Thursday, December 1, 2022

Diplomatic work as seen from within by a local employee

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DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE “For diplomats, by diplomats” Reaching out the world from the European Union First diplomatic publication based in The Netherlands Founded by members of the diplomatic corps on June 19th, 2013. Diplomat Magazine is inspiring diplomats, civil servants and academics to contribute to a free flow of ideas through an extremely rich diplomatic life, full of exclusive events and cultural exchanges, as well as by exposing profound ideas and political debates in our printed and online editions.


By C.J. (Niels) Marselis, Political Analyst & Multilateral Assistant, Embassy of Hungary .

As a Dutchman growing up largely abroad, I had always envisioned to have an international career. Upon finishing my studies in political science and law at Leiden University, I found a vacancy at the Embassy of Hungary, as a “political analyst”. The job description hugely appealed to me and after a successful interview, I was hired to take up my duties in April 2010. Our working language would be English. Besides analysing and reporting on Dutch politics by attending Parliamentary debates and immersing myself into newspapers, journals and the internet, I was soon involved in the multilateral work at the embassy, above all at the OPCW.

By this time I had discovered that I was the only Dutchman working at and representing a foreign country at the OPCW, ICC and the PCA. As a result, I found myself in the unusual but privileged position to be able to meet and get to know colleagues from around the world, whom I would otherwise hardly ever see. I became Secretary of the Alternates, Advisers and Associates (AAA) Club, the informal delegates club linked to the OPCW, and I started to become a regular at exhibitions, receptions and other such events.

Whereas the Dutch Foreign Service employs many locals at embassies abroad to do substantive work, nor the Hungarian Foreign Service or any other Foreign Services that I am aware of do so on such a large scale. The main reason to hire a local would be his or her knowledge of the language, culture, customs and (political) history, adding much to the quality and value of the reports being sent back to the capital. A few of the reasons that I have heard that would bar engaging a local employee in this way are security, nationality

requirement, tradition, or funding. Having now held this position for almost four years, I can honestly say that it has been a pleasure and privilege to be involved in the life and work of the Diplomatic Corps in The Hague. I have made many friends from around the world, and I have had the honour to learn about other countries and cultures; from Afghanistan to Hungary, to Viet Nam. I look forward to continuing my international career, in The Netherlands or elsewhere!

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