Together with members of SIB-Leiden, SIB-Groningen, and SIB-Utrecht, SIB-Amsterdam went to the Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael. Clingendael is an independent think tank and diplomatic academy which studies various aspects of international relations. Every year, around 2,500 international professionals from over 60 countries participate in courses at the Clingendael Institute.
In September Clingendael starts its 73rdCourse International Relations (LLB), which will get young professionals ready in 12 weeks for an international career. Alumni from LBB can be found at embassies, at the UN, NGOs, in politics, and in international business.
We were at Clingendael Institute on the invitation of Nils de Mooij, a training and research fellow at the Insitute, but above all a former SIB member! De Mooij was going to give us a training in negotiating.
He started with giving us a small exercise, which aimed to explain the importance of procedures during negotiations. The next assignment was to come up with a definition of International Negotiations. At the Institute they use: a process of communication between two or more parties that aims to reach a mutually acceptable agreement that satisfies their interest. The mutual acceptability forms a key to reach the goal of satisfying each other’s interests. In this process, it is of absolute importance not to show the other party your mandate (how far you can go). Furthermore, it is important that parties can deliver a deal which is acceptable: if the other party can only deliver a non-acceptable deal than there is no deal. It is, thus, crucial that parties find out what the bottom line is. Before you start negotiating, parties should be aware of their BATNA: Best Alternative To a Negotiated Deal. BATNAs are critical to negotiation because you cannot make a wise decision about whether to accept a negotiated agreement unless you know what your alternatives are. By setting out your BATNA, you will have a clear position during the negotiations. De Mooij provided us also with some tricks which you use during negations.
After learning the theory behind negotiating, we were given some exercises to apply our newly acquired knowledge in practice.
After the negating session was finished, we made a picture in front of the manor house of the Institute.
Last Monday, SIB went to the Palestinian Mission in The Hague. At 11 o’clock we entered the premises and coffee and tea was offered to us. After a few minutes the Head of Mission, Mrs. Rawan Sulaiman came in and welcomed us. She started with introducing herself and told us something her personal life and how she became Head of Mission.
After that, she started telling about the current situation in Gaza. On Thursday, a memorial would be held at the Mission, for all the victims and the dead caused by Israeli violence in Gaza.
Mrs Sulaiman was very delighted hearing that the ICC prosecutor opened a preliminary investigation into alleged crimes committed by the Israeli army in occupied Palestinian territory. Furthermore, she was glad that the Prosecutor had released a Statement in which said: “any new alleged crime committed in the context of the situation in Palestine may be subjected to my Office’s scrutiny”. Mrs. Sulaiman emphasized that the crimes committed by the Israeli forces should not go unpunished and that justice should prevail.
Having discussed the recent events, Mrs Sulaiman started explaining the broader political scope of the Mission. A two-state solution between Israel and Palestine should be reached fast. Although the fact that Mrs. Sulaiman is an optimistic woman, she was not very hopeful that this would happen anywhere soon. The asymmetrical relation between both parties, by which Israel is occupying Palestine, is the reason for that. The growing numbers of settlements on Palestinian territories is not an indication for peace, according to Mrs. Sulaiman.
Furthermore, the occupation imposes a heavy cost on the economy of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which might otherwise reach twice its current size. A report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) noted that: “Fifty years have passed since Israel occupied the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem; five decades of de-development, suppressed human potential and denial of the right to development, with an economy incapable of employing one third of its workforce and featuring extremely high unemployment among women and youth“.
Finally, Mrs. Sulaiman pointed out that the Netherlands can play an important role in the conflict. The Netherlands is an important player within the EU and since it is a member of the Security Council it can do even more. The Head of mission hopes that the UN will do more to help the Palestinian people, but she is afraid that nothing will come out of the Security Council, because the United States has a veto.
At the end, there was a lot of room for questions, especially relating Palestinian refugees. Some people even told about their personal experiences with individual refugees. Mrs. Sulaiman explained that the Palestinian Mission can help these people and they should contact the consular section.
After an interesting session at the Palestinian Mission, we went to Café Dudok for a nice cup of coffee.
On Monday 5 March, SIB went to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The event was organized by the Committee for External Activities (CEA). The OPCW is an intergovernmental organisation with 192 Member States. It oversees the global goal of permanently eliminating chemical weapons.
Jianwei Wang, a political researcher at OPCW, gave us a tour through the building and provided us with lots of information. The tour started at the Executive Council Chamber. The Council’s aim is to promote the effective implementation of, and compliance with, the Convention. It has 41 members and in order to ensure the Council’s effectiveness, it is constituted with due regard to the principle of equitable geographical distribution, the importance of the chemical industry, and political and security interests.
After that, Jianwei showed us the Nobel Peace Prize, which the OPCW won in 2013 for their “extensive work to eliminate chemical weapons”. The Norwegian Nobel Committee stated i.a. that: “the conventions and the work of the OPCW have defined the use of chemical weapons as a taboo under international law. Recent events in Syria, where chemical weapons have again been put to use, have underlined the need to enhance the efforts to do away with such weapons.”
Next, we went to a conference room where we received a lot of information about the structure of the Organisation and its current missions. Jianwei explained to us that the work of the OPCW consists of four pillars: Demilitarisation, Non-proliferation, Assistance & Protection, and International Cooperation.
Especially the current situation in Syria and the mission in 2013, which led to the destruction of Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons, had the group’s interest.
After the session was finished, we made a nice group picture at the OPCW.
On Thursday 21 September, the CEA organises a visit to the Greek embassy. We have a meeting with the Greek ambassador, H.E. Mr. Dimitrios Chronopoulos, in the morning at his residence in The Hague. There are only a limit number of places available, so note this date in your agenda and keep an eye on our Facebook page at the end of August for the details of this visit and the application form. Hope to see you there!
On 25th of January, SIB-Amsterdam will visit the Israeli embassy in The Hague. Here, the ambassador will speak to us about the Israeli-Dutch relationship, Israel’s position in a changing political climate and tell us more about the role of the embassy in the Netherlands. Even more, there will be plenty of time for us to ask all the questions we have always wanted to ask.
We will learn about this ánd more during our visit on 25th of January, so come and join us!
You can now sign up through this form: https://goo.gl/forms/yj1U8INbttk0QEXs2.
There are a few important to notice before you take part in this event:
It is possible to travel with SIB-Amsterdam to The Hague. We will leave from Amsterdam Central station around 12:15 pm. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hope to see you the 25th!