Fostering dialogue is at the heart of The Hague Institute’s mission. The pursuit of peace and justice is, at its essence, an enterprise which depends on breaking down barriers. In our own work, not only does this mean that our research is interdisciplinary, building on the academic backgrounds of our experts in law, political science, international relations, sociology and natural sciences, it also means that we seek to bring together representatives of different sectors to engage in discussion. Given the global challenges of the twenty-first century, reaching out to new partners in this way will be crucial to solving collective problems.
The Hague Institute provides a platform for informed analysis to reach a wider audience, and for ideas to be exchanged between policy-makers, business leaders, civil society leaders and academics. In 2013, we have made significant strides towards developing the Institute’s expertise in this regard.
This spring, we launched The Hague Roundtable Series, which seeks to provide an informal off-the-record setting for leading experts to discuss issues of contemporary relevance. Subjects to date have included migration and global justice, illicit financial flows, sustainability and natural resources and the situations in Mali, Egypt and Georgia. Roundtables are not only an opportunity for cross-fertilization of ideas, but they also result in policy-relevant recommendations, presented through The Hague Institute’s new policy brief series.
Such informal settings are of vital importance as the art of diplomacy develops. A recent article in a leading Dutch newspaper, NRC Handelsblad, commented on this phenomenon, highlighting the importance of fora where diplomats can exchange information with all those who contribute to the work of modern diplomacy.
“ The seminar circuit, like at the new Hague Institute for Global Justice, a think tank in which ‘classic diplomats’ and others from the ‘international city of peace and security’ that The Hague wants to be, come together.”*
Good ideas deserve a hearing not only from insiders, but also from the wider public. It is with this core belief in mind that The Hague Institute launched, in fall 2013, aDistinguished Speaker Series, which provides a platform for world leaders, notable thinkers and other inspirational experts to engage with the community of diplomats, academics, entrepreneurs and international legal experts here in The Hague. The series has already covered humanitarian affairs (Sir John Holmes), migration (Peter Sutherland) and 21st century security (Admiral Jim Stavridis) and will continue with discussions on Europe (Joschka Fischer) and sustainability (Jan Peter Balkenende) in 2014.
The Institute has established itself as an organization which produces ideas and analysis of relevance to the international community, but also seeks to provide support to policy-makers here in the Netherlands, an important actor in world affairs. That was the rationale behind the Institute’s recent Inside View series, which examined the effectiveness of Dutch foreign policy. The dialogue was bipartisan and illuminating. It was another example of the value in convening those who do not always see eye to eye, and opening up debate as widely as possible.
The Hague Institute will continue to bring together ‘thinkers’ and ‘doers’ with the aim of ensuring the best ideas find their way into the policy process. In such a way, we will contribute to strengthening the international framework for preventing conflict and fostering peace.
*Hague Institute translation from the original Dutch.
Source: Steketee, Hans. (2013, November 17). Diplomantenstad Den Haag. NRC Weekend, p. 26.