second most popular in this year’s election in June. Therefore, it becomes clear that nations, such as Germany or Denmark that are in general terms willing to accommodate asylum seekers, experience a growing degree of xenophobia and euro scepticism that cannot be denied. Therefore, this problem of xenophobia and euroscpeticism is not merely confined to Eastern European nations, as it has been often portrayed in recent weeks within the media. Therefore, in the light of an issue that affects all European nations, how could be best responded to the current crisis?

The UN Charter Article 73, clearly states that members of the UN need to protect people suffering against abuses, but does it really make sense to accommodate refugees in countries which cannot guarantee this clause in the UN charter? Therefore, as outlined in this short article xenophobia and the refusal of welcoming refugees is not confined to some European nations. In fact, it is a characteristic that encompasses all European nations, thus, bluntly speaking with regards to this aspect, the continent is united. Therefore, the main question needs to be centred upon how this growing xenophobia and refusal of welcoming refugees needs to be encountered? There are countless lessons that can be learned from the current refugee crisis, however, in order to maintain focus on this article, I will not list all reasons. Yet, one lesson that needs to be learned is that in the light of this growing number of refugees seeking asylum in Europe, xenophobia and increasing racism is a widespread European problem and, therefore, needs to be resolved European wide.

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Diplomacy in the age of digital disruption

Practitioners need more than a laptop and mobile phone

By Jan Melissen.

The debate about digital diplomacy is in full swing. There is an explosion of commentary on the implications of the digital age for diplomacy. Old-school wisdom among diplomats is that digitalization does not change the fundamental objectives of diplomacy, but offers new ways through which these can be achieved. Governments need to take a more nuanced look. Realistically, it may take foreign ministries years to adapt to the digital age, and one of the challenges therefore lies in keeping up with the speed of digital change. Digitalization is increasingly important in determining relationships within the integral network of the ministry of foreign affairs (MFA) and its diplomatic missions. The implications will be significant for the relationship between the MFA and diplomatic posts that are taking on more prominent roles.

No Nescafé-school answers

Technology is not as much a driver of change in international politics as has sometimes been suggested. In this connection one can for example think about debates surrounding the so-called ‘CNN-effect’ in the 1990s or, more recently, debates about the ‘Arab Spring’. A mere focus on the social media would not do

justice to the complexity of the subject, even though a social media perspective on change in diplomacy has a lot to offer. Social media are visibly present in the context of diplomacy’s multiple manifestations. The Malaysian Airline MH 370 tragedy caused a stir in the social media that extended to state-to-state relations between China and Malaysia; the Ebola crisis led to a series of exchanges on social networking sites between and international organization and an NGO – the World Health Organization and Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) International; immediately after the Nepal earthquake governments used Twitter to get in touch with their citizens; but also high-level negotiations have a digital dimension. As US Secretary of State John Kerry stated, “Digital diplomacy is diplomacy: period”. The digital dimension is simply becoming part of most diplomatic activity.

Defining objectives

Foreign ministries are advised to work out what they mean by ‘digital diplomacy’. Interpreting the digital age and digital diplomacy matters, because digitalization is here to stay. Foreign ministries are just entering the digital age and find themselves in the first phase characterized by both skepticism and hype about ‘digital diplomacy’. Individual diplomats will find the modalities of digitalization in constant flux and they therefore need to ‘retool’ on a continuous basis.

Networked diplomacy

Diplomats of all types will need to function in online and offline environments. Differing blends of ‘hybrid’ diplomacy are needed. Experience demonstrates the limits of digital technology in negotiating environments, evidenced by negative responses to the use of smartphones to text and tweet during negotiations. In contrast, as can be seen in the history of the UK Prevention of Sexual Violence Initiative, human rights diplomacy is bound up with extensive use of digital resources. Individual diplomats will have to reconcile conflicting demands for online communication and physical presence. In some areas citizens will expect both, like in the field of consular assistance: they want digital tools, a human face – and immediate help. Recent practices in public diplomacy can help show patterns of change. The resources provided by big data and social media networks greatly enhance the strategies available here. Foreign ministries also need to be aware of the fact that digitalization will put fundamental norms and rules of diplomacy to the test. Governments have no choice but to develop digital strategies if they are to survive. For MFAs it is of central importance to perform as a significant node in information networks.

Jan Melissen is a Senior Research Fellow at the Netherlands Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael’, The Hague, and Professor of Diplomacy at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. He is founding Co-Editor of The Hague Journal of Diplomacy. His latest book is Understanding Public Diplomacy in East Asia: Middle Powers in a Troubled Region (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). This short article summarizes some of the findings of a Clingendael Report by Brian Hocking and Jan Melissen, Diplomacy in the Digital Age (2015): http://www.clingendael.nl/publication/diplomacy-digital-age-0

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AFRICA:

A CRAWLING ADULT By Sunday Oyinloye. Photography: Studio 24, Abuja, Nigeria.​

Some call it an emerging market, some emerging economy, some a continent of the future, yet some refer to it as a continent flowing with the proverbial milk and honey because of its geographical location, but Africa in the real sense seems to be a crawling adult. Many scholars have argued that human civilization started in Africa, however, to some youth in Africa, that is more of folklore than reality. Can you blame the youth for not believing in history? They have every reason to dispute the theory that civilization started in Africa. How could one explain the level of poverty, hunger, disease, deprivation, mis-governance, illiteracy, insurgency and other antiprogressive vices in a continent said to be the cradle of civilization? In theory, the future of the Africa needs to wake continent is bright, but if what is on ground and recent up from its slumber. developments are anything to go-by, then the thinking that Africa is an emerging economy might be a fluke after all. From Nigeria to Central African Republic and many parts of the continent, it is one crisis after the other, most of which are selfinflicted. African nations are always quick to point accusing fingers at Europe and America for their misfortunes; it is however clear that some of these countries have not sat down to look inward to see that they are the architects of their misfortunes. Using Nigeria as a case study, there is no reason on earth why the country should not be able to feed the rest of Africa with her good soil, land mass and abundance water resources. While food supply in the globe is on the increase that of Africa is decreasing. The Food and Agricultural Organisation and the World Food Programme fear that as many as 24 Sub-Saharan Africa countries are struggling with food crisis. Africa accounts for a large number of people displaced by conflicts and violence. Stories coming from Nigeria, Congo, Central African Republic and some nations are not encouraging. Good story has eluded Somalia for years. al-shabaab has practically held that country hostage. If on paper more than half of Africans are involved in the Agricultural sector, what sense does it make for the continent to be spending an estimated $35 billion yearly importing food ?

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Nigeria spends billions of dollars annually on food importation. From 2005 to 2015 the country has been a net importer of mainly rice, sugar, wheat and fish. The record of the Central Bank of Nigeria shows that Nigeria is the largest importer of United States hard red spring and white winter wheat. Though Nigeria has an arable land for cultivation, this opportunity has not been properly harnessed for food production in such a way to prevent food crisis. Nigeria is reputed to have over 84 million hectares of arable land of which only 40 percent is cultivated. Not even its 230 billion cubic meters of water has been effectively harnessed for agricultural growth that could lead to food security. Nigerians are exposed to modern farming methods and technology but how much they have used this to put food on their tables is another question entirely. The country over the years has made fortunes from oil, yet many of her citizens are living in abject poverty. Africa needs to wake up from its slumber. What is happening in some parts of the continent is heart breaking. Much of the scare resources are being used to fight insurgencies, treat diseases instead of preventing it, while huge amounts of money are daily stolen and kept in banks outside the continent by some corrupt leaders and their foreign collaborators.

African nations are always quick to point accusing fingers at Europe and America for their misfortunes.

A continent that is supposed to be the good bride of other continents because of its history has practically lost its bearing. If not, what is the rationale behind the exodus of youth to Europe with many perishing on the high seas in their bid to seek the so-called greener pasture?

It is time for African leaders to begin to do self-examination and make their countries habitable for their citizens to prevent brain drain and exodus of the youth to Europe where they often think their future will be more guaranteed.


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Model UN Explores Challenge of Change The opening ceremony commenced with a speech from Mr Willem Post, International Advisor to the Mayor of The Hague and prolific international affairs analyst, who offered delegates an expert introduction to the International City of Peace and Justice. He was followed by Mr Herman Schaper, former Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the UN, who spoke eloquently on how the world’s largest IGO might best go about confronting the many challenges faced by the international community. Mr Jamie Shea, Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges at NATO, then gave an engaging speech on the role the latter can play in promoting international peace and stability. Mr Erik Akerboom, Secretary-General at the Netherlands Ministry of Defence, rounded off the plenary with his thoughts on the principal threats to security in the world today. The following morning, delegates congregated at the magnificent Haganum to begin six days of intensive negotiations in the councils to which they had been assigned. Debates on pressing global issues took place within the simulated framework of major international decision-making bodies, including the UN Security Council, UN General Assembly, and North Atlantic Council. In order to enhance the negotiating experience, each individual was tasked with representing a country other than his or her own.

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By Joe Ray. Photograpy: Kim Vermaat.

From 13th to 19th July 2015, university students from around the world gathered in The Hague for the 28th annual conference of The European International Model United Nations. This year’s event was entitled The Challenge of Change: Exploring New Security Landscapes, and focused primarily on the twin issues of conflict resolution and the promotion of stability in the context of a volatile global environment. Inspiration was at hand in the form of encouraging letters to TEIMUN participants from several high-profile world leaders. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, US President Barack Obama, Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov, and Foreign Minister of the Netherlands Bert Koenders all offered the conference their written support. The distinguished backing of these senior international figures added purpose and resolve to the council debates, motivating participants to redouble their efforts to reach common ground and pass mutually acceptable communiqués. Every council successfully did so by the end of the week. Just as it has for almost three decades, TEIMUN served once again as an inclusive platform for debate on some of the world’s most potent issues. The 2015 conference brought together ambitious students from dozens of countries and cultures, and strengthened the cause of diplomacy and multilateralism as the most viable means of working towards peace and stability worldwide.

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Publication of 2nd Edition of groundbreaking book ‘Nation Branding: Concepts, Issues, Practice’ Written by Dr Keith Dinnie, nation branding scholar and adviser, the second edition of this ground-breaking book addresses a wide range of issues related to the ways in which the image and reputation of countries are formed, and the techniques that countries can use to try to manage such perceptions. The book includes nation branding case studies of countries such as China, Croatia, Cuba, Finland, Ghana, India, Korea, Malaysia, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In the newly published 2nd Edition, author Dr Keith Dinnie presents the ICON model of nation branding as a useful strategic tool for policy makers involved in the development of nation branding programmes and initiatives. The ICON model proposes that good practice in nation branding should be:

Integrated, Contextualized, Organic, New The integrated dimension of the model calls for inter-agency collaboration and the development of public-private sector programmes. The contextualized dimension of the model draws attention to the need to ensure relevance to stakeholder needs and capabilities, and the importance of matching the values of target audiences. The organic dimension of the model advocates a blend of planned and unplanned activities, and suggests that nation branding should be rooted in the country’s identity and culture. The new dimension of the model emphasises the need for innovative products, services and experiences, as well as highlighting the benefits to be gained from creating new national narratives. Diplomat Magazine’s Dr Eugenio G. Matos (Minister Counselor, Dominican Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina and co-founder of Diplomat Magazine) is one of the many distinguished diplomats, scholars who have contributed to the book ‘Nation Branding: Concepts, Issues, Practice, 2nd Edition’, which has just been published by Routledge. This much-anticipated update to an influential book is an essential introduction to nation branding for policy makers, businesses, and students. The book is available from the website of publishers Routledge: www.routledge.comproducts/9781138775848 Author Dr Keith Dinnie can be contacted here: keithdinnie@brandhorizons.com diplomat magazine #3

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Uzbekistan celebrates 24 years of independence By Roy Lie A. Tjam. Photography: The Embassy of Uzbekistan.

The 24th Anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Uzbekistan has been celebrated in The Hague at a reception hosted by the nation’s Ambassador, H.E. Vladimir Norov. It was a tremendous evening, full of Uzbek culture including dance by Sanam, a group headed by popular artists Mrs. Rushana Sultan ova and Mr. Shukhrat Vakhidov. There was also traditional music and cuisine. Dr. Norov assumed in his welcome remarks: “Independence has totally changed the meaning and essence of our life and opened up a new page in our history. It has liberated our country and people from the chains of an old totalitarian regime, and subsequently paved the way for the establishment of a national democratic state and the building of a prosperous future.” During the course of his speech, Ambassador Vladimir Norov not only expounded on the flourishing economy of his country but also on the centuries long cooperation between Uzbekistan and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Of particular note is the fact that Uzbek students are flocking the University of Wageningen and Leiden among others. The Ambassador noted that despite the ongoing global economic crisis, Uzbekistan’s economy has grown immensely since independence; real per capita income has increased nine-fold, while life expectancy has grown from 67 to 73 years. Today, Uzbekistan ranks fifth among the fastest developing states in the world and, during the past 11 years, GDP growth rate has reached some 8 per cent. Dr. Norov, a former high ranking Civil Servant at the MFA, recounted the bumpy road toward signing the Florence Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation between Uzbekistan and the EU. This laid the legal framework for the development of bilateral relations with both European Union and its Member States, including the Netherlands. Positions held at the time, notably by the UK, were tough but the Agreement was signed and is now bearing fruit. One of the main highlights of the Ambassador’s speech was the presentation of two awards. One was to Dr. Mayelinne De Lara for her personal efforts in strengthening cooperation between Uzbekistan and Diplomat Magazine and, by extension, the diplomatic community in the Netherlands. The other award was presented to Dr. Neno Kukurić, Director of the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC).

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diplomatICSpouses

Mrs. Wenci Li

about Learning...

An interview with the wife of the Chinese Ambassador. By Ellen Brager. Photography: Henry Arvidsson.

Wassenaar. 7:00 p.m. on a Wednesday evening. Representing Diplomat Magazine I had the great honor of being a guest at the residence of Mrs. Wenci Li, wife of H.E. Mr. Chen Xu, Chinese Ambassador to the Netherlands. A quick glance at her biography on the way to Wassenaar filled me with anticipation since it clearly was going to be a very interesting assignment. Mrs. Li, who majored in English Literature and International Relations, started her career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China. Initially, she worked in the Department of International Organizations and Conferences in the field of Arms Control and Disarmament, and later worked in the Department of West Asia and North Africa, where she focused on conflict resolution in those areas. In 1989 she moved with her husband to New York where they both worked at the Chinese Mission to the United Nations. She was the Vice Consul-General of the ConsulateGeneral of China in Vancouver from 2008 to 2012. In 2013, her husband was appointed Ambassador to the Netherlands, so they both moved to The Hague, while their son continued his university studies in China.

...and Sharing

For a diplomat’s spouse, it is always a challenge to find a meaningful occupation, especially having to do so in a foreign country. How did you adapt yourself to this new role and new environment? While it is a challenge, I consider it a great honor as well. I feel very fortunate, because as the wife of the Ambassador, I get to meet many people from different walks – diplomats, academics, business people, royalty – and to benefit from their knowledge and insights. I enjoy being part of this community, while at the same time I can have my own observations as an outsider.

What are some of those observations? When meeting people at social events that my husband and I attend, three things impress me most. First, how so many of them are concerned about peace

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and development in the world: where do conflicts come from, how do we deal with chemical weapons, are the mechanisms in place effective? Second, how the same group of people who discuss high-level diplomatic affairs also have their own personal concerns and interests like health problems, relationship issues and so on. And last but not least, I found that many people are very interested in elements of Chinese culture such as martial arts, Chinese traditional medicine and even Chinese philosophy as a way of living.

In addition to supporting your husband in his diplomatic role, what else do you enjoy doing? What is your personal interest? I enjoy reading and I also practice Tai Chi and Yoga. The slow, peaceful movements executed with high precision bring me into a state of balance and harmony. I sometimes organize events at home to share elements


diplomatICSpouses from my culture with others, such as the Chinese tea ritual and the art of calligraphy. It is also a personal interest of mine to study Chinese traditional medicine, particularly its way of thinking. For example, it looks at the body as a very accurate mechanism in which all organs and systems are interconnected and perfectly synchronized. Under guidance of such thinking, relief for minor ailments can be immediate and obvious just by pressing fingers onto the right spots of a patient’s body. A good Chinese medicine practitioner not only cures the patients with accurate diagnoses of symptoms and thorough examination of the affected parts of the body, but is also concerned with the root causes and explores and addresses connections between the mental and physical well-being of the patient, so as to help prevent future diseases.

view of nature”. The three schools have different approaches and focus points but share the common goal of reaching a state of harmony and happiness: not illusive but real and sustainable harmony and happiness.

Having lived for several years in the US and Canada and over two years in Europe you have been in a position to compare Western culture with It is always fascinating to get the your own. What are your thoughts view of someone with a very different background and I thank you for on that? sharing your insights with Diplomat Although the approaches of the two Magazine. Is there anything else you cultures are different, their pursuits of would like to add to the interview? happiness are more or less the same. The world is diversified and differences exist naturally in many aspects. Both cultures can complement each other if we can simply share and exchange ideas with an open mind and in a spirit of mutual understanding and respect. We can learn so much from each other. I find Dutch culture especially interesting. Sometimes I wonder what makes the Netherlands so unique.

Becoming a good doctor, then, not only means acquiring the right knowledge, but also adopting a unique way of thinking. I assume this way of thinking is strongly embedded in Chinese culture. Can you tell us about the core of Chinese traditional In what way do you think it is unique? culture? Yes, Chinese medicine is an obvious reflection of Chinese culture. Generally speaking, there are three main philosophical schools in Chinese history. Buddhism focuses on practicing and developing a superior state of mind. In Confucianism the pursuit lies in leading a virtuous life with ethical behavior. For Taoists, the focus rests on how to live in a purely natural way. The word Tao literally means “way, path, truth,

more. As an inclusive and open country, the Netherlands is characterized by innovation, pragmatism, open-mindedness, pioneering spirit and hard-work. It is a country where people enjoy nature and the outdoors, sports, reading, family-gatherings and leisure times. This combination is really amazing.

Despite being a small country, the Netherlands is the home to many great figures like Spinoza, Grotius, Erasmus, Rembrandt and van Gogh. Their influence and contribution to the development of humankind’s civilization reaches far beyond this region. Meanwhile, the Netherlands plays a leading role in many areas, particularly in agriculture, trade, science and technology, water management and

Many thanks to Diplomat Magazine for providing such a platform for diplomats to communicate with others. The world is so diversified in many aspects, but also closely interconnected as well. How to get along with each other in a peaceful manner remains a common pursuit for all of us. There is an old Chinese saying: “Seek harmony among diversities”. As a diplomat myself, I can deeply understand the role diplomats play to represent their own home countries, stimulate friendship with other countries and strive for peace of the whole world. In the meantime, their families and beloved ones also contribute to their work. I think we are all duty-bound to work together so as to build a mutually beneficial and peaceful world, not only for ourselves, but for our children as well. I sincerely wish every one good health and a happy life.

Although the approaches of the two cultures are different, their pursuits of happiness are more or less the same. diplomat magazine #3

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diplomatspouses

The role of the spouse ‘The life of a diplomatic spouse is anything but normal. The spouse of career diplomats must juggle a unique combination of family life, professional commitments, education, responsibilities and travel. Diplomat Magazine met with the wives and husband of 11 ambassadors in The Hague to find out more. Tatsiana Barysevich

Lajla Halilović

The role of the Ambassador’s spouse is, above all, representing her/ his country. Big honour, big job, big responsibility. We are there to create positive and attractive image of our home country, inform the diplomatic and local community about different aspects of life there, sometimes - to break stereotypes.

As ambassador’s wife, I actively participate in the cultural promotion of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Kingdom of the Netherlands by taking a part in organization of various events such as exhibitions, concerts and receptions. In close cooperation with Bosnian and Herzegovina diaspora in The Kingdom of The Netherlands, I dedicate special attention to young people from Bosnia and Herzegovina in the area of supplementary education in Bosnian language. On almost everyday basis, my job is to meet, know and entertain a large variety of relevant people in order to communicate cultural and social messages of my home country to them. Also, as an active member of Ambassadors Wife’s Association in The Hague I am taking part in all the relevant events.

Spouse of the Ambassador of Belarus.

Our very important task is to explore the hosting country, learn about its history, culture, heritage, traditions, values, top businesses etc., learn at least basics of the language and share the experience with our spouses, be informative partners in conversations with them. Being busy with everyday challenges and tasks, they can learn a lot through us. Residing in the Netherlands gives us many unique opportunities in this respect.”

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Spouse of the Ambassador of Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Marko Korac

Spouse of the Ambassador of Croatia.

The best job in the world Being a spouse is great and being a spouse of the Croatian Ambassador in this amazing city of the Hague is a great privilege and the most beautiful task in the world. Gracious Dutch hospitality and built friendships make this post a unique experience, the one I will cherish dearly. It is not only the most exquisite tulips, fabulous art, bicycles and spectacular canals but it definitely is the Dutch mode de vie: openness and curiosity, that makes you feel welcome, allows you to introduce your home traditions and customs and learn so much. Hartstikke bedankt voor uitstekend gastvrijheid, het gezellig verblijf en heel veel mooi geheugen. Bedankt Den Haag, bedankt Netherlands!

Aimara Quiñones Spouse

of the Ambassador of Cuba.


diplomatspouses Marika Jahilo

Spouse of the Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia.

The role of the spouse is simple - provide support to your husband and family, make new homes many times in life and get involved in country promotion whenever possible. Easier said than done, the supportive role very often means you have to quit your own career and change your focus of life. With my publishing sector background I have tried to balance my own priorities with those of my husband’s. Peep has always understood my needs and wants me to be happy wherever we live.

For example, I arrived to The Hague a year later to complete my tasks in Estonia. Now, in my third year in this wonderful city, I actively participate in and organise social and cultural events together with the Embassy. This cooperation adds so much to my everyday life and self-esteem. We are lucky to be posted to The Netherlands, as this is a very friendly country and people easy to get on with. I cycle my bike and feel like Dutch, to understand and enjoy more!

Ntokozo Patience Koloane Spouse of the Ambassador of South Africa.

Jovana Kirn

Spouse of the Ambassador of Slovenia.

“I have been accompanying my husband on his diplomatic missions all over the world for the past 38 years. This has been a thrilling journey, not only for the sake of so many countries we have lived in, but also for having a life time opportunity to know these countries better and to contribute my personal share in building good relations between Slovenia and these countries. I this respect I can say that, as a spouse of an ambassador, I have complemented my husband´s work as a diplomat and an ambassador. I enjoy having such an opportunity also in the Netherlands, being our last diplomatic posting.”

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Bernardina Cole

Spouse of the Ambassador of the Republic of Malta.

For those who have not had the opportunity to be actively involved in diplomatic work or close to the diplomatic world, this seemingly prestigious profession is regarded as life of luxury, glamour and touring the world....a sort of an extended holiday. This is far from the truth. Together with the Ambassador’s responsibility as a representative of his country abroad, the spouse also has to bear this responsibility. Spouses are on many occasions heavily involved in the activities of the Embassy, from culinary and cultural diplomacy to national day celebrations. Choices and hard decisions have to be made by spouses whether to continue with their own careers or put their career on hold to support and sustain their companion’s endless postings abroad. Similar thoughts and decision have to be taken in respect of the children’s welfare and education. The latter being the most important challenge faced by diplomats and their spouses. Notwithstanding these challenges, my message to prospective spouses of ambassadors is to keep their head high. At the end of the day, life is about making choices and living with the consequences.

Gina M. Ledda

Moving families around the world, been together away home, how it works? DM asked a group of ambassador spouses about the role of the spouse. Nataliia Tymoshenko

Spouse of the Ambassador of Ukraine.

It is a great responsibility to be a spouse of an ambassador as you represent your country, its culture and traditions. For that it is important to have a deep knowledge of the subject, to be able to create a wide network among representatives of diplomatic as well as local community.

It is very important to learn and to understand new culture and customs, to be engaged in activities organized by other spouses of the ambassadors and to see each new posting as a possibility to bring different countries and their people closer to each other.

Wife of the Ambassador of the Philippines.

As the wife of the Philippine ambassador, I am in the unique position to help promote my country’s cultural highlights, most notably, our national dress, cuisine, music, literature and the visual arts. The events I organize and attend with my husband are essentially opportunities for interaction. People can get to know more about the Philippines and we in turn have the chance to appreciate better the Dutch and other cultures.

I believe several factors such as one’s experience, skill set, and personality influence the way a person carries out the responsibilities expected of an ambassador’s spouse. I think an openness to learn and to develop friendships, enthusiasm, and a sense of humor can make this multi-faceted role enjoyable and fulfilling.

Ana Luisa Trabal de Moerzinger Spouse of the Ambassador of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay.

‘The role as a diplomat’s spouse is a rewarding act but it is one that is often led from behind the scenes. It requires a partnership in which we both work hard to represent our country’s interest in the best way we can. As the spouse, we need to carry the same dedication and commitment in order to fulfill this goal. It also requires a flexible and agile mind as you juggle the responsibilities inherent in the profession but also those demanded by your family. In the Netherlands, particularly in The Hague some of these difficulties are easier because there is a more open and global mindset where international organizations and private interests coexist.

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WHERE ARTISAN TRADITIONS AND GASTRONOMY COME TOGETHER FROM NOVEMBER ALSO IN THE HAGUE-DELFT

Welcome to the HANOS, a foodstore that excites! HANOS is a wholesaler with 26 outlets in The Benelux. We offer an extensive and comprehensive range of fresh, dry-, frozen- and non-food items from The Netherlands and abroad. We like to focus on local artisan traditions and select specialty products typically for these regions. The HANOS mission: a customer service always on an outstanding level. HANOS’ foodspecialists follow the market closely and focus on the latest trends and innovations. They will be happy to answer your questions about culinary arts and products, to inform you, to surprise you. There is always a HANOS cash and carry store nearby. Either in our delivery service to our restaurant and catering customers as in our wholesale selfservice store, we guarantee top quality. HANOS is your partner in business, focused on hospitality and gastronomy. Welcome to the world of HANOS!

HANOS Den Haag-Delft Kleveringstraat 57, 2616 LZ Delft www.hanos.nl


diplomatMagazine

Leo van der Velde

a true Hagenaar

Text and pictures by Henry Arvidsson.

Leo van der Velde knew his passion at age six and he is still living it. He grew up in the era when reporters wore suits and hats. When we first meet on Binnenhof a cool autumn morning he is smartly dressed in a pair of jeans, polished brown wingtips, a tweed jacket with a tie and ready for the day. He smiles easily and is at the top of his game with no plans to retire, ever.

Before his eighteenth birthday he had circled the globe twice.

However the road was neither straight nor easy. Growing up in a much bombed out The Hague after the Second World War he saw his birthplace in ruins and his friend’s mothers forced to make ends meet as prostitutes. Their son’s, Leo’s friends, later became owners of the brothels. He chronicled these times in his 1999 book “Hoeren and snoeren”(Whores and moustaches”) one of five he have written so far. To escape the devastation he took a job as deck steward with the Holland America line. Before his eighteenth birthday he had circled the globe twice and taken a liking to the US a love affair still going on today. Talking about love, his girlfriend of fifteen one day gave him an ultimatum to choose between the sea or her. It was an offer he could not refuse and they are still married today and remain in the “Hofstad”. Not either a big fan of football he was told that the way into his wife’s family was to join her father for the weekly Sunday game. These afternoon games eventually made a Feyenoord fan out of a true Hagenaar.

Today he has his own page “Bij ons in Den Haag” (“with us in The Hague”) which appears several times a week in AD Haagsche Courant. Filled with what happens around town and insights into the city’s movers and shakers it is well read. It’s influence is such that it is even translated at embassies and enjoyed by the broader diplomatic community.

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One day he saw an advertisement for journalists in the paper. As he preferred writing over speaking he saw his chance to fulfill his dream. All dressed up in a suit and tie he asked his dad for the crowning hat. As he walked into a newsroom of 140 journalists and heard the smatter of typewriters he knew he was in the right place. His good grades from school meant nothing to the editor of the newspaper who gave him four days to come up with a story or be out of by week’s end. Leo spent four nights at City Hall listening to not all that exciting council meetings but delivered the article on time and has done so ever since. Over the years he has always been a real newspaper man and the “go to guy” who would run down the stair at four in the morning any day of the week to get the story. He writes for the whole of The Hague and says about a favorite event Parkpop that if people reading his story says “we were there and he knows exactly how we feel” he have succeeded.

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diplomatTourism&culture

The Tunisian ‘Dar’

A charming invitation to authenticity If you thought that luxury visitors’ accommodation in Tunisia comprised just a handful of well-known spots, think again. Due not only to its natural resources and exceptional climate but also its marvellous properties and caring people, Tunisia is fast becoming a leader in the business of leisure. Sustainable tourism is on the increase in Tunisia, dealing with environmental respect and ethical accommodation. How about going to the Nobel Peace Prize-winning country to enjoy authentic, organic and traditional culinary offers in a ‘Dar’? Traditionally, a Dar was the home of Tunisia’s noble families. These typical Arab townhouses have a discrete style without any ostentatious outward signs; however, once you are inside it is quite different story. Luxury, elegance and ‘volupté’ capture the character of these charming abodes. Tunisia is proud to offer more than 200 Dars which have been converted to boutique hotels, where you will be transported back into a traditional style mixed with a charming world of comfort and abundance. Diplomat Magazine made a selection of a few of the very best Dars; now it is your turn to discover.

Dar Bibine, Djerba is a guesthouse located

in the Erriadh village, formerly known as Hara Kbira (a Jewish village). Its pure, minimalist contemporary design blends with the authentic djerbian traditional style. Three words can define this Dar: exquisite, simple and refined. A must! www.darbibine.com

Dar Dhiafa, Djerba provides fine, intimate boutique accommodation with antique decorations and a flowered pool patio. It is a conversion of five adjacent 16th-century houses in Erriadh (Ex. Hara Kbira), the island’s famous old Jewish settlement. Don’t miss La Ghriba, the oldest synagogue in Africa, which is within walking distance. www.hoteldardhiafa.com Ksar Ezzit, Zaghouan is 100% organic farm very close de Dar Zaghouan. Seven luxury rooms are on offer, set among 440 hectares of hills, forests, farmland, and olive trees where horses and donkeys are used to cultivate the land. It is also one of the largest organic olive plantations in Tunisia. www.ksar-ezzit.com Dar Said, Sidi Bou Said is located in Tunis’s hilltop village by the mystical Sidi Bou Said. It is a converted 19th-century mansion and offers magnificent views over the Gulf of Tunis with incredible terraces over the orange and jasmine trees. Dar Zarrouk restaurant is located on the opposite side of the little street where the hotel is situated, and invites its guests to a gourmet trip between the Mediterranean and Tunisian culinary traditions. www.darsaid.com.tn

For more information, please contact the Tunisian Tourist Office in the Netherlands

Tunesische Verkeersbureau Nederland

Plaats 22, 2513 AE, The Hague +31 70 360 33 05 info@ontdektunesie.nl www.ontdektunesie.nl www.beintunisia.com

App-Ipad

Tunisia 2 Go

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diplomatsmeet&greet

Diplomats meet & Greet

Central America Diplomats Meet & Greet Regional Integration and Team Work Photography: Kim Vermaat.

The Central American Integration System (SICA), founded in 1993, is the economic and political cooperation organization of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Belize and Dominican Republic. Diplomatic representatives of the SICA nations came together on June 7th for a highly successful Diplomats Meet & Greet at the Carlton Ambassador Hotel. The plush event was exceptionally well-attended, and proudly showcased the most renowned rum from Guatemala, the Zacapa Centenario premium mature rum, several times first-prize winner at the International Rum Festival. Guests sampled this outstanding product alongside the very well know Rum Abuelo, another premium rum produced since 1908 in Panama’s first sugar mill.

Colourful and traditional Central American decorations were installed and in a few hours the colors, sound and flavours of the SICA nations were being complemented by the warm summer temperature and spirit of The Hague’s vibrant diplomatic and international community. The Ambassador’s salon and the Carlton’s terrace were packed: ambassadors and diplomats, government officials, international organizations’ representatives, industrials, artists, Dutch media and expats all enjoyed a unique opportunity to meet and sample the very best products of SICA’s constituent nations, and to listen and dance to beautiful Latin music. The SICA embassy teams worked harmoniously and effectively to give every country the opportunity and space to promote their produce to an exclusive audience. June’s Diplomats Meet & Greet, organized by Diplomat Magazine, was all about cooperation, team work and support from one SICA country to another. Diplomatic Card sponsors the Diplomats Meet & Greet.

74 for more pictures see: diplomatmagazine.nl/2015/01/31/cuban-diplomats-meet-greet


diplomatsmeet&greet

PAKISTAN By Nicole Pierre. Photography: Kim Vermaat.

On Tuesday September 1st, 2015, H. E. Moazzam Khan Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the Netherlands welcomed invited guests and members of the diplomatic corps to the Carlton Ambassador for the monthly Meet and Greet gathering. This event was held in collaboration with the Carlton Ambassador Hotel, Jaguar, Diplomatic Card, Vimpelcom and Diplomat Magazine. The reception room at the Carlton was warmly decorated with Pakistani products and, upon entering the guests immediately knew that they were in for a unique experience. The Netherlands and Pakistan share a very special bond as trading partners, with the Dutch being the 5th most important importer of Pakistani products in European Union and the 10th largest overall importer for Pakistan.

Ambassadors who attended the successful event included HE Khalid Al Khater, Ambassador of Qatar, HE José de Bouza Serrano, Ambassador of Portugal, HE Sadik Arslan, Ambassador of Turkey, HE Maria Teresa Infante Caffi, Ambassador of Chile, HE Gabriel Aguilera Peralta Ambassador of Guatemala and HE J. L. Mukul recently acredited a wonderful gathering in Ambassador of India.

It was The Hague and my favorite expression of the evening was undoubtedly “Food Diplomacy”.

The Netherlands is also a top investor in Pakistan where many multinational companies such as Shell, Unilever and Phillips are housed. In fact, we were told that the two countries have a bilateral trade between them of approximately 1 billion dollars. Mr. Zahid Abbasi, in his capacity as Commercial Attaché in the Trade Wing of the Embassy has, along with HE Khan, conducted many trade promotional events. Some of these events included the Mango exhibition, fashion week in Amsterdam, sport goods exhibition during the Hockey World Cup, participation at the Embassy Festival, and conducting Seminars on the textile sector and investment opportunities in Pakistan. But what constitutes this great trade relationship between the two countries? Machinery, electrical equipment, and pharmaceutical products are among some of the products that Pakistan imports from The Netherlands, while their main export includes: textile, garments, leather and sport goods, footwear, mango and, very importantly, rice.

for more pictures see: diplomatmagazine.nl

Thus, it only seems fitting that, for such an occasion as the Diplomat’s Meet and Greet, the embassy decided to host a rice dinner, serving 5 different assortments of this main export crop. The convivial atmosphere created through the sharing of a meal appeared to be a symbolic representation of the trade partnership which exists between Pakistan and The Netherlands. In the Ambassador’s speech he said that he wanted to do something different and thought about promoting his country through “Food Diplomacy”. I believe that we were all able to appreciate the meal and to savor the flavor of the rice after His Excellency’s thorough explanation of the importance of the profounder of the clay for the taste and texture of the rice. To paraphrase Mr Ambassador himself, “The proof of the pudding – or the rice as it may be – was definitely in the eating”. We applaud the Embassy of Pakistan for this initiative and we certainly enjoyed dinner!

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diplomatsmeet&greet

MEET & GREET BOTSWANA By Antonia Barthel. Photography: Kim Vermaat.

Traditionally, the monthly Diplomats Meet and Greet is a useful platform to enhance our knowledge of the host country. October’s event took place at the Carlton Ambassador Hotel and was hosted by the Embassy of the Republic of Botswana based in Brussels, in collaboration with the Carlton Ambassador Hotel, Diplomatic Card, Jaguar and Diplomat Magazine. The event was all about “promoting goodwill, friendship, international understanding and getting to know each other better, especially Botswana,” explained His Excellency Samuel Otsile Outlule, Ambassador of Botswana and Head of Delegation to the European Union. Ambassador Outlule welcomed members of the Diplomatic Corps and distinguished guests to an evening of networking, promoting Botswana and extending the international circle of friendship.

Among the distinguished guests were a number of Judges of the ICC – including Judge Joyce Aluoch, First Vice-President, and Botswana’s own national, Judge Sanji Monageng, as well as Archbishop Aldo Cavalli, Apostolic Nuncio to the Netherlands, and Drs. Marieke J. Sanders ten-Holte, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Botswana in Amsterdam. The Carlton Ambassador’s salon was filled with heads of mission, diplomats, government officials as well as representatives from international organizations, industry and academia. From the array of promotional materials presented elegantly in Botswana’s traditionally woven baskets, guests had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with Botswana and its many facets which make it “a place to live, work, visit and do business”, as described by Ambassador Outlule. The music of Botswana folk jazz artist, Sereetsi & The Natives, provided a soothing soundtrack to the evening as the fine cuisine of the Carlton Ambassador Hotel made its rounds across the room, and guests indulged in the sharing and enhancing of their knowledge and experiences of Botswana.

El Salvador By Joe Ray. Photography: Kim Vermaat.

A lively and convivial atmosphere marked the latest Diplomats Meet & Greet, jointly hosted on 5 November by Diplomat Magazine, the Embassy of the Republic of El Salvador, and the Carlton Ambassador Hotel, in collaboration with Diplomatic Card and Jaguar. The many guests in attendance were warmly received by H.E. Ms. Aida Luz Santos de Escobar, Ambassador of El Salvador to The Netherlands, and Mr. Agustin Vasquez Gomez, Minister Counsellor of the Embassy of El Salvador in The Hague. In her welcoming remarks, H.E. Ms. Santos de Escobar shared with attendees an overview of her ongoing work and objectives as the country’s Head of Mission to the Netherlands. She also took the opportunity to formally present El Salvador’s newly appointed Honorary Consul to the Netherlands, Ms. Sonia Meijer, a respected and popular figure in The Hague. The event provided an ideal opportunity for guests to become better acquainted with the Central American nation’s culture, investment opportunities, and current projects – including bilateral education initiatives with Dutch universities, and various development schemes.

for more pictures see: diplomatmagazine.nl

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diplomatICEvents

NE “Brasil” in Rotterdam

Brazil commemorates National Day By Ivens Signorini, Embassy of Brazil to The Netherlands. Photography: René van der Kloet.

The 7 September, which marks the official date of the independence of Brazil from Portugal, was celebrated in The Hague, with a reception at the Embassy’s official residence, in Wassenaar. Regaling the 193 years of Brazil’s independence, about 250 guests were present, including representatives of the Dutch government, diplomatic corps, Brazilian community in the Netherlands, business, cultural and academic sectors. Following more than three centuries under Portuguese rule, Brazil by far the largest and most populous country in South America, gained its independence in 1822.

By Ivens Signorini, Embassy of Brazil to The Netherlands. Photography: René van der Kloet.

Officially designated as U-27, Navio Escola Brasil or “NE Brasil” is a frigate of the Brazilian Navy used to give field training for young officers to be graduated by the Brazilian Navy Academy. The 130-metres long ship travels every year to a number of ports and countries around the world. In 2015, the NE “BRASIL” departed from Rio de Janeiro on July 26th and is travelling the following itinerary: Natal (BR), Funchal (PT); Toulon (FR); Civitavecchia (IT); Valencia (ES); Lisbon (PT); Rotterdam (NL); Hamburg (DE); London (UK); Rouen (FR); New York (US); Jacksonville (US); Cartagena (CO); Guayaquil (EC); Callao (PE); Valparaiso (CL); Mar del Plata (AR); Montevideo (UY). Following the Brazilian Navy tradition, NE “BRASIL” organised upon its arrival a cocktail reception on-board in the evening of September 19th. With about 250 guests, the event brought together Dutch authorities, representatives of companies doing business with Brazil and Brazilian expats living in the Netherlands. HE Ambassador Paragibe dos Santos Tarragô attended the function alongside members of his embassy staff.

Throne Day Morocco 2015

By Roy Lie A. Tjam. Photography: Robert Huiberts.

The Kingdom of Morocco is a constitutional monarchy, and every year the country commemorates the monarch’s enthronement with a day of celebration known as Throne Day. His Majesty Mohammed VI became King of Morocco 1999 following the death of his father King Hassan II. On the occasion of the 16th anniversary of the accession of H.M. King Mohamed VI to the Throne, His Excellency Mr. Abdelouahab Bellouki, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to the Netherlands, held a reception at the Hilton Hotel in The Hague. Dozens of fellow diplomats, patriots and others came to congratulate the Ambassador and his wife on this memorable day.

All told, the Moroccan Throne Day 2015 celebration in the Netherlands was a great success.

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Algeria National Day celebration 2015

By Roy Lie A. Tjam. M.Hasan Kuday, Studio Action.

The Anniversary of the Revolution Day is the national holiday of Algeria. It is celebrated on 1 November and commemorates the start of the war of independence against France.

H.E. Ms. Nassima Baghli, Ambassador of Algeria, invited colleagues and friends to join her at Crowne Plaza Hotel in the celebration of her country’s National Day at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on 2 November 2015. There was a sizeable turnout, and a relaxed, cordial atmosphere.


diplomatICEvents

National Mourning Day 2015 A dozen other distinguished speakers followed, including Mr. Mustafa, Mr. Zakirul Huq Tipu, Mr. Murad Khan, Mr. Bikash Roy, and Mr. Morshed Mannan. All paid homage to the slain Father of the Nation. By Roy Lie A. Tjam. Photography: Kim Vermaat.

Just as the Cabinet of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh had done a few days earlier, the Ambassador of Bangladesh to The Netherlands, H.E. Sheikh Mohammed Belal flanked by his spouse Dr. Dilruba Nasrin, his team, the Bangladeshi diaspora in the Netherlands and many invitees paid their respects to the memory of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman - the founding father of Bangladesh. The commemoration took place at the Chancellery on 15 August 2015, in a ceremony of due solemnity and dignity. The occasion marked the 40th anniversary of the death of the great leader and members of his family. In his keynote address, H.E. Ambassador Sheikh Mohammed Belal paid profound respect to the passing of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in a pre-dawn assassination on 15 August 1975. The Ambassador also read out a message of the President of Bangladesh H. E. Abdul Hamid. Subsequently, Mr. Istiaque Ahmed, Second Secretary, read a message of the Hon. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, daughter of Bangladesh’s Father of the Nation. Messages on the resounding significance of this day in Bangladeshi history from the Hon. Foreign Minister and Hon. State Minister for Foreign Affairs were also read out.

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The participations of children in a speech competition added luster to the program. The children spoke of the prerequisites of learning from the life and ideals of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Amongst them, the importance of being not only a good Of particular note Bangladeshi, but also “I have not seen the was the discourse a responsible global delivered by Mr. Himalayas. But I have citizen.Dr. Dilruba Morshed Mannan, Nasrin, spouse of seen Sheikh Mujib, a Masters Student at Ambassador Belal, Leiden Law School, distributed prizes in personality and Barrister-at-Law to the participating & Advocate at the children and urged in courage, this man Bangladesh Bar them to uphold the is the Himalayas” Council. He related, ‘ spirit of freedom Fidel Castro. In the past few years, and independence in Bangladesh has been whatever they do later the beneficiary of two in life. landmark decisions by the International Tribunal for Law of the Sea and the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Permanent Court of Arbitration regarding also had tributes paid to him by foreign the delimitation of Bangladesh’s maritime statesmen and politicians. Fidel Castro boundaries with Myanmar and India of Cuba said of him: “I have not seen the respectively’. Himalayas. But I have seen Sheikh Mujib, in personality and in courage, this man is the These decisions have created certainty Himalayas” regarding the area of the Bay of Bengal which Bangladesh may rightfully explore Lord Fenner Brockway said: “In a sense, for natural resources, thereby opening Sheikh Mujib is a greater leader than up new avenues for energy production. George Washington, Mahatma Gandhi and While the credit for this goes to the current De Valera.” Government of Bangladesh for engaging with international dispute resolution During my official visit to Bangladesh, I mechanisms, the process to demarcate had the privilege of being taken to the lieu Bangladesh’s borders with its neighbors’ where Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s brutal began during the tenure of Bangabandhu. assassination took place. This experience stirred in me deep emotions. While his brutal assassination left his dreams and plans unfulfilled for many years, As long as the Padma River flows on, Sheikh with the two recent international decisions, Mujibur Rahman’s legacy will live on. his vision of a sovereign, energy-secure Bangladesh has been furthered. This is worth remembering on a somber occasion like today.

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Embassy Art Exhibition 2015 Photography by Kim Vermaat and Gualtiero Buonamassa.

The much-anticipated 1st annual Embassy Art Exhibition was inaugurated at Landgoed de Witenburg, Wassenaar, on 14 October 2015. This unique initiative between Diplomat Magazine and Gallery Patries van Dorst, sponsored by Vimpelcom, was supported by 18 of The Hague’s embassies, and featured over 300 pieces of artwork from more than 50 international artists.

List of participating countries and artists

The dazzling range of original pieces on display included tapestries, paintings, sculptures, landscapes, surrealism, nature-themes and the human form. Exhibitors and guests at the exhibition’s official opening were warmly welcomed by Dr. Mayelinne De Lara, Publisher of Diplomat Magazine, together with the owner of Gallerie Patries van Dorst, Mr. Carel Reisch. Dr. De Lara explained to attendees how the project was born, and extended her gratitude to the participating embassies and all those who made the event possible. She added a special word of thanks to the embassies’ respective ambassadors for their enthusiasm and commitment to the project. “We started this project back in April, and I have more white hair now than I had before,” quipped Mr. Carel Reisch in his welcoming remarks. “It was quite an achievement to work with more than 50 artists and to arrange the exhibition in such a short period of time.” His efforts were certainly well-rewarded. The vibrant and original exhibition attracted scores of visitors to Gallery Patrice van Dorst right up to its conclusion on 10 November, and a vernissage reception co-hosted by participating Heads of Diplomatic Missions also took place.

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China: Liu Xiang, Sofie Xie, Yun Xie. Lebanon: Yazan Halwani, Inaya Hodeib, Lara Zankoul. Serbia: Tomislav Paunkovic, Jasmina Pejčić, Ivana Milenković, Nina Šrajber. Ukraine: Vasyliy Kohutych. Kosovo: Jakub Ferri. Bangladesh: Carel Richter, Laila Sharmeen, Anika Mariam Ahmed. Tunisia: Choki Ben Amor, Taoufik Kerkeni, Houcine Bouchiba. Rwanda: Alice Gahunga-Durand. Kenya: Omosh Kindeh. Iran: Bozorg Khazraei, Bahram Sadri Monfared, Ali Alizadeh. Pakistan: Soraya Sikander. Georgia: Mamuka, Maia, George Kukhalashvili, Nodar Khokhobashvili, Alexey Kvaratskhelia. Slovenia: Ksenija Čerče, Mitja Ficko, Robert Černelč. Armenia Estonia: U  rmu Raus. El Salvador: Roberto Oviedo Vega. Italy: Vincenzo D’Innella Capano, Armando Paya and Flavio Gemma. Venezuela: Armando Reveron.


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Iran Monumentendag 2015 By Mr. Roy Lie A. Tjam. Photography: Gualtiero Buonamassa.

On Saturday, 12 September, H.E. Dr. Alireza Jahangiri, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and his wife, Maray Jahangiri, graciously opened their mansion and estate grounds, for the second time, to a curious and appreciative public celebrating the Netherlands’ 29th National Open Monumentendag 2015 with the local community.

Since 1959, landgoed (estate) “De Wiltzangk te Wassenaar”, a listed heritage property, has served as the official residence for Iranian Ambassadors and their families. “De Wiltzangk”, the name given to the estate, was inspired by the title of poem by Joost van den Vondel, a famous 17th Century Dutch poet and playwright.

Inside the residence, the public viewed a book collection display of lavishly illustrated Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyám.

In honor of the occasion, Ambassador Jahangiri and his wife and children dauther Mohadeseh and his son Mohammad Hasan arranged to have their home temporarily transformed into an Iranian cultural center for the day.

The reading table featured some twenty English translations of Persian books from the University of Leiden Press “Iranian Studies Series”, as well as other books on tourism, which were available for perusing.

Upon arrival, guests admired a vintage automobile collection parked in front of the residence courtesy of Tehran Trading Mirjavanmanrd at the end of a long tree lined driveway, before being welcomed outdoors with a selection of traditional warm beverages, including Cardamon tea served in open “special event” tents. Artemis Perzisch Restaurant, catered the traditional Persian grill buffet, which was served to visitors.

Persian carpet specialists from TTM Wonen, in Leidschendam, organized a carpet exhibition throughout the stately ground floor rooms of the residence.

An Iranian expatriate, local travel expert, and owner of Vievana, a trusted local travel agency specializing in guided group and individual tour programs to Iran, responded to visitors’ questions about the country. Visitors were interested in opportunities to visit the country’s historic cities of Esfahan, Qom and Kermanshah as well as the country’s many other UNESCO World Heritage cultural sites such as the Meidan Eman in Esfahan. The conservatory in De Wiltzangk was used as a photography, art and craft gallery. Artisan Maryam Gholamhoseini, an Iranian silver and coppersmith, was among the artisans selected to exhibit work. The exhibition continued outside onto the terrace, where enchanting paintings by the Iranian artist “Fereshteh Salehi”, were displayed.

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The Ambassador’s cultural program for his “Monument Day” open house concluded with a musical program performed by a musical ensemble playing a selection of traditional Persian music on the Santur and Daf. The design of De Wiltzangk was commissioned by O.F. Weise. He chose the Rotterdam architect, P. Musly, to design the turn of the century “arts and crafts” English country home for his client, Mr. Samuel van den Bergh, founder of Unilever. It was built on a portion of the Backershagen Estate exactly 100 years ago, in 1915 and contributed to the early development of Wassenaar as a villadorp (estate village). Over the years, the mansion has been extended and the park-like grounds, laid out in the architectural landscape style, designed by the Dutch landscape architect Dirk Frederik Tersteeg, have been enhanced. Mr. Jan Hoekema, the Mayor of Wassenaar, other representatives of the Wassenaar municipality, diplomats, members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Iranian diaspora and scores of other visitors and guests, were among the many who were grateful for Ambassador Jahangiri’s hospitality in providing everyone with the unique opportunity of visiting “De Wiltzangk”—his stately and historic residence.

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THE RIVERDALE KITCHEN

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AMADE Nederland champions the rights of Child Refugees

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By: Director Pieter Bogaardt.

A year after it’s successful launch at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, AMADE Nederland continues championing the rights of children and this year more particularly of the child refugees. AMADE Nederland is a Dutch charity organization, the latest branch of AMADE Mondiale, the largest charity organization in Monaco, chaired by HRH The Princess of Hanover, Princess Caroline of Monaco.

Lebanon celebrates in style National Day 2015

This year (2015) AMADE Nederland organised a soirée on the 6th of November at the Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague. The group of approximately 80 distinguished guests, amongst them Mr Aldo Verbruggen, president of AMADE Nederland, Mr Pieter Bogaardt, member of the Board and of the Executive Committee of AMADE Mondiale and vice-president of AMADE Nederland, Prince Floris van Oranje-Nassau and his wife Princess Aimée, Mr Mark Vogt, Senior global PSFR officer at UNHCR. AMADE has concluded a cooperation agreement to support UNHCR’s worldwide campaign “Time to Act”. This event in the Mauritshuis was focussed on the refugee children with the aim of preventing a lost generation and breaking the barriers of access to health care and education. Aldo Verbruggen emphasized in his welcoming speech that humanity demands sacrifice referring to his visit together with Pieter Bogaardt to the Syrian refugee camp Za’Atri in Jordan last year, which visit, as he describes himself, was “a lesson in humility”. Jordan, with only six million people, accommodates more than two million refugees.

The Embassy of Lebanon celebrated the country’s National Day at The Crowne Plaza Hotel in The Hague on 23 November 2015.

After the welcoming speech, guides accompanied the guests along the highlights of the Mauritshuis. Beautiful paintings of Rembrandt, Vermeer, Frans Hals and Fabritius were explained in an original way and walking through the Mauritshuis the guests could enjoy the intimate atmosphere of the Golden Age in a modernized setting. In the Golden Room of the Mauritshuis, Maison Van den Boer served an exquisite dinner and Professor Wiep van Bunge, a famous Dutch philosopher, associated with the Erasmus University of Rotterdam, held a most interesting exposé about the refugees through the centuries. He stated that the strong position of The Netherlands in the Golden Age was related to the refugees the Dutch society welcomed and accepted. More than 900,000 immigrants came from Germany. Most of them were very poor. The Jews coming from Portugal were completely different due to their customs and habits. Despite the differences all contributed to the prosperity of The Netherlands. The Netherlands should accommodate 60,000 up to 80,000 refugees now. In the light of the history of Western Europe Wiep van Bunge pleaded for a generous asylum policy. Pieter Bogaardt pointed out that children must be able to dream and have the right to accessible education and healthcare. “That’s where AMADE is standing for and the evening in the Mauritshuis contributed to. The financial support of AMADE is just a small drop in the Ocean.

By Roy Lie A. Tjam. Photography: Hester Dijkstra.

Ambassadors, diplomats and many Dutch officials as well as representatives of the International Organizations, Tribunals, and Institutions in the Hague turned out in numbers to join the Embassy’s outstanding Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Ms. Abir Ali, in celebrating the occasion. The room that was beautifully decorated with red and white flowers symbolizing the colors of the Lebanese flag hosted scores of guests from the Lebanese community and the Dutch social, academic and cultural circles and many others who made their way to the Crowne Plaza to enjoy the occasion. Guests savored the exquisite taste of the delicious Lebanese food that was offered at the reception. For the occasion, Ms. Ali sent out a very powerful message about her country. The full text of the message follows below. Message from the Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of The Embassy of Lebanon, Abir Ali on the occasion of the National Day of Lebanon: “When we celebrate the National Day of Lebanon, we celebrate the values on which Lebanon is founded. We celebrate freedom of belief, freedom of expression, and respect for one another”. “We celebrate the values of tolerance, diversity, and openness which are synonymous with the Lebanese people. Lebanon, the land where all the persecuted minorities of the Middle East found safe haven, is a bastion against extremism and all the dark forces of evil.” “Despite the bleak situation, Lebanon remains an inspiring model of cultural diversity that will never give in to radicalism and violence and will remain a beacon of hope for moderation and pluralism.”

Let your heart speak and make children dream and play again in a save and caring environment”. Humanity demands sacrifices. diplomat magazine #3

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Indian Ambassador

Pakistani mango exhibition

presented credentials to the King Photography: Kim Vermaat.

Text and photography: Catherine Dailey.

The Ambassador of the Republic of India HE J. S. Mukul presented the credentials to His Majesty WillemAlexander, King of the Netherlands last September.

The Embassy of Pakistan together with Diplomat Magazine recently promoted the “King of Fruits” in The Hague, one of the most popular and best-loved fruits worldwide with almost a hundred of varieties cultivated for exportation in this country.

Ambassador Mukul was invited to inspect the Guard of Honour at the Palace before presenting the credentials to His Majesty. During the ceremony, he was accompanied by Counsellor and Director of The Gandhi Centre, Mr. V.K. Choubey, First Secretary (Legal Office) Dr. Kajal Bhat, Second Secretary (HOC) Mr. M.K. Pujari and Second Secretary (Political Sector) Mr. D. Meher.

The most popular commercial varieties of Pakistani mangoes – all different in colours and sizes, and each with a distinct flavour and taste – include Anwar Retol, Dasehri, Langra, Chaunsa, Sindhri, Saharni, Alphonso, Pairi, Fazli, and Neelam. The Netherlands is a very important trading partner for Pakistan being the fifth largest importer of Pakistani produce in EU and tenth largest importer overall for Pakistan. Besides mango, the Netherlands imports rice, oranges, cotton, wheat, textile, garments, leather and sport goods. The Netherlands is also among the top ten investors in Pakistan. The country has been home for major Dutch multinational companies like Shell, Unilever, Philips, Akzo Nobel, Macro, and Damn shipyards among others.

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After presenting the credentials, the Ambassador and his spouse had a meeting with the King for about 20 minutes. Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mrs. Renee Jones-Bos was present in the meeting. On the evening, Ambassador and Mrs. Mukul organized a Vin d’honneur at India Residence in Wassenaar. The reception was attended by over 100 guest comprising of Mayors, Grand Master of the Royal Household, senior dignitaries from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassadors and members of the Diplomatic Corps, representatives from international organizations based in The Hague, members of the press corps and prominent members of the Dutch and Indian diaspora communities.


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Newton College in The Hague a Dutch-Peruvian collaboration that did not go unnoticed Text and photography by Ellen Brager.

In his function of Ambassador of Peru to The Netherlands, H. E. Carlos Herrera receives many honored guests in his residence in Wassenaar, but seldom are they as young and as talented as his recent visitors from Peru. A group of young string players from Newton College in Lima traveled to The Hague, accompanied by their teachers and parents to work with local musicians and discover “los Paises Bajos”, the Low Countries as The Netherlands are called in Spanish. The musical group was comprised of 13 violinists, between the ages of 6 and 15, and one young cellist. During their week-long stay in The Hague they worked and performed together with the Hofstads Jeugdorkest (VHJO), the American School of The Hague (ASH) and the International School of The Hague (ISH). Having heard about their visit, Mr. Herrera and his spouse Veronique Miclea, did not pass up the opportunity to invite them into their home to get to know them personally and listen to their playing. Divided in small groups, the kids performed three traditional songs from Peru, filling the Peruvian expats that had been invited to the reception with nostalgia for their country. After the children’s performance, it was the turn of the teachers to delight the guests with their talent. Back home the teachers form a trio of violin, guitar/ vocals and percussion, called “Las Warmis”, which means The Women in the Quechua language that is spoken in the Andes. Their repertoire draws on the rich sounds of the Peruvian folklore and constitutes a paean to the beauty of their country.

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In addition to the delegation from Newton College, the Ambassador had invited several local musicians and other contributors to the success of the school’s trip, as well as his personal guests and representatives of Diplomat Magazine. But the Ambassador’s involvement with the Peruvian visit did not stop there. The next day he honored the musicians again by officially opening the last concert of their tour held in the beautiful theater of ASH. After a few welcome words during which he praised the collaboration between the Peruvian musicians and their Dutch counterparts, the children preformed a special program that combined classical music with traditional Peruvian tunes.

In total, close to one hundred musicians from different nationalities who had never performed together before, combined their talents to take the audience on a journey from the Europe of Strauss and Mendelssohn to the high peaks of the Andes. It was a testimony to how music has the power to unite people and create harmony together.

The Peruvian musicians opened the concert on the cajón, an indigenous Peruvian percussion instrument. Lined up in a long row the kids played various rhythms in question and answer format. After this unique opening, the preparatory orchestra and the advanced string ensemble of the VHJO, as well as the string orchestra of ASH, joined the Peruvian musicians in different formations.

On the picture H. E. Carlos Herrera with the young musicians from Newton College of Lima and their music director Natasha Encinas.

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Without Sales tax and BPM tax We offer very competitive rates on all the new Jaguar models, particularly for the specific group of people who work for the various Embassies and International organizations located in the Netherlands. For this group of discerning customers we are able to offer an additional reduction of 15% on the price after deducting the sales tax and BPM tax. The history of Jager Blankespoor The company was founded in 1907 by Jan Blankespoor, the great grandfather of former director Hanneke Raaphorst. As a specialist in English brands it acquired dealership of Jaguar in 1967. Blankespoor became an exclusive dealer for Jaguar in 1990. In 2007, Jaguar Blankespoor had existed for hundred years. Richard Jongejan: “The father of Hanneke, Kees Raaphorst, further developed Blankespoor into a great business. With the acquisition we build on that foundation. We add a dash of Stern. Better, more exclusive, and because Stern has a lot to offer, mobility is guaranteed.”

Future Ever since its establishment Jaguar has evolved from a producer of motorcycle sidecars to one of the leading automotive designers. Richard Jongejan: “Jaguar has a future. There are many new models in the pipeline including a beautiful SUV. They will offer strong competition to the German car brands. With the XE Jaguar introduces an enormous innovation: the aluminum body construction. This lightweight car architecture, together with the advanced chassis technology and the new Ingenium engine family, offer unique benefits in this class. The result: exhilarating performance, maneuverability, precise and alert steering, and refined and comfortable driving characteristics. You can be proud when you have a Jaguar on your doorstep. Be surprised by what Jaguar has to offer. Exclusivity and professionalism are made tangible by Jager Auto Blankespoor. The first floor in the wonderful showroom on Neckar is dedicated to enthusiasts of exclusive secondhand cars. There, leading brands are shown off and are waiting for their new proud owner.”


Jager Auto Blankespoor

Neckar 1 (Forepark)

2491 BE Den Haag

070 357 57 17

info@blankespoor-jaguar.nl


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Winter-spring 2016 issue, diplomat magazine The Hague. Co-founders, members of the diplomatic corps June 2013. Mayelinne De Lara, Editor; Am...

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