Faces of Clingendael: Sense Hofstede
17 May 2023 - 16:04

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 Sense Hofstede.  

''Knowing people's views helps me to give better advice to policy makers''

What is your role?

I work as a researcher with the Clingendael China Centre. I focus on the Chinese Communist Party, China’s Taiwan policy, Singapore, and the broader region.

What motivates you to do this job?

The desire to better understand the world. It is important to create policy based on people's reality instead of based on what Clingendael’s clients might project on them. Knowing people's views helps me to give better advice to Dutch and European policy makers.

What are your interests besides your work?

I read a lot, but the books I dive into are mostly work related. I would recommend 'Invisible China' by Scott Rozelle and Natalie Hell, which I think is the most important book on China right now. It is about China’s risk to fall into the middle-income trap because of the low education level in rural areas. At this moment, three-quarters of Chinese children are born in these areas, so this will have profound consequences for the country. 

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

Read all the relevant media. When you are researching China at a think tank like Clingendael, you operate between politics and public, and the latest news has a huge effect on both. Besides, journalism offers an insightful, practical and topical bridge to my more analytical work.

In the previous episode of this series, your colleague from Clingendael Academy Elvine Miala asked you: 'What's still on your bucket list in China'? 

I would love to go to the city of Nanjing, the former capital. A historical place, which is not just home to the former presidential palace, but is also located in an entirely different cultural region compared to the current capital.