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 Clingendael Academy Fellow Izzy van Unen.
What is your role?
I am a trainer and coordinator at Clingendael Academy, mainly within the Peace Negotiations Programme. I provide training in negotiation skills to professionals, including groups in conflict, mediators, humanitarian aid workers, and diplomats. I also coordinate programmes for these target groups.
Wat motivates you to do this job?
My motivation is that I hope to contribute to conflict resolution. But my choice for this field of work also stems from the fact that I simply find conflict very intriguing. I want to understand why some people are at odds with each other and how you can bring about a change in that. By training parties to conflicts and mediators from all over the world, we aim to contribute to this. We teach people skills, strive to make them more confident, and help them work in a more structured manner.
Do you have many interests outside of work?
Oh, quite a lot! Reading novels, hanging out with friends, dancing all night. At home, I enjoy playing the guitar and piano and singing along. I'm teaching myself simple songs with four chords. Right now, I'm studying songs by Jacob Banks, a singer-songwriter I really like.
I would advise considering positions that may not immediately seem to lead to your dream job. Try to get your foot in the door somewhere, and persistence pays off.
What advice would you give to people aspiring to work in your field?
Getting started in the peacebuilding sector can be quite challenging at the beginning of your career, as I personally experienced. If you're facing a similar situation, I would advise considering positions that may not immediately seem to lead to your dream job. Try to get your foot in the door somewhere, and persistence pays off. I took on several internships, even outside of my academic studies. I did institutional fundraising for an NGO for a while. It wasn't my dream job, but it did add a well-known institution to my resume.
Xiaoxue Martin, the previous guest in this series, has left this question for you: Do you have an example of a skill or experience that you picked up earlier in your career that is now proving to be valuable?
What I found very valuable was my job as a tour guide in Amsterdam during my time at university. I learned to feel comfortable speaking in front of various groups from different countries.
Learn more about our negotiation and mediation trainings