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“All of us know more than one of us!”

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Diplomat Magazine
Diplomat Magazine
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." Dr. Mayelinne De Lara, Publisher

The Hague and the NATO Summit 2025…

By Eelco H. Dykstra.

After a few years of mission-critical assignments elsewhere, Eelco H. Dykstra resumes his acclaimed column “A Thought and a Smile…” in Diplomat Magazine

All of us know more than one of us!is the slogan/tagline of one of the international programs I’m involved in, called “20/20 Vision”. It was selected as slogan because the  program is not about listening to information from a single source – never a good idea – , but about harvesting the collective wisdom of “the crowd”. As such, the program seeks to combine the lessons learned from ‘western’ science with those from more informal, ‘tribal’ experiences and lessons learned, also known as “indigenous knowledge”.  

I was reminded of the All of us know more than one of us!slogan when a student recently contacted me for an interview on ‘branding’ and communication in relation to  the NATO Summit that will take place in The Hague from June 24-27, 2025. 

Since the interview seemed a perfect follow-up to my previous column in Diplomat Magazine [“Branding cities, branding nations…”], I agreed to be interviewed and a meeting was arranged.

During the meeting, I learned that my interviewer belonged to a team of 25 students from The Hague University of Applied Sciences who are working with the City of The Hague on a project aimed at taking stock and studying what the challenges are of hosting the NATO Summit in 2025  – albeit from a ‘city-branding’ and communication point-of-view.

I was presented with twelve questions that were long and wordy, with a lot of overlap within and between questions. For the purpose of writing this column I looked into reducing the twelve questions into a single ‘meta’-question. See below what I came up with.

During the free-flowing discussion part of the interview, a number of challenges or concerns came up. Naturally they included the Summit’s security concerns and its cost (estimated to be €95 million!), but we also touched on other, deeper and rather poignant questions such as the relation between the United Nations and NATO, the potential friction between ‘militarism’ and ‘climate change’, and the increasing distance we see between ‘policy’ and ‘practice’. 

Alright then, you might ask, what does this has to do with me as a member of the Diplomatic Corps or as an international professional? Well, there is a lot of knowledge, experience and wisdom to be found within the readership of Diplomatic Magazine.

All of us know more than one of us!-remember?

 So here is what we, “all of us”,  can do:

  1. Answer this ‘meta’-question:

What do you see as the most important challenges when it comes to aligning the NATO Summit with The Hague as the city of Peace and Justice – and how do you recommend overcoming them?

  • By doing so, we can contribute to identifying challenges and developing intervention strategies that may help to minimize trouble and avoid  potential conflict.

We have one year until the NATO Summit in The Hague, so let’s get to work!  After all, as another saying goes: ‘The time to repair your roof is when the sun is shining’…

When you would like get involved in this survey project that looks into aligning the NATO Summit with The Hague as City of Peace and Justice, then do not hesitate to send a message expressing your interest to: 

About the author:

Eelco H. Dykstra. Photography by Tom Manning

Once dubbed a ‘Global Nomad’ in East Africa, Eelco H. Dykstra is a seasoned international crisis and emergency expert. As a true ‘Prac-Ademic’, he blends – also in his column “A Thought and a Smile” – his innate optimism with knowledge from his practical experience and rigorous fact-finding. 

Aside from being founder/chair of the Daily Impact Emergency Management (DIEM) network and a visiting professor in South Africa, he initiated the ’20/20 Vision’ program for the dual purpose of strengthening value-based resilience and overcoming the obstacles that stand in the way of implementing lessons (to  be) learned. Eelco has been a correspondent, written multiple books and articles and continues to work extensively with media, government, business, NGO’s and community-based initiatives. In short, Eelco is a transdisciplinary and trans-cultural multi-tasker – just like diplomats are.

Among his hobbies are cooking and playing the cello – see picture, taken by Tom Manning, during an impromptu performance with the Soweto Youth Orchestra.

Eelco H. Dykstra Professor (visiting), Adaptation and Resilience, University of South-Africa, UNISA. Chair, ’20/20 Vision’ Program: How do we go from ‘Risk’ to ‘Resilience”? Founder, Daily Impact Emergency Management (DIEM) Network

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