Tropenmuseum expands its photo collection

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The Tropenmuseum commissioned Anoek Steketee to photograph an remarkable phenomenon in Indonesia: ‘plesiran tempo doeloe’. A new leisure activity in which men and women, young and old, recreate aspects of the colonial past by dressing in period costumes and role play. This commission is the first in a series in which the Tropenmuseum invites leading contemporary photographers to respond to the historical photo collection of the Royal Tropical Institute. http://www.tropenmuseum.com/-/MUS/5341/Tropenmuseum

Ambassador Karabaranga present credentials at OPCW

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By: Willem Versteegh, Communication Expert at Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda. On Wednesday October 9, 2013 Ambassador Jean Pierre KARABARANGA presented the credentials letters to the Director General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons/OPCW Ambassador Ahmet Uzumcu. Ambassador Jean Pierre was accompanied by Minister Counselor Guillaume KAVARUGANDA. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is an intergovernmental Organizations located in The Hague. The Organization promotes and verifies the adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention which prohibits of the use of chemical weapons and requires their destruction. The organization is not an agency of the United Nations but cooperates both on policy and practical issues. The headquarters were officially opened by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands on 20 May 1998. During their discussion Ambassador Jean Pierre KARABARANGA informed the Director General of the OPCW that the Republic of Rwanda does not possess chemical weapons and assure him the willingness of the Government of Rwanda to cooperate fully with the OPCW Secretariat in eradication of the chemical weapons worldwide. Ambassador KARABARANGA informed him that Rwanda has a national law dedicated specifically to the chemical weapons. He emphasizes that the Rwandan National Police and other relevant institutions has received proper trainings to deal with the use of chemicals weapons in case of need. KARABARANGA reiterate the need to work together to avoid that Chemical weapons gets in hands of terrorist groups. On 30 April 2004, Rwanda becomes the 162nd State Party to the OPCW. At that time there were 40 African countries that were Member States in the said Organization. As of today 190 countries are members of the OPCW. Rwanda joined the OPCW together with Sao Tome and Principe, Cape Verde, Libya and Chad. On the 12 May 2011, Rwanda acceded to the Executive Council of the OPCW until May 2013. The Executive Council consists of 41 members who are elected by the Conference of State Parties for a term of two years. On 1st – 3rd November, 2011- The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Technical Secretariat carried out a Technical Assistance Visit (TAV) to Rwanda. The Director General thanked the Rwandan Government for their tangible results in the promotion of the total elimination worldwide of chemical weapons.

MUSICA, symphony orchestra based in DH

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Musica is an amateur symphony orchestra based in The Hague with over 70 very enthusiastic members and an inspiring young conductor. Twice a year we give concerts in The Hague; weekly rehearsals take place at the Vrije School, Waalsdorperweg 12, The Hague, on Tuesday evenings from 7.30 – 10.15 pm. We take our music seriously but social gatherings are equally important, such as the annual BBQ at the beach and the chamber music evening at the beginning of the year. Expats have regularly found their way to our orchestra. They enjoyed playing with us and we enjoyed having them! See for yourself what they said about their experiences at our website www.musicadenhaag.nl (homepage, under “english”). logo Musica Would you like to know more about Musica? Would you like join the orchestra? Then why not come along to a rehearsal, so you can experience the atmosphere and the music we play. We are especially keen to hear from viola players and double basses. Please contact our Secretary at mail@musicadenhaag.nl or telephone: +31-(0)70-3262460. We would like to invite you to our summer concert with Musica’s Chamber Orchestra. Saturday the 22nd of June Musica will give a concert in the Maranathakerk (2e Sweelinckstraat 156, Den Haag), starting 08.15 pm. Please find hereby the flyer. We hope to see you!

The Dutch: Direct or Blunt?

By Bonnie Klap.  Having interviewed dozens of Ambassadors over the past two years, I think it is safe to say, that I have some idea what the general impression of many diplomats is  of the Dutch.  What struck me, was their  recurring remark about the Dutch:  “The Dutch are very direct.”  Now what exactly was the underlying message of this remark? Was this a subtle way of telling the Dutch that they are  a little too straightforward, perhaps even a tad rude? Surprisingly all the Ambassadors who discussed this topic,  admitted that they were, at first, a bit taken aback by this bluntness, if you will, but over time they  even came to appreciate this unique character trait, although it must have been nothing short of a ‘culture shock’ from time to time. Especially for people from the Far East   this way of personal interaction must have taken quite some getting used to,  as their own customs require careful and extremely polite interaction  with each other.  An example: a person from the Far East  would never bluntly  say “No,” if he or she disagrees, but would carefully craft a tactful answer, going to great lengths not to hurt the other person’s feelings, but at the same time getting across the same message. So what is the conclusion here? Are the Dutch constantly stepping on toes with their direct behavior and making the foreigners in general and diplomats in particular  feel awkward in doing so? The answer might surprise you. While the many diplomats who experienced  this directness, admitted being a bit bewildered at first, later on they genuinely came to value this trait. To underscore my  point,  allow me to quote an excerpt from the interview I did for the Wassenaarse Krant  with Mr. Paul Arkwright,  the former Ambassador of the UK to The Netherlands, who has since returned to his country. “The Dutch can also be very direct. They are blunter than the British, but as a diplomat, bluntness saves time. Sometimes, if I have little time and want to speed up a meeting, I say: ‘I want to be Dutch now,’ meaning that I give short, clear answers. Having been a diplomat for 26 years, I can be as polite and longwinded as necessary, but sometimes I borrow the Dutch way  to get on with it.” End of quote by, then, Ambassador Paul Arkwright. So I repeat my question: Direct or blunt? You tell me!  

IWC’s Lecture

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By Karin O’Flynn, President IWC.  International Women’s Contact The Hague looks into European History in a lecture  about the role and influence of Royal Dynasties at the beginning of the 20th Century.   IWC Guest Speaker, Malcolm Ewans , is passionate about history and enjoys delving into  topics that are controversial and not always part of standard history books. In former meetings he unfolded   the “Shakespeare Conspiracy “ or  questioned the “Wagner Cult” In his presentation “The Royal Sunset” he shows in a truly entertaining way, connections between different European Royal families at the start of the 20th and how this influenced politics at the time. His talks are full of astonishing facts, his theories are always backed up by clear facts and his interpretation of history thought provoking. An interested audience of about 140 IWC members and their guests , al l ladies  with an international background , followed his lecture with pleasure and had a lively discussion afterwards Monthly lectures on a wide range of topics reaching from art, over history , science and much more , are only one activity on the program,  the International Women’s contact has to offer . Special interests groups meet for excursion, sports and many other activities. The International Women’s Contact, with more than 300 members representing around 50 different nationalities,   is a social club, that promotes cultural understanding and exchange. For more information on the current program browse through the IWC website. www.iwcthehague.nl. New members are most welcome.          

Dutch King Visits Russia: Diplomacy, Tension and the Media

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By Mitesh D. Mistry – Diplomat Magazine’s Associate Editor in the United Kingdom Dutch King Willem-Alexander and his wife Queen Maxima arrived in Russia on Friday 8 November for a visit aimed at celebrating the two nations’ historical ties that date back 400 years; a momentous occasion which can be celebrated by the international community. When we look back at the history between the two countries, it becomes clear just how significant and historic the relationship is. Whilst on his tour of Western Europe during the 17th Century, Peter the Great visited The Netherlands and worked with Dutch maritime experts to establish the Russian Navy. This cooperation between Peter the Great and the Dutch signaled the start of a long and prosperous diplomatic and military relationship that continues today. However in-light of recent events in The Hague and in Moscow, many would not have imagined the two statesman’s greeting  and welcoming each other – let alone standing in the same room. With all this tension and diplomatic stress being reported in the media across the world, surely it was not a good idea for King Willem-Alexander and President Putin to meet. The reality is this; the idea of resolving conflict through diplomacy, mediation and discretion is more effective than shifting the blame; and unfortunately some media institutions worldwide fail to acknowledge this. The culture of  ‘yellow journalism’ has grown so much that now the idea of having formal and peaceful discussions to ease tensions seems to have been underestimated or forgotten. Therefore it is important for the media to emphasize the positive aspects of diplomacy and in this case, King Willem-Alexander’s visit and President Putin’s warm welcome. It is due to this celebratory visit and the cooperation of both men that the 400 year-old Dutch-Russian relationship will continue to thrive – despite small occurrences that nudge tensions. At Diplomatic Magazine, our primary aim is to promote diplomacy. We understand that the role of the media is to inform the public of global events. We also feel that though it is important to acknowledge the negative aspects of diplomatic relations, it is more important to celebrate the positive aspects of diplomacy and what it can achieve. The Dutch-Russian relationship has evolved through diplomacy and without it, Russia and The Netherlands would not be the countries that they are today; highly developed, historical and cultural nations who play a vital role in the global arena. Although we cannot shy away from the recent events that have maybe ‘soured’ the Dutch-Russian relationship and increased tension, at times like this it is important to remember the historic diplomatic ties between the two countries and how, despite two World Wars and the rise and fall of different Government regimes, the relationship continue and grows stronger every year. King Willem-Alexander’s visit and President Putin’s warm welcome towards the Dutch royals is not only a sign that diplomacy is the best method of resolving conflict, it is surely a testament to the 400 year old history that lives on today and rightfully so, is being celebrated in Russia and The Netherlands.  
* This is the official position of Diplomat Magazine’s Editor in the United Kingdom, Mitesh D. Mistry.
     

Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Merite

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Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Merite, November 5th 2013 By Nicole H. PIERRE.  On Tuesday 5th November 2013, His Excellency Pierre Ménat, French Ambassador in The Netherlands, welcomed approximately 100 guests to his residence to witness the awarding of “Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Merite” of Jean-Luc Marcillaud. This honor, which is granted by the President of the French Republic, was bestowed onto Mr. Marcillaud for his dedication to the French and Francophone culture. Apart from his professional activity as an informatic specialist at the EPO in The Hague, Jean-Luc Marcillaud is also president of the association “Entente Francophone”, as well as “Affoi”.  Ambassador Ménat decorated Jean Luc Marcillaud’s left breast with a medal adorned with a blue ribbon in the presence of his wife, his family and a few close friends. The evening was complete with cocktails, speeches by both His Excellency and Mr. Marcillaud, and a toast to officially commemorate this honorable event. http://www.ambafrance-nl.org/-Francais

Interview with Dr. Paul Micallef

By Bonnie Klap.  The historic “Huis Schuylenburg,” the stunning 18th century residence of His Excellency Mr. Franz Josef Kremp, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, makes for a beautiful setting to interview Dr. Paul Micallef, the partner of Ambassador Kremp. We are having  coffee in the yellow room, as I ask Dr. Micallef who is a Clinical Psychologist by profession to tell us a bit more about himself. “At the moment my life seems to be all about juggling balances trying hard to fulfill the responsabilities I have. With our recent arrival in The Hague there is a whole new bunch of exciting responsabilities and challenges linked to helping manage the residence, getting to know so many new people, and supporting the Ambassador in his role. Then, there is my profession and work,  which in recent years evolved into consulting and advising companies and businesses on matters linked to well-being, leadership, and organisational  development.  My special interest is in helping employees experience higher levels of satisfaction, pride and motivation whilst performing better and producing more. Then I have two elderly parents living in Malta and who require a lot of care and attention right now. This adds to the expectations and concerns, and requires some travelling as they are there and I feel obliged to support them. Basically I feel like I’m juggling three jobs on top of my own personal life and wish to settle down here in The Hague, discover the city, make new friends, and enjoy The Netherlands. Regarding Huis Schuylenburg: “Naturally it is a privilege and an honor to live in such a beautiful and remarkable house but it comes with a price tag so to speak, one which people perhaps don’t fully appreciate. A historic house like this requires constant attention and upkeep, and there is the staff that also needs looking after and attending to.” It is a remark often heard among foreign Diplomats who are posted in The Netherlands: The Dutch are very direct. What are Dr. Micallef’s experiences in this respect? “While I was at University in the UK one of my best friends was Dutch so I was introduced to the so-called ‘Dutch directness’ many years ago and we have kept in touch ever since so I got used to it in some way. I have also visited The Netherlands several  times both as a tourist and visiting friends who lived, or live, here. So that helped me to appreciate the directness. Moreover, because of the close and interesting relationship that exists between The Netherlands and Germany this whole issue of directness is not so new to the Germans either”. It is evident that Dr. Micallef has a very busy life. How does he like to spend his free time? “We love  to travel and the Ambassador’s main hobby is history so when we travel together, it’s a great combination. I rarely need a guide book and it’s like having my own personal guide.  European countries are great destinations because of their rich histories. We find that relaxing.  I also love reading but unfortunately I don’t have enough time to do so much of that. Because of my work and the sometimes disturbing stories I hear, I usually escape into fiction. In terms of sports I like swimming and Pilates, two activities I got into because of back problems which with time have actually become part of my life and routine.” As Dr. Micallef is so well-travelled, I ask him how many languages he speaks? “I grew up bilingual speaking Maltese and English but I also learned  Italian, French and Arabic at school. In Malta, Classical Arabic used to be a prerequisite to go on to higher secondary and tertiary education, so there was a time when we had to study Arabic too. Sadly, not anymore and when you’re young you don’t really appreciate such “gifts”.  And then of course German became very important especially when I became German too. Today I am really glad I learned  some languages especially because of our strong links to diplomatic life!”

Georgia Minister visits the Netherlands

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Direct from the Embassy of Georgia.

Announcing the next visit of the State Minister of Georgia on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Alex Petriashvili to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, 7-8 November, 2013 the State Minister of Georgia on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Mr. Alex Petriashvili will be visiting the Netherlands. The main focus of his visit will be Georgia EU relations in the particular scope of Eastern Partnership initiative and the milestone Vilnius EP summit.

In the framework of the visit, besides the high level bilateral meetings, there are several public events planned. On November 7, the State Minister will give a lecture “Georgia’s political association and economic integration: Stability and Security in the EU’s Eastern Neighborhood”, at the Leiden University Campus (LUC) the Hague. The event is organized jointly with the LUC the Hague and will take place at 14.15-16.00.

On November 8, Minister Petriashvili will participate in the high level strategic session organized jointly with the Hague Institute for Global Justice. The discussions will apply to and highlight the issue of “Georgia’s Association Agreement: Stability and Security in the EU’s Eastern Neighborhood”. The event will take place at the Hague Institute for Global Justice at 11.00-12.30. On the same day, Mr. Petriashvili will participate in the seminar “The Vilnius Summit: Brussels versus Moscow?”  The seminar is organized jointly with the Clingendael Institute at takes place at the Clingendael Institute on November 8, 15.30- 17.30.

Good Governance and Rule of Law

New curriculum on Good Governance and Rule of Law. By Cecile Meijs, General Manager The Hague Academy for local governance. How to restore legitimacy, security and effectiveness of institutions after violent conflict? This is the key question that will be addressed in the new training curriculum ‘Good Governance & Rule of Law in Fragile States: statebuilding from the bottom up’, organised by The Hague Academy for Local Governance and The Hague Institute for Global Justice. The programme seeks to contribute to the knowledge and skills of people working for governments, NGOs and international organisations in fragile and conflict affected states. The challenges for countries affected by war, mass conflict or natural disaster are numerous. First of all, they need to restore legal order and access to justice and re-establish human security. Furthermore, basic services such as water and sanitation, health care, roads and housing must be reconstructed. Inclusive socio-economic development is necessary to create new perspectives for citizens, including youth and vulnerable groups. Finally, government accountability and trust between government and citizens should be increased to promote citizen participation, social cohesion and peaceful settlement of conflict. To increase security and rule of law, institutions at all levels need to be aware of their leadership role and responsibilities. In the immediate aftermath of war they should bring about some measure of stability, to reassert the state’s monopoly on the use of violence and to send a strong signal that crimes cannot (or no longer) be committed with impunity. It will generally be necessary to engage with government institutions at central level and particularly the security sector. Yet, in many post conflict countries, particularly in rural areas, the central government and judicial institutions remain distant and detached from local realities. It is equally important therefore, that local authorities and (traditional) leaders, who are in much closer contact with citizens, are involved. The newly developed curriculum addresses the challenges of institutions in fragile and conflict affected states in a comprehensive, multidisciplinary six-week programme. Here, participants will discuss roles and responsibilities as well as practical tools for implementation and cooperation. The local context and experiences of the participants are the starting point for discussions with international top experts and a variety of interactive exercises. Participants will receive state of the art knowledge derived from the latest research findings and analyse practical cases from countries such as DR Congo, Burundi, South Sudan, Afghanistan and Libya. The curriculum is organised in The Hague, city of Peace and Justice, from 20 January to 28 February 2014. For more information about the content and the application procedure, please visit http://thehagueacademy.com/blog/2013/09/new-training-programme-good-governance-and-rule-of-law-in-fragile-states/. You can also contact programme manager Nienke Vermeulen at: nienke.vermeulen@thehagueacademy.com.