Faces of Clingendael: Anouk Pronk
02 May 2024 - 10:31
Source: Clingendael

Who are our hard-working researchers and trainers and what drives them? You might have seen them in the media, explaining geopolitical topics or putting them on the agenda. We offer you a peek behind the scenes in our new series Faces of Clingendael. Today with Junior Research Fellow Anouk Pronk


What is your role?

My main focus is on migration, specifically asylum migration, within both European and global contexts. Recent projects include studying Ukrainian displaced persons in the Netherlands and conducting comparative analyses of asylum policies across various countries. We also organise events to engage with policymakers, civil society and international organisations. I particularly appreciate this practical approach, as we strive to not to be academically isolated and interact with various points of view.

What motivates you to do this job?

My motivation is to provide society and policymakers with independent information and facts from thorough research. I believe that in our society, it’s crucial to keep all issues, including migration, open for discussion. We try to approach societal concerns with an open mind. However, it is essential to continuously emphasize the complexity of migration. This rather than resorting to simplistic narratives, statements, and one-liners.

How did you specialise in this topic during your studies?

My personal academic focus primarily involved international relations and law, more specifically asylum and migration law. Migration doesn’t take place in isolation and intersects with various fields and specialisations. My legal background has really helped me in understanding the complex legal nature of for example the recent EU Migration and Asylum Pact and the UK’s Rwanda Plan.

Do you have interests outside of work?

I’ll be outside with the first rays of sunshine. I also really like the beach, I often hop on my bike and head straight for the beach after work. Recently, I've been fortunate enough to move right next to the beach, which really is a dream come true for me.

What advice would you give to people aspiring to work in your field?

I recommend specialising in a specific region or topic within the field of politics, as it can really give you an advantage over others. Once you find a topic of your interest, make sure you follow developments and complexities on the topic both in the European and the Dutch context. Try to grasp the variety of views people hold on the topic but also investigate all aspects of migration further than political narratives alone.

Gijs van Loon, our previous guest is this series, left this question for you: ‘In my humble opinion, the topic of migration focuses too much on dangers and challenges. How do you contribute to a human-centred perspective on migration?’’

Speaking about migrants in terms of numbers and policy, your research inevitably creates a certain distance. This can, however, help put things into a much needed perspective. Also when studying policies emerging from a perspective of migrants purely as a security risk, statistics can help to distinguish between political rhetoric and actual challenges. Ensuring a more human perspective, Clingendael aims to approach policy proposals from a fundamental rights perspective, both for migrants and host societies.