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Connecting Ideas and People

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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.

‘Foundation Counterpoint’ – A different take on connecting ideas and people in The Hague…

By Eelco H. Dykstra, special contributor Diplomat Magazine, The Hague.

On a daily basis, many diplomats are downloading information to the host country they’re posted in – and uploading information from host country to home country. Hoe effective these efforts are can vary considerably and depends in part on the strength of the network you have and the kind of networking you do.

So, who are the people you have in your network and how do you reach your intended target audiences? The answers to these questions often determine the quality and the impact of your efforts.

In the city of The Hague, compared to other international political capitals such as Washington DC and London, there are surprisingly few truly international and independent ‘think-tanks’. Despite the efforts undertaken by the city of The Hague to profile itself as the city of peace and justice, more can be done to engage and benefit the many international entities and embassies in The Hague. In response to these considerations, a group of approximately 100 professionals from many different disciplines and backgrounds – all with a proven international track record – have come together to form the core of the newly established Foundation Counterpoint.Eelco.Dykstra

A resource center and a think tank….

Foundation Counterpoint is a network organization of professionals from government, private sector, knowledge brokers, the media and the population who are committed to international affairs and the use of common sense. The Foundation is about content but does so with a smile and operates in an informal setting: its activities should be enjoyable if not outright ‘fun’ for those who participate in it! In The Hague, The Foundation plans to work closely with other organizations including Diplomat Magazine and the International (Parliamentary) Press Centre ‘Nieuwspoort’ and will function as a combination of a ‘resource center’ and a ‘think-tank’. The general aim is to pro-actively support the quality and impact of information exchange – within and between international entities and national (target) audiences.

So, what will this Foundation do?

Foundation Counterpoint will assist the diplomatic community in sourcing (local) information for international upload as well as in increasing the local impact of international information by:

–          Providing (access to) experts

–          Providing information (‘resource center’)

–          Researching specific or complex issues (‘in-depth analysis’)

–          (Co-)Organizing events and meetings on internationally relevant themes, complex problems and/or current affairs

–          Conducting on-line consultation and dialogue sessions.

Because the Foundation’s participants are held to the Chatham House rule and can participate while remaining anonymous, the network can also be used to work through confidential and/or controversial issues and assignments.

So, what is the ‘thinking’ behind the Foundation as a ‘think-tank’?

In its formal deliberations, Foundation Counterpoint uses a 9-step approach[1] by asking the following questions:

  1. What – if any – is the ‘common frame of reference’ here?
  2. What were previous ‘lessons learned’?
  3. What is the functional distance between ‘policy’ and ‘practice’?
  4. What is the level of fragmentation?
  5. Is there a disconnection between ‘before, ‘during’ and ‘after’?
  6. Where lays the focus for investing/solutions?
  7. What is the ‘universal driver’ here?
  8. How is the ‘return-on-investment’ determined?
  9. (How) Are ‘best practice’ and ‘minimum requirements’ defined?

Participants in the Foundation Counterpoint network in The Hague include (former) members of parliament, former cabinet members, diplomats, professors, journalists, captains of industry/business people and a wide range of different experts.


Would you like to know more?

Would you like to participate?

Simply drop a line to Diplomat Magazine or to the author at

[1] ©IKP/DIEM (Washington DC/The Hague) ‘Universal Roadblocks Model’





[1] ©IKP/DIEM (WashingtonDC/The Hague) ‘Universal Roadblocks Model’

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