Online learning: A practical option for diplomats

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                            Many people view online learning as a second choice, suitable only when face-to-face training is not possible. However, many ministries of foreign affairs are making strategic and intelligent use of online learning for diplomatic training: Canada, USA, the UK, and Mexico are among the larger ones, but the number also includes smaller states like Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago. For some training needs, online learning may be the best option, offering real advantages. Overcomes geographical challenges: Online learning allows diplomats geographically dispersed at missions all over the world, and in different time zones, to engage in learning, and to do so together with colleagues in different locations. In addition, diplomatic training academies normally have a limited resident faculty; senior officials and other experts can facilitate teaching and training activities via online learning regardless of their location, making better use of available expertise. Optimises available time: The increasing pace of diplomatic work means reduced time for training, and makes it necessary to combine work and learning. Online learning supports this kind of flexibility, allowing diplomats to study whenever and wherever is most convenient for them, without taking time off work. Capitalises on best learning methodologies: Online learning offers flexibility in selecting the most effective methodology for the type of learning objective. Technical matters, for example, can be covered through drill-type exercises (supported by multimedia). At the other end of the scale, where the learning objectives include analysis and application of knowledge (for example, learning how to plan and create a public diplomacy strategy), discussion, interactive and collaborative learning, and simulations support those objectives. Optimises use of resources: Online learning can be cost-effective. Bringing together staff members spread around the world for classroom training can be very expensive, both in terms of travel costs, and the loss of productivity due to time off work. Electronic learning materials can also be quickly shared with learners all around the world (few or many), and easily updated to reflect latest developments. Benefits the environment: By reducing the need for learners located in different places to travel in order to learn together, online learning reduces CO2 output. Views from diplomats At DiploFoundation (a training organisation which has offered online courses on diplomacy for the last 15 years) we recently interviewed alumni members about their experiences studying online, asking what were the key benefits for them. Here are a few excerpts: Ms Setaita Tupua Kalou from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Fiji enrolled in the online Master in Contemporary Diplomacy offered by Diplo and the University of Malta to meet her needs in terms of distance and flexible learning, content, availability to international students, and affordability. The online programme exceeded her expectations: I did not expect the coverage of some issues to have so much depth. The substantive course content at DiploFoundation was demystified on a number of levels by the lecturers so it was relatively easier for students to understand, yet at the same time, it pushed our traditional boundaries to expand our body of knowledge beyond our comfort zones. Read the full interview. Mr Kevon Swift, business analyst at the Ministry of Science and Technology of Trinidad and Tobago, choose the new Internet Governance specialization within Diplo‚Äôs online Master in Contemporary Diplomacy. This option offered the ideal frame for what I would consider to be my disparate pieces of knowledge about the Internet. The wide variety of courses to choose from for the online learning sessions meant that I could tailor the programme to advance my Internet studies while honing my diplomatic skills to match. We asked Kevon if he missed the face-to-face interaction of a traditional classroom-based programme. He responded: The online learning sessions are tremendously interactive, so much so that the one-hour chat sessions seem to be too short at times. While the flexibility offered by the programme was one of the deciding factors for Kevon in choosing to join, he says: The most valuable aspect of the programme has been the sharing and networking opportunities, both at the workshop and during online sessions. Participants come from all around the world and with such a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences that the learning process becomes certainly enriched at the end of the day. Read the full interview. — DiploFoundation is a non-profit organisation based in Malta and Switzerland. Diplo works with a number of ministries of foreign affairs, providing online training to supplement their in-house training programmes. Diplo also offers a Master in Contemporary Diplomacy in collaboration with the University of Malta. For more information about DiploFoundation please see www.diplomacy.edu or write to diplo@diplomacy.edu.

President of The Hague Institute for Global Justice

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By Roy Lie A Tjam Scores of international organisations have their headquarters in The Hague, a city which has long been an international symbol of¬† peace and justice. The city‚Äôs commitment to these values is more than a symbol, however, it is a mission.¬† With this in mind, The Hague now hosts a home-grown international institute which was founded in 2011 by the city‚Äôs mayor and a team of academic and policy-focused institutions. This organisation is The Hague Institute for Global Justice. The objective of The Hague Institute is to address major global justice issues and, by means of projects, to provide effective solutions with the aim of achieving lasting peace.¬†¬† The Institute uniquely focuses on the issues at the intersection of peace, security and justice, guided by the principle that security and development cannot be attained without respect for international law and global justice. The President of The Hague Institute for Global Justice Dr Abiodun Williams has been the President of The Hague Institute for Global Justice since January 2013. In his welcome address, Mayor Jozias van Aartsen, chair of the Institute‚Äôs board, referred to Dr Williams as a man with great experience, both in the field of international law and at the headquarters of the United Nations, and added that Dr Williams will be an inspiring leader for the young institute. Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State and chair of the Institute‚Äôs advisory council stated: ‚ÄėI have known Dr Williams for more than 25 years as a valued colleague and a friend. I am delighted at this new appointment. He is the ideal choice for this position and will be a tremendous asset to The Hague Institute for Global Justice. Dr Williams is brilliant, talented and an inspiring leader.‚Äô Dr Abiodun Williams is an assiduous conflict prevention expert, having previously served as a peacekeeper in the role of Special Assistant to various Special Representatives of the Secretary-General in Macedonia, Haiti and Bosnia-Herzegovina.¬† As the Senior Vice President of the Center for Conflict Management at the United States Institute for Peace, he also oversaw that organization‚Äôs work in major conflict zones such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq.. On his appointment, Dr Williams said: ‚ÄėIt is an honour to lead The Hague Institute for Global Justice which has great potential to become an internationally acclaimed think-tank, and a vital force in the challenging but essential task of promoting global peace and justice. I look forward to working with the staff, the Board and the Advisory Council to fulfil the Institute‚Äôs promise.‚Äô Dr Williams‚Äô tenure as Director of Strategic Planning in the Executive Office of the UN Secretaries-General, Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-Moon, is a particular highlight of his career. Dr Williams considers the UN to be an indispensable instrument and forum to deal properly with permutations and challenges across the world. One country which provides a tangible example of what the UN is capable of achieving in this arena is Macedonia.¬† As a result of the timely deployment of a UN preventive mission in the mid-1990s ‚Äď in which Dr Williams served – the risk of conflict in Macedonia was forestalled, even as the country‚Äôs neighbours were blighted by violence. Dr Abiodun Williams, the man Dr Williams, as well as being a peacemaker and educator, loves art, is a smartly-dressed and agreeable man; a global citizen. Peacemaker ‚Äď his mission to Macedonia was an important one and inspired his belief in the efficacy of preventive action. Global citizen ‚Äď uses his world knowledge to inform efforts to avert conflicts.¬†¬† His internationalism has its roots in his secondary education at the Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific, one of 13 United World Colleges. Educator ‚Äď he was a team teacher in foreign policy with Madeleine Albright at Georgetown University‚Äôs School of Foreign Service in the United States. He¬† often delivers speeches including, recently, at the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, the University of Leiden and at the Haagse Hogeschool. Preventing conflicts is Dr Williams‚Äôs passion and his inspiring publication, The Brilliant Art of Peace, comes highly recommended. Dr Williams holds an M.A. (Hons) from Edinburgh University and an M.A.L.D. and Ph.D. in International Relations from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, as well as the Dr Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award from Tufts University.

Beautiful Tunisia

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By Ms Zeineb Zouaoui, economic attaché, Embassy of the Republic of  Tunisia in The Hague.
Tunisia a North-African country located in the Mediterranean Sea, is one of the most popular holiday destinations for Dutch tourists. It is less than a two hours flight from Europe.
Tunisia is also well known for its golden beaches and impressive desert sceneries.
One of the beautiful white sandy beaches in the Mediterranean sea spreading along its 1 300 kilometers coasts.
It has also a rich heritage with a great diversity of ruin sites dating back to Phoenician and Roman Carthage, Byzantine era, Vandals, Medinas and also Islamic architecture. Tunisia is proud of  three thousand years of history.
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Over the centuries, the country – which was once the exclusive home of the Berbers¬†– has hosted the world’s greatest powers through its history, such as the Phoenicians,¬†the¬†Romans and the¬†Vandals, the¬†¬†Byzantines, the Arabs,¬†the¬†Ottomans and the French.
Eight sites are under Unesco World Heritage : Carthage site, The Medina of Tunis, The Amphitheater of El Jem, the Punic town of Kerkouane, The Medina of Sousse, Kairouan, Dougga and Ichkeul National Park.
Tunisia has a variety of hotels ranging from Dars (Boutique hotels properties), farmhouses, to five star hotels, nearly 50 of them offer Thalassotherapy centers (Spa & Wellness).
Tunisia is ranked as the second world destination in Thalassotherapy (Wellness). It offers a wide range of possibilities of wellness treatments.
Thalasso comes from the Greek word thalassa, which means sea, and refers to a treatment with seawater. The therapy improves blood circulation and has a very positive effect on the body and mind. Other sea elements that can be used in Thalasso therapy are alga, mud and sand.
It is also a renowned world-class golfing destination, well integrated to the international circuit and much appreciated by professionals as well as amateurs alike.
There are eleven different golf courses with ideal weather conditions throughout the year.
The South is especially best known by its beautiful and unique desert landscape.Experience the¬†Sahara¬†on the back of a camel, for an unforgettable Arabian adventure. Over shifting sands and endless dunes enjoy sand-yachting, 4×4 adventures, camel treks or horse riding, travelling through the canyons with¬†¬†seductive sunset watching through mystifying backdrop, or simply enjoy the spas or playing golf in the heart of the Sahara.
The Tunisian cuisine is influenced by the influx of different peoples. It is mainly a mix of Mediterranean dishes. Olive oil and herbs are frequently used, and Tunisian wines are known to have a tradition dating back to the Roman era together with a tradition of quality using  the best production techniques and modern winemaking. Couscous is the national dish and is served with vegetables, lamb or fish.
Discover all these treasures, experience Tunisia!

Clingendael: a national institute and a global academy

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By Barend ter Haar Thirty years ago, four different institutes in the field of international relations merged to form a new institute: Clingendael. The scope of Clingendael, both a think-tank and a diplomatic academy, working both for the Dutch and the international market, has remained very broad ever since. Clingendael ‚Äôs diplomatic academy provides training for incoming Dutch diplomats, the so-called ‚ÄėKlasje‚Äô, and for diplomats from all over the world, including the Middle East, North Africa, South-Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Iraq and Pakistan. The Clingendael Academy maintains special cooperation and partnership agreements with Indonesia and South Africa, spanning multiple generations of diplomats. The Academy furthermore provides training for officers of other ministries, personnel of the armed forces and employees of NGO‚Äôs and the private sector. Most of Clingendael ‚Äôs research fellows also work both for a Dutch and for an international audience.¬† On the national scene, Clingendael publishes the Strategic Monitor and actively stimulates a well-informed debate about Dutch foreign policy, by organising debates, providing comments to the Dutch media and by publishing brief comments. Special emphasis is given to the national debate about the EU, inter alia by means of the website: www.euforum.nl. On the European and international scene, the focus of Clingendael ¬īs research is mainly directed at energy, security, Europe, diplomacy, Asia and global governance. The results of this research can be found on www.clingendael.nl. The special interest of Clingendael in diplomacy and international negotiations is illustrated by its central role in publishing The Hague Journal of Diplomacy and in the Processes of International Negotiation (PIN) network. Among the subjects on Clingendael ‚Äės current agenda are the coming Nuclear Security Summit, the future of diplomacy and the reorganisation of the Dutch armed forces. Special mention deserve the Clingendael International Energy Programme (CIEP), a separate entity which conducts research on the international energy markets, and the Conflict Research Unit (CRU) that assists with its research the engagement of governments and NGO‚Äôs in fragile and conflict situations. The Institute furthermore publishes the only Dutch language magazine on international relations, the Internationale Spectator and houses the secretariat of the Dutch Association for International Affairs (NGIZ). Clingendael receives a subsidy from the Netherlands government, but it is academically independent. Located in an attractive park, between a Japanese garden and a classic Dutch garden, it is the ideal location for conferences and training sessions.

Going soft?

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By Richard T. Griffiths (Associate Editor Diplomat Magazine and Professor International¬† Studies, LeidenUniversity). In 1990 the American political economist Joseph Nye coined the term ‚Äėsoft power‚Äô to describe the ability of a state to attain its goals through diplomacy and persuasion rather than coercion or bribery. The European political scientists have enthusiastically embraced this concept to analyse European foreign policy and the European Union, itself, has persistently employed the concept¬† to describe and legitimise its approach to the rest of¬† the World. For the European Union (as an institution and as a collection of separate states) the operationalization of this concept has rested on several supports and we will deal with three of them: ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The preference for dialogue and diplomacy over force, ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The ‚Äėownership‚Äô of a successful integration model which inspires other nations, ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The propagation of a set of values that promoted democracy and that eschews discrimination and the abuse of human rights, Over the past several months, I have spoken in three conferences dedicated to¬† Europe ‚Äď one in Macao and in Beijing, from where I am writing this contribution. Looking at Europe, and hearing others speaking of Europe, from a distance of thousands of kilometres lends a different perspective from that gathered from reading the (academic) literature. The decision by the EU to prefer for dialogue over force would indeed be respected in Asia had it been made by choice. However, the experience of the intervention in Libya and non-intervention in Syria has made manifest two things. First, that¬† the EU is incapable of making a prompt and united response to crises on its doorstep and that when some countries did intervene militarily, as in the case of Libya, they were incapable of doing so without US strategic and logistical support. In fact the critical dependence on the United States calls into question the ability of¬† the EU to mount an independent military campaign, even if it chose to do so. The integration model, whereby countries gradually together moved through trade integration to economic¬† and monetary union, while pooling ever more areas of their sovereignty, has lost much of its gloss sincet the EU has lain in the grips of its currency crisis. The failure to take prompt and effective measures to solve the initial crisis and the deep divisions over longer-term policy have undermined the idea that Europeans controlled their own destiny. Meanwhile the persistence of the crisis and failure of economic recovery has led many¬†to question Europe‚Äôs¬† future position in a dynamic world economy. These two factors have undeniably diminished Europe‚Äôs standing in Asia and reduced its moral authority. However, the moral high-ground claimed by Europe always looked higher in Europe that it did in Asia. Europeans may have forgiven themselves their imperial¬† pasts, and many Asians have forgiven them too, but¬† that does not mean that they have forgotten. It does not play well in Asia that those who preach democracy and human rights to foreign governments had for centuries blatantly infringed them themselves. ¬† Since Europe‚Äôs problems are coinciding with the growing self-confidence in the region, the ‚Äėsoft power‚Äô model is¬†starting to lose¬†some of its shine.

Investing in Georgia

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By Shota Gvineria, Ambassador of Georgia to the Kingdom of the Netherlands When learning about Georgia one cannot escape the general assessment of the country‚Äôs progress and the reforms undertaken in so many different areas so consistently in the recent years; Georgia has been awarded as a ‚ÄúTop Reformer‚ÄĚ by the World Bank In the last decade Georgia has undertaken a significant economic reforms process that has transformed its economy. According to the World Bank‚Äôs ‚ÄúEase of doing Business‚ÄĚ ranking Georgia has risen from 112th to 9th in the world since 2004. By implementing extensive reforms to offer a business friendly environment and country‚Äôs diversified economy allowed Georgia‚Äôs steady annual growth around 6% for the last years, even during and after the global economic crisis. We are happy to observe the growing interest of the Dutch private sector in Georgian economy for last few years, which resulted in the Netherland being a number one investor to Georgia for last two years in 20011 and 2012. Recently established Netherlands-Georgia Business Council will surely contribute to further strengthening the efforts of the embassy to facilitate trade and economic relations between the two countries (http://www.ngbc.nl). Georgia‚Äôs progress and development have been highly praised by many international institutions. How did a country of 4, 5 million manage to achieve such a success? With no major natural resources to rely on, Georgia had to hold on something different; and the first step in this direction was eradicating widely spread, almost endemic corruption. Today, Georgia is essentially a corrupt-free investment destination. In parallel, Georgia has significantly limited the regulatory burden, which hampered economic growth earlier, thereby creating a more attractive economic environment for investors. A one‚Äďstop shop has been launched to expedite all business-related administrative procedures and today there is a possibility to register any business in just two days. A flexible labor rights, with the minimal state interference in employer-employee relations have been legislated. Due to abovementioned measures and most importantly introduction of the low, fair and efficient tax system to potential investors, Georgia has positioned itself as an attractive destination for foreign direct investment (4th lowest tax burden in the world after Qatar, the UAE and Hong Kong/ excerpt from the ‚Äú2009 Tax |Misery &Reform index ‚ÄĚby Forbes Business & Financial news). At the same time, two ‚Äúfree industrial zones‚ÄĚ have been established and there are already operating, offering investors the most favorable exceptional conditions for doing business (http://www.investingeorgia.org/). What is also important to know is that Georgia has one of the most liberal trade regimes; the country enjoys free trade regimes with all its regional trade partners (all CIS countries and Turkey). We also enjoy preferential trade regimes with the leading economies worldwide and have concluded negotiations of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade agreement with the EU. Georgia is seeking to attract additional foreign direct investment through making the country a unique destination for investment and offering very interesting governmental incentives in a number of priority sectors like hydro-power sector, tourism, manufacturing, agriculture. Government funds have been established to facilitate and encourage the inflow of the FDI and development of the priority sectors (http://www.fund.ge/). The combination of the above mentioned favorable business climate, government incentives and unique geopolitical location, makes Georgia an attractive and reliable regional hub and a gateway to the markets of the wider region.

Iran’s Presidential elections

By Kazem Gharib Abadi,¬†Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to The Hague. Iranians at home and abroad participated in the eleventh presidential election in the Islamic Republic of Iran, which was held on Friday, 14 June 2013, and recorded an epic turnout in determining their own destiny. The election was held after massive election campaigns and heated presidential debates exposed Iranians to various ideas and different opinions from diverse political currents and figures which as a result Dr. Rohani was elected as the new president of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The people of Iran, in light of Islamic-style democracy, rushed in utmost peace and security to ballot boxes exhibiting their political spirit and awareness in such a national event, and once again manifested their will and decisiveness to protect and defend their Islamic Revolution and the sacred Islamic establishment in Iran. Massive participation of %72.2 of Iranian nation in the election has once again indicated the strong links between the state and nation. As a matter of fact, the Islamic Republic of Iran, in view of the most recent presidential election, displayed yet another successful independent political pattern based on their combined religious and national identity with modern political and democratic mechanisms‚ÄĒa pattern which has resulted in stability, peace, public welfare and accountable governance in Iran. The result of the election which was unexpected for some outside analysts and politicians who had insisted that the Islamic Republic would engineer the elections has proved that the right of the people to select their own choices is always respected and guaranteed by the religious democracy in the country. By participating in this election the peace-loving people of Iran expressed, with enthusiasm, their interest in developing friendship, cooperation and dialogue with civilized nations and states across the world. The hope that respect to shared human values and interests in view of a high spirit for cooperation would lead to the formation of a world without threats and intimidation and full of welfare, and spiritual and material perfection. As it was declared, Iran’s newly elected president will follow a “path of wisdom and hope, justice and enhancing mutual trust between Iran and other countries on the basis of mutual respect.” The real message of the president elect to the international community is that we have common interests, joint goals to promote peace, security and tranquility in the region and the world.  

Wikipedia and battle of words in Egypt

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 By Mar√≠lia Maciel, DiploFoundation Political disputes usually take place in multiple and simultaneous battlefields. One of them is the semantic universe: the winning narrative about a controversial fact tends to be predominant in public perceptions and in History books. Therefore, it is understandable that actors invest resources on crafting particular expressions or on making them resound in the collective conscience. In Egypt, the deposition of Mohamed Morsi triggered an ongoing debate on how to label it: was it a coup d‚Äô√©tat or a revolution? ¬†The importance of this question goes beyond national politics. It affects the international legitimacy of the current government and it also impacts on concrete policies, such as international aid. The White House and other governments did not take a clear stand on the issue, but if a dominant narrative emerges, they might be compelled to do it. Politicians usually focus their attention on traditional media to identify these emerging trends on public discourse. Interestingly, this time some analysts have also  http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/07/07/the_wikipedia_war_over_egypts_coup called attention to the lively debate taking place in the backstage of Wikipedia about the title of the article ‚Äú2013 Egyptian coup d‚Äô√©tat‚ÄĚ. The attention raised to the discussion in Wikipedia is not misplaced. The platform is currently the  HYPERLINK “http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page” seventh most visited website worldwide. Many professionals use Wikipedia as a first source of information when they begin their researches on a given topic. In addition to that, unlike traditional media articles, which become old and fade from our memories in a few days, Wikipedia articles are easily retrievable and may have a long lasting repercussion, as they are indexed in the most popular encyclopedia of our time. The outcome of the debates in Wikipedia may have a concrete impact on public discussions, but it is still unclear to many how Wikipedia works. Three core policies establish the framework for the platform: verifiability, no original research (NOR) and neutral point of view (NPOV). The first two are deeply related. Wikipedia is not a platform to share innovative ideas or the outcome of original thought. Its articles should be a summary of the known and relevant information about a given topic, supported by verifiable sources such as books, published academic works or media news. The Neutral Point of View policy means that all opinions about a particular topic should be fairly represented. The discussion of rival opinions should contain no sympathy or bias. Some discussants in Wikipedia argued that the use of the word ‚Äúcoup‚ÄĚ in the title of the article about recent events in Egypt is neutral and factual because sources, such as The Oxford English Dictionary, describe a “coup d’√©tat” as an “illegal seizure of power from a government” and most legal analysts agree that this description matches the events that unfolded in Egypt. Other members of the Wikipedia community affirmed, that the title of the article violates NPOV because there is no predominant view on the matter. For the past few days, public opinion and media articles seem to be shifting towards the narrative of a coup and governmental  HYPERLINK “http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/19/uk-revokes-arms-export-licenses-egypt” violence in Egypt has contributed to that. Consequently, Wikipedia editors decided to keep the current title, which mentions a coup d‚Äô√©tat, at least for the time being. Wikipedia discussants will have no problem in finding sources to support whatever view they affiliate themselves to. Traditional media channels, for instance, have made their preferences for the word ‚Äúcoup‚ÄĚ or ‚Äúrevolution‚ÄĚ very clear from the start. Governments, on the other hand, have avoided taking a clear position. They know the potential political and diplomatic pitfalls of trying to pre-assess the legitimacy of a government. Moreover, the geopolitical importance of Egypt cannot be overlooked. For all that, the words used by particular governments or media channels to refer to recent political events in Egypt are important, but they do not necessarily point the way for achieving neutrality in Wikipedia. At least two conclusions can be drawn from this case. The first is that many of the issues that split opinions in society will also be controversial in platforms such as Wikipedia. However, the enforcement of clear policies like NPOV and the existence of constant peer review create incentives to produce balanced Wikipedia articles. This kind of pressure seems to be missing in traditional media. Wikipedia is, therefore, filling a gap and being increasingly regarded as a relevant source of information. The second conclusion is that, in spite of its growing importance and astonishing popularity, this platform has been practically absent in assessments of the public opinion and in strategies for public diplomacy. Paying attention and contributing to Wikipedia could be particularly  HYPERLINK “http://www.diplomacy.edu/blog/wikipedia-diplomats-tool-information-and-public-diplomacy” relevant for diplomats, professionals who use words as key instruments to produce international reality and who always need to look at a picture from all sides. MariliaM@diplomacy.edu

EU WELCOMES CROATIA

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Ten¬† years after Croatia applied for the EU-membership in 2003, it was welcomed as the 28th Member State of the European Union on July 1st, 2013. In celebration of this historic event a tree planting ceremony took place on the Malieveld in The Hague, in the presence of Members of Parliament, Ambassadors and many other dignitaries. Ms. Ren√©e Jones-Bos, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was the first to hold a speech, followed by the Mayor of The Hague, Mr. Jozias van Aartsen and Her Excellency Ms. Vesela Mrden Korac, Ambassador of Croatia. During her speech Ambassador Mrden Korac underscored the tremendous complexity of the negotiation process regarding Croatia‚Äôs accession to the EU. She gave a brief description of the process, mentioning the 12 years of formal procedures, the negotiations with 27 member-states, 400 opening and closing benchmarks, 160.000 pages of aquis, 6 progression and 3 monitoring reports. The Ambassador expressed her particular gratitude toward the Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans. Minister Timmermans had travelled to Zagreb to celebrate Croatia‚Äôs accession to celebrate¬† the EU with¬† Croatian colleagues and citizens. As the Dutch Music Band ‚ÄúAlle Trossen los,‚ÄĚ played the Anthem of Europe ‚ÄúOde to Joy,‚ÄĚ based on Beethoven‚Äôs 9th Symphony,¬† Ambassador Mrden Korac planted the tree, together with Secretary-General Jones-Bos and Mayor van Aartsen. The tree joined 27 other trees on the Malieveld, symbolizing the 28 EU-member states.

The start of International Clients: banking for expats

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By  Daniel Poot, Preferred Banker International Clients, ABN AMRO. Den Haag. The launch of something new is always very exciting. Hence, the start of the diplomatic magazine online is a wonderful idea and ABN AMRO believes this is an unique platform for diplomats to acquire relevant information and subsequently for the entire international community in The Hague and the Netherlands. This launch brings me back to the start-up of the ABN AMRO International Clients Desk in January 1992. Just after the merger between the ABN Bank and Amro Bank. This international desk was started mainly to service the embassies and the International Court of Justice. The goal was to help you find the best way to do your banking in a new and foreign environment. A lot has changed since 1992. The Hague became more and more the City of Peace and Justice. In 1993 the start of the ICTY later to be followed by other organisations like ICC , Europol,  Eurojust and many more followed. In addition, large multinationals have settled in The Hague as well like Shell, Q8, CB&I and more recently APM Terminals and Aramco. Obviously many diplomats, expats and other international employees have moved to The Hague and most of them became familiar with the international desk of ABN AMRO. On July 8th this year ABN AMRO also launched something new. The bank started a campaign to promote all of the ABN AMRO international desks in The Netherlands. Besides our desk in The Hague, we service international clients in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and starting August 1st, also in Eindhoven. If you are looking for advice on payments , insurances, mortgages, savings or investments, we ABN AMRO has a team of specialists who can service you. And did you know that ABN AMRO also serves international clients living abroad with a variety of products? We do service international clients worldwide. Finally, we have a full English website, English internet banking and English mobile banking. Interested? Check out our new website, go to www.abnamro.nl/expats  and you will see what we can do for you!