Faces of Clingendael: Elvine Miala
25 Apr 2023 - 16:26
Source: Clingendael

Who are our hard-working trainers and researchers 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 Clingendael Academy Fellow Elvine Miala from Belgium. 

‘I took a bold career step. Now, working on human rights is what I like most.’ 

What is your role? 

I organise diplomatic programmes for diplomats coming from different regions and I focus on Humanitarian Diplomacy for diplomats and aid workers. Next to that, I train diplomats in debating skills, public speaking and political reporting.    

What motivates you to do this job? 

I love to be challenged. The geopolitical situation is changing rapidly and the current crises have a worldwide impact on civilians, diplomacy and politics in general. Therefore, I want to contribute in analysing and finding solutions for the changes in international politics. And I want to confront myself with many people, from different backgrounds and regions to be able to learn from them and understand the impact of those changes and crises for their civilians and diplomatic system. Clingendael is the perfect place for that. 

What are your interests besides your work? 

I’m really into nature. I like to go for a simple walk here in the Hague or backpacking abroad. I’ve been backpacking though the Balkans and Portugal for example. Columbia and Central Asia are on my wish list. 

What is your advice for young people who aspire your work? 

When you work in the world of international relations you must be open-minded and curious. When I started working at the United Nations Human Rights Regional Representation for Europe, I didn’t have any education regarding human rights. I took a bold career step. Now, working on human rights is what I like the most. It gave me confidence to constantly broaden my horizon. So, challenge yourself, and you will trigger your creativity.  

In the previous episode of this series, your colleague from the Research department Wouter Zweers asked you: ‘Do you experience any cultural or professional differences between the Netherlands and Belgium?’ 

I get this question a lot. One of the differences that I see, is in the use of words. There are so many words that we use as Belgian but that are used in completely different context for Dutch people or the words does not even exists, haha. That is very interesting, because I find myself (and I have to say my colleagues too) frowning when I do not understand my colleagues and the other way around. And yes, after 8 months working at the Clingendael Institute, the frowning is still there, haha.

Our next guest in this series is Sense Hofstede. He is a researcher at the Clingendael China Centre. What is your question for Sense?

What's still on your bucketlist to visit in China?