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ByWeb editor SIB

Mundunsa in Madrid

Mundunsa in Madrid

Members of SIB Amsterdam who participate in the MUN and Personal Development Committee of SIB Amsterdam “MUNDUNSA” visited Madrid to participate in Harvard WorldMUN, the Olympics of Model United Nations. This is their experience.

Last week Mundunsa spent 8 days in Madrid to participate in Harvard WorldMUN 2019. Harvard WorldMUN is the Olympics of Model United Nations. It is the most premier simulation of the United Nations, held in a different city each year. At such simulations, students pretend to be a country in the United Nations debating and negotiating with other students in a committee of the UN to agree (or not) on a resolution. MUNDUNSA got to represent the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

On a grey and drab Friday morning the members of Mundunsa were arriving at Schiphol Airport to take the plane. The conference wouldn’t start until Monday, but we decided to take an extra weekend to explore Madrid and prepare for the conference. We were hosted at “The Hat” in Madrid, a trendy hostel right off Plaza Mayor with an excellent rooftop terrace. We were welcomed with blue skies and a temperature of 22 degrees Celsius. Not bad after weeks of rain, wind and grey skies in the Netherlands.

During the weekend our delegates were busy preparing their speeches and strategies for the coming time. However, for those up for it there was also time to explore the city and visit sights such as the Royal Palace, the Prado Museum and some even went on a hiking trip to the Sierra de Guadarrama outside of Madrid. We all got to enjoy the great food of Spain and the amazing hospitality, helping to prepare us for the conference. On Sunday, the first social activity of the conference already started with a club night.

The conference began with a rather chaotic process of registration as certain delegates were not yet fully recovered from the night before. There was a gap between registration and the opening conference which already led to the first round of lobbying and socializing between delegates before the conference had started. There were intense security procedures and screening as the opening conference featured a range of prominent speakers. These included the Mayor of Madrid, the Minister of Education (also a former astronaut) and notably the King of Spain.

Then the conference fully began. Many of our members were in “General Assembly” committees with 150 countries, each represented by two delegates. One is supposed to be in the committee debating aspects of a topic and a resolution while the other is outside of committee lobbying and writing a resolution. While before the conference some had been slightly disappointed with being Afghanistan – hoping for a more prominent country – this disappointment soon abated when our delegates saw that others were representing the Marshall Islands, Equatorial Guinea or the Holy See.

In between days of debate and lobbying – which were intense due to the academic level and the sheer size of committees – there were nights of social events. These included Global Village – where different countries showed off their culture. Quite often this came down to their local variety of hard yet cheap liquor. There was also Cabaret Night where different delegations showed off dance performances from their respective countries.

In the end the delegation had a good time and found training for and participating in WorldMUN to be a great experience that they learned a lot from. Furthermore visiting Madrid and meeting delegates from across the world was fun. MUNDUNSA is currently looking towards future MUNs to participate in. Do you want to train your debate and negotiation skills while travelling the world and meeting people from different culture? Keep up to date with our activities and send us a message at mundunsa@sibamsterdam.nl

ByWeb editor SIB

Our Geneva Trip!

Our journey began on Monday, in the early morning. Seventeen motivated students – all suited up –travelling to one of the most important cities in international relations: Geneva! The trip was organized around the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) eCommerce week 2019, but it ended up much more extensive than that.

After a relaxed flight and a quick stop at the hotel to drop our luggage, we started with a visit to the office of the International Committee of the Red Cross (the ICRC). After a short introduction movie about the work of the ICRC, a presentation was provided by Robert, Head of the Project Management Office. The Red Cross is divided into three different layers. The National Red Cross, the Federation and the ICRC. The ICRC is only applicable in armed conflicts and other situations of violence. The main goal of the ICRC is to protect and assist victims of war and to prevent violations of the law on war by educating governments and other parties. The ICRC is neutral, impartial and independent. That is, in my opinion, the main reason why the ICRC is allowed entrance in so many conflict areas. The ICRC does things its own way. The organization does not provide evidence to (criminal) courts. It is solely there to protect the war victims. The personnel do not carry guns. Nor are they being protected by UN peacekeepers. In the last six years, the ICRC has grown immensely. It now faces challenges because of the new digitalized world. New, modern technologies – such as artificial intelligence and a huge digital database – are now part of the organization. We were very impressed by the ICRC and all the important work it does in the world. Since we had some time left before our next visit, we decided to have lunch in the restaurant at the ICRC. With a clear sky, a nice temperature and a beautiful view on the Palace des Nations, it was also time for some (maybe a little bit to many) photos.

We soon continued our trip to another very interesting institution, located in a beautiful palace: the World Trade Organization (the WTO). The visit began with a tour through a part of the building, provided by Fernando, Press Officer. He brought us to an impressive conference room, where all the 164 Member States have a seat at the table. Representatives have a seat across each other, the first step to creating a dialogue. There is also room for observers; countries who haven’t entered the organization yet, but who are interested in following the work of the WTO. After the tour and (again) some pictures, we were provided a presentation in a small conference room. The WTO was installed in 1995 through the Treaty of Marrakesh. Member States gave up a part of their trade sovereignty in order to make sure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible. If parties can’t reach an agreement about a trade issue, the rulings of the WTO are binding. With the recent issues around trade in the world, we had plenty of questions for Fernando. Impressively, he was able to answer all of them. Again a very interesting institution, with a huge impact on the trade developments in the world. We closed day one together at a café restaurant called Scandale. A cold beer and great pizzas sure gave us new energy. All ready for day two: a day at the Palace des Nations!

We started day two with a few hours of free time. We met in front of the Palace des Nations at noon. We were accompanied by Tristan and Mariana, two interns from the UNCTAD Youth Team. They provided us with a tour through the gardens of the Palace des Nations. It was time for some pictures again! After that, we attended a High-Level Dialogue at the UNCTAD eCommerce week. The Dialogue was themed ‘From Digitalization to Development’. Representatives of various institutions took part in the conference, such as the African Union and the World Bank. The session was presided by Mukhisa Kituyi, the Secretary-General of UNCTAD. E-Trade for all, that is his main goal. There’s a digital divide that’s creating inequality, between countries but also within countries. This week’s goal is to make sure everyone profits equally from digitalization. Access to internet is still not guaranteed in some of world’s developing countries, while the internet is ‘the oxygen of eCommere’. Not only governments need to take action to make sure everyone profits from digitalization, also Digital Media Platforms have a responsibility. It was an informative and interesting session, with impressive delegates from the different institutions.

 

After all this new information, it was time for some food. Since two people we met separately recommended to have dinner at the Lake View and Fondue, there was no other choice for us than to have dinner exactly there. It was located on the peer at the Geneva Lake. Surrounded by the smell of melted cheese, we had a nice fondue dinner. After that, it was time to explore Geneva’s nightlife. We had some beers at a local pub and our star darts player Julie even got to play a game!

The next day was the final day. After a quick breakfast, it was time for us to go to the World Health Organization (WHO). We were provided two presentations there, an introduction to the WHO and a presentation on the eradication of polio. The WHO has 194 members, one more than the UN. The institution provides service to its Member States on health issues. The WHO sets norms and standards concerning health issues (for instance around vaccination, travel advice and policy on snake bites). The personnel of the WHO assist Member States in emergency situations (such as epidemic outbreaks, natural disasters and war). One of the latest outbreaks the WHO had to deal with (and still does), is Ebola. It go the chance to spread so quickly, because of many reasons, one of which is the difficult access to health care by the people of the countries who were struck by the epidemic. One of the successes of the WHO is the Polio Eradication Initiative: it went from 350.000 cases of polio in 1988 to 33 reported cases in 2018. There are three types of Polio, from which two have already been fully eradicated. Polio only exists now in Afghanistan and Nigeria. Over the past years, the WHO has vaccinated many children. WHO personnel and volunteers knocked on many doors and stood at the boarders of countries in order to vaccinate as many children as possible. With result, we can now conclude. This was, again, a very interesting visit at an institution that does a lot of good in this world. It was especially interesting for Isabelle and Femke, our two participants studying Public Health Sciences. They had the opportunity to ask many questions, from which we all learned a lot.

Our second visit was at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR). We were provided a presentation by Masiha, an Associate Human rights Officer. The OHCHR leads global human rights efforts and speaks out objectively in the face of human rights violations. It also assists governments and individuals on subjects related to human rights. Masiha works in the department of Woman’s’ rights and Gender Equality. After a short introduction of the work of the OHCHR, we had the opportunity to ask questions around the topic of human rights. It was especially interesting for our law students.

The final visit of our trip, was at UNICEF. We met with Sohini, who provided us with a presentation about UNICEF. It began with an introduction about UNICEF and the work it does in the world. The organization was established in 1946 to provide short-term relief to children in the aftermath of World War II. It became a permanent part of the UN in 1953. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (the CRC) forms the bedrock of the work of UNICEF. UNICEF works in 190 countries across the world. It advocates for the protection of the rights of children, the fulfillment of their basic needs and the expansion of opportunities to meet their potential. UNICEF also responds in emergency situations. After the introduction, Sohini gave us an insight of her career. She is currently working in the Private Fundraising Division. Sohini started her career at UNICEF in 2008, working at a regional office in India. She made efforts to bring back the number of cases of child marriages and school drop outs by girls. By setting up a system by which parents receive money if their daughter finishes high school or university, UNICEF influenced the lives of twenty million people. At UNICEF, we noticed the connection between the various institutions we visited throughout these three days. For instance, the WHO and UNICEF work closely together when it comes to vaccinations. And the ICRC, the WHO and UNICEF work together in war areas. Sohini closed her presentation, saying that if you work in the field, it’s okay to sometimes lose the fight, as long as you win the war. Sohini is an extraordinary woman, who had a huge impact on the lives of children.

After this final visit, it was already time to go home! We look back on a very interesting trip with a great group of students. We met many impressive diplomats and got the chance to visit many of the interesting institutions located in Geneva. See you next year, Geneva!

ByWeb editor SIB

Masterclass: 40 years of Revolution in Iran

On the 4th of March, we had a masterclass on the Islamic Republic of Iran. The speaker during this event was a freelance photographer, journalist, and Iran expert Reinier Zoutendijk. Interestingly, Mr. Zoutendijk visited our events during his student time. For this masterclass, he sought to answer three questions: (1) “why is it important to study Iran and the Iran-deal in its broader context?”, (2) “what is the impact of the US withdrawing from this deal?”, and (3) “how has this influenced Iran’s international reputation?”.

Mr. Zoutendijk started the evening with a very short history of Iran. Before the Islamic Revolution, Iran was ruled by a monarch (the Shah) from 1953 until 1979. During this period, the monarchy saw a period of industrialization and centralization of power. In sum, the Shah had eliminated almost every part of society. Before 1953, the country was ruled by a Prime Minister. This was Mossadegh and he got ousted in a coup by the British and the Americans, who reinstalled the Shah. The reason for this coup by the Western powers was due to their dissatisfaction of the nationalization of the Iranian oil industry.

The second topic was the security doctrine of Iran. Iran deploys the concept of “strategic loneliness” as it sees itself surrounded by enemies. During the Iran-Iraq War, all Arab countries except for Syria supported Saddam Hussein. However, Iraq lost and right now, Iran is repaying its dues to Bashar al-Assad in Syria. The overall strategy of Iran’s security doctrine is to maintain territorial integrity and sovereignty. But, Iran’s military capability is limited. Nevertheless, they have sufficient capabilities and, in addition, apply asymmetrical warfare to protect their borders. The missile program also belongs to these capabilities.

This program together with the nuclear program of Iran was cause for concern for the West. The (Five) Permanent Members of the UN Security Council together with Germany and the EU negotiated a deal that was popularly known as the Iran Deal. It was supposed to regulate the nuclear program of Iran and reintegrate the country into the international community. When Trump became President, he unilaterally retreated from this international deal. But why?

The deal, according to the International Agency for Atomic Energy, was followed to by Iran. The measurements to monitor and control the nuclear facilities of Iran are very high-tech that even include biometrical protection measures. In other words, it is almost impossible for Iran to not adhere to the deal without the IAEA knowing it. However, even though the deal was watertight, the US retreated from the Iran Deal due to its foreign policy of isolating Iran.

The result was an economic crisis that heavily hit Iran. Nevertheless, according to Mr. Zoutendijk, it is not the economy that the Iranians worry about. The Iranians fear a crackdown by the government, especially when the moderate candidate and incumbent president Rouhani loses the upcoming elections.

So what are the Europeans and the Chinese doing? They are busy with setting up a payment method that bypasses the almighty US dollar. Because that is just the problem for the Iranians to engage in international trade: international trade is often conducted in US dollars and the Americans hold tight control over the payments and transactions that are made in US dollars. Thus, by setting up a parallel network that allows for international trade to be done in Euros or barter-like trade, the Europeans and Chinese are trying to circumvent the American grip on Iran. However, this trade is limited to only food(stuffs) and medicine.

In the end, the Iran Deal and political affairs surrounding Iran are very complex. There are many dimensions that all differ in importance and level of cooperation. The current status of the Iran Deal is not necessarily one that is a defeat. Nevertheless, without American support, the Europeans and Chinese are not able to do that much. America still dominates the world and Iran, sooner or later, has to find a way to integrate into the international community again.

— Mehmet Emre Demirkiran, member of the Committee Intellectual Activities

ByWeb editor SIB

Top vakanties voor studentenprijzen!

Top vakanties voor studentenprijzen!

Je zal vast heel vaak horen dat je moet genieten van je studententijd en alles moet doen wat je leuk vindt. Toch heb je als student altijd dat ene probleem; een klein budget… Erg leuk al die tips als ‘geniet van je vrijheid’ en ‘ga lekker veel op reis’, maar hoe kun je met een klein budget toch vaak op een mooie zonvakantie gaan? Dat is slechts een kwestie van flexibel zijn en je ogen open houden!

Beste aanbiedingen

Op zowat alle social media kanalen kun je verschillende accounts/bedrijven volgen die de allerbeste vakantiedeals verspreiden. Dit is al één van de mogelijkheden om op de hoogte te blijven van de beste vakantie aanbiedingen. Kijk bijvoorbeeld eens bij VakantieDealz.nl! Ook kun je natuurlijk zelf goed op zoek gaan naar jouw ideale vakantie. Let wel op dat de beste aanbiedingen vaak gelden op slechts enkele specifieke data. Om dus te profiteren van de beste reisaanbiedingen, is het belangrijk dat je flexibel bent qua vertrekdata. Als student is dit in principe niet altijd een probleem… Wel zorgen dat je genoeg aanwezig bent bij je verplichte vakken he?!

Last minutes

Over flexibel zijn gesproken; boeken en binnen een paar weken vertrekken. Last minutes zijn ideaal om als student van te profiteren en voor een lage prijs te genieten van een top vakantie! Dus wil je echt goedkoop op vakantie naar een mooie bestemming? Zorg dan dat je flexibel bent en op veel data kunt vertrekken. Zo vergroot je de kans op het scoren van een top aanbieding! Maar wanneer is een vakantie nou echt een last minute aanbieding? Dit is niet precies te zeggen, maar de meeste aanbieders houden vast aan vertrek binnen zes tot acht weken. Houd dit dus goed in je achterhoofd voordat je begint met het zoeken naar jouw ideale vakantie.

ByWeb editor SIB

Excursion to the OPCW

On January 15th SIB-Amsterdam went to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague. The OPCW is the implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC or Convention), which entered into force on 29 April 1997. Currently the OPCW has a total of 193 member states and one member state (the United States of America) that is currently in the process of destroying their owned amount of chemical weapons. Under the nation states that did not sign the convention are North-Korea, Israel, Egypt and South-Sudan.

SIB-Amsterdam’s excursion to the OPCW started around 9.00 for most participants, who took a shared train from Amsterdam to The Hague, while others traveled separately and joined the group later. The visit started off at 11.00 with a quick tour through some of the halls and rooms of the building, during which the Nobel Peace Price (2013) was admired. Many participants took the opportunity to take a picture. After the tour the group was brought to a separate room and after a short informative video, a representative for the Political Affairs of the OPCW gave us some insight into the structure and way of operating of the organisation. After this introduction there was an opportunity to ask questions. The topics of the questions varied from topics as excluded nation states and the likelihood of them signing the CWC, to the judicial capabilities and the possibility for repercussions in the case of chemical weapons being used in any of the member states. Among the topics discussed were also different attacks in which chemical weapons have been used, such as in the Syrian Arab Republic and The United Kingdom. During this, the element of fear and the difference between chemical weapons and military weapons was also pointed out. The group gained some understanding about the difficulties of having a comprehensive insight into and control over the amount of chemical weapons that are stored, as nation states themselves are responsible for reporting the amount of chemical weapons owned and due to the fact that member states do not necessarily have insight into the amount of chemical weapons that non-state actors (such as terrorist groups) hold. Interesting to hear was also that the OPCW does not have the competence to do an independent investigation about the amount of chemical weapons being stored in a specific nation state until chemical weapons have in fact been used, after which a ‘’fact checking mission’’ will be initiated. The conversation was an interesting opportunity to learn more about the actual way of operating of an international institution as the OPCW and it’s admirable effect on the minimal use of chemical weapons worldwide.

After the visit the group enjoined some drinks in a café downtown, during which the consequences of the learned information was discussed. SIB-Amsterdam is grateful to the OPCW for its time and hospitality in receiving us and the organisation’s contribution in minimizing the use of chemical weapons worldwide.

ByWeb editor SIB

SIB Lecture: Yemen – the forgotten war

The 7th of January marked the first SIB lecture of the year 2019. The Committee of Intellectual Activities chose to focus on something that many of us forgot during the past years and did not fully understand the implications of. The topic was Yemen and its forgotten war. For instance, did you know that the war in Yemen is the most severe humanitarian disaster at the moment? Even more than the Syrian conflict on which we receive daily news reports on the fighting and refugees fleeing the region.

The speaker of the evening was Dr. Marina de Regt. She is an Associate Professor at the Free University of Amsterdam and specializes in South-South relations. That is, she focuses on the relations between non-Western countries with each other. Her PhD dissertation was about her involvement in long-term projects in Yemen. Therefore, she knew quite a lot about the past, present, and answered questions about the future.

Dr. De Regt started with a brief introduction of the country. Her own experiences formed the basis of a presentation of how beautiful Yemen actually is (or was before the war). Pictures of long-stretching scenes and mountainous terrain amazed the audience. Following this introduction, a brief history of Yemen and the different republics (North and South) together with the socio-political and socio-economic aspects were discussed. South Yemen was a republic aligned with the Soviet Union and therefore held progressive views on life, but poorer than North Yemen. The North, in turn, was culturally more conservative and discoveries of oil made them richer than the South.

This laid some foundations for the current conflict with different actors fighting for different rights. While there are some foreign interventions, the conflict at its core remains Yemeni. The former President, who was an adversary of the Houthis, somehow found a way to align with the Houthis in the hope to regain control over the country. This alliance did not survive for long as that President (Saleh) tried to engage into talks with the enemies of the Houthis. After discovering this engagement, the Houthis murdered President Saleh. Hopefully, the current cease-fire will hold and the western port town of Al Hudaydah will experience some relief.

Lastly, it was inspiring to see some Yemeni refugees in the audience. People who were actively engaged through NGOs or who had a revival of their hope after seeing over 110 people listening to Dr. De Regt. They remain the victims of the conflict and giving them a little bit of hope is something that the Committee was honored to do.

-Emre Demirkiran, member of the Committee of Intellectual Activities

ByWeb editor SIB

Mundunsa in Hamburg!

Last weekend Mundunsa went to Hamburg Model United Nations where they spent four days representing a country in a mock session of the United Nations. This is their experience!

In the early morning at the Flixbus Station at a rainy and dreary Station Sloterdijk the delegation of Mundunsa was gathered for the bus to Hamburg. After a long bus ride to Hamburg – an opportunity for several delegates to sharpen their knowledge of the topic they would be discussing and the country they would be representing – they arrived for the opening conference, which hosted a speaker from NATO that was flown in by the organization. After the obligatory speeches and pounding of the hammer, the Mundunsa delegates were off to their different committees.

Committees

Kevin represented Botswana in the Economic and Social Committee. The main topic of the conference would be trade for which Kevin came prepared. Referring to Smith and Ricardo he addressed the committee often. Botswana might be a small country but within a MUN each vote counts for the same and Kevin made his vote count! Denis was representing Ethiopia in the United Nation Office on Drugs and Criminality (UNODC). His perspective was unique bringing the experience of his country with Khat-abuse to the table and he was instrumental at drafting the resolutions.

Hannah was in the United Nations Environmental Program. For most of the conference they discussed water scarcity, a very relevant topic for the country she was representing: Australia. While the committee might have agreed that it’s a problem, she often found herself disagreeing about the possible solutions. Konstantin and Liora were both in the European Council representing Lithuania and the Czech Republic respectively the main topic being migration. Both weren’t happy about the idea of reforming the Dublin Regulations and having to host more migrants. For a short period, Konstantin changed countries when Greece didn’t show up. When Greece (a day and a half too late) did eventually show up he graciously changed back. Both did extremely well in maintaining the Dublin Regulations as much as possible.

Two of our delegates were in a bit of a different committee: a crisis committee. This is a committee with less rules, focused on responding to a (historical) crisis with more personal freedom. Delegates represent a person and not a country. The goal is not to draft a resolution that reflects your views the most but to advance your personal goals the most, if necessary by bold-faced backstabbing. Bas was in the Austrian Cabinet during the Second Schleswig War playing a Hungarian noble. Thanks to his efforts Hungary erupted in revolution against Habsburg rule which led to him being expelled to Prussia. Jared was the main general of the Roman Empire: Aetius, defending against Barbarian invasions and the impending fall of Rome.

Socials

In between committee sessions there was plenty of room for social activities. On 3 out of 4 nights Bas managed to eat hamburgers in Hamburg. Every evening there were social activities ranging from a pub crawl through the historical city center of Hamburg, to a silent disco in a nightclub on the Reeperbahn [If you feel the Amsterdam Red Light District is dirty and shady, try visiting the Reeperbahn – Patrick], to a very fancy black-tie ball, ironically held in the left-wing anarchist squat neighborhood of St. Pauli. The social elements of the trip contributed to several delegates having to do dances or read out verses from Fifty Shades of Grey as punishment for coming in late.

Results

Liora – one of our more experienced delegates, having earned her stripes at MUNs organized by Oxford and Harvard students – won a best delegate award in the European Council, leading the block of Eastern European countries into negotiations with the rest of Europe and managing to get a favorable resolution passed. No small feat in a committee where all decisions can only be passed unanimously. Denis got an honorable mention for his performance as Ethiopia in UNODC, being instrumental in drafting the resolution. In a committee with over 40 delegates and having never done a MUN before this is incredibly good.

Jared in his crisis committee also got a best delegate award using his language and problem-solving skills to help protect the Roman Empire from a barbarian invasion – at least temporarily. At one point he even had a rap battle with a Barbarian King. With two best delegate awards and an honorable mention our delegation has performed well in the awards, but it must be emphasized that all our delegates did extremely well, Bas and Jared doing crisis for the first time, and with the exception of Liora and Konstantin (who did it at high school before) all other delegates doing MUN for the first time. We are looking forward to our next MUN in Madrid. After this registration opens again and many in the current delegation are looking to Tel Aviv as a possible MUN destination this summer.

We couldn’t be prouder of our delegates and their hard work. On the bus ride back to Amsterdam few delegates were be able to keep their eyes open.

ByWeb editor SIB

Dies Natalis

On Saturday the 13th of October, we celebrated the 38th anniversary of SIB-Amsterdam. Thanks to the CSA, it has been a successfull evening. They have managed to serve three delicious, culinary dishes. After dinner, we went for a drink at Café Ons. Thanks for joining us!

ByWeb editor SIB

Visit to the American Embassy

On the 28th of September, SIB-Amsterdam visited the U.S. Embassy in the Hague. We were welcomed by the U.S. Cultural Attaché, who talked about his career path and the functions and organization of the Embassy. After 45 minutes, Pete Hoekstra arrived and, after a short introduction, told us we could ask him any question and he would answer at the best of his capabilities. After discussing his way to the top and his most common tasks (like creative tweets), we started the dialogue on the topic of digital diplomacy and how the US embassy strategizes on the digital media platforms. Shortly after, we came to an important topic for U.S. foreign policy: NATO and the fact that the Netherlands, together with other countries, is not honoring the deal by contributing to less according to the Ambassador. We followed the money trial towards the ‘unfair’ Chinese market and trade, and of course the climate with the U.S. leaving the Paris Agreement.
Something the ambassador and the U.S. Embassy are quite proud of, is their investment in students. For example, they invest in the exchange of future world leaders between the U.S. and the Netherlands (and other countries). He also stated the upcoming entrepreneurial summit, which according to a SIB member could use more student input. The ambassador loved this plan, and after the whole dialogue, was thankful full our input and dialogue contribution. After all, he took over an hour to talk to us. We enjoyed the visit. It was an honor that the cultural attaché and the ambassador allowed us to visit and took so much time of their schedules for us.

ByWeb editor SIB

Brussels Introduction Weekend

On the 14th of September, SIB Amsterdam departed from Sloterdijk station for the traditional trip to the capital of the European Union, Brussels. The introduction trip has already an established role inside the association, as it brings together old members with prospective ones, and gives newcomers the opportunity to discover both facets of SIB: the professional and intellectual side, ready to transform bright and curious youngsters into young adults with a deep knowledge about international relations, and the lively and inviting side, unable to say no to a challenge or a good party.🎉
The trip thus began in typical SIB fashion, with a packed group of people hurrying from Brussels North to the first activity on the list, VNO NCW, in formal attire and suitcases sliding rapidly on the pavement. Once there, we were introduced to two of the employees and one intern of the organization, that shared with us the process and challenges undertaken to represent the Dutch businesses’ interests in an international climate. Afterwards, we went directly to another lobbying firm, FleishmannHillard, where we amongst other things discussed more in detail the particular challenges faced when representing a client in the health sector, while also putting emphasis on the ethical side of the dealings. What followed was a walk among the European institutions, followed by a delicious meal at Café Novo and the indispensable beers at famous Delirium bar in the centre of Brussels. What better occasion of getting to know each other?
We started the next day early in the morning, equipped with rich coffees, and headed for a walking tour that included some of the best touristic spots in Brussels, such as the Manneke Pis and Grote Markt. Next, the traditional introduction game brought us to Grand Place, where we separated into small teams and spread through the city, in a quest that challenged our imagination (and French skills😉). We spent the last evening in one of the most fun bars of Brussels, Le Corbeau, and ended the night in Au Quai, an underground club that played a cool mix of electronic music and French rap, that oozed talent and good vibes!
The last day brought about a mix of activities that people could freely choose from, such as a visit to the Parlamentarium, the Atomium, the Palais de Bruxelles, or a laid back afternoon taking advantage of the international comic book festival in Parc de Bruxelles and the sports festival in Parc du Cinquantenaire.
So, if you’re considering joining SIB, you want to visit a city that offers the best mix between professionalism and boisterous activities, or you simply are into meeting a diverse group of people, be sure not to miss “Brussels 2019”!