Government and civil society: a complimentary relationship (inRoads)

This article was published in inRoads, Women’s Aid Organisation’s quarterly newsletter.

Group photo

Participants of the Dutch Visitors Programme, March 2013.

At the end of March this year, I was fortunate enough to be invited by the government of the Netherlands to participate in the Dutch Visitors Programme. Along with seven young women and men from other countries, I spent ten remarkable days in the Netherlands learning about international law and peace, human rights, and Dutch society, history, and culture.

As a soft diplomacy initiative, the programme was undoubtedly a success. An evaluation exercise asked participants to rate their emotional attachment to the Netherlands on a scale of 1 to 10, before and after the programme, where a higher number corresponds to higher emotional attachment. The average rating shifted from around 3 to around 7.

One reason for this positive shift, for me at least, was Continue reading