As part of their training at the Clingendael Academy the participants to 'het Klasje' (the 13-week course for Dutch junior diplomats) returned to Clingendael for three days to discuss their first months at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, receive further skills training, and discuss current events in international relations.
Ambassadors send video messages
On the first day of the seminar participants discussed challenges in Dutch foreign relations with Director General for Political Affairs André Haspels. The challenges discussed came directly from a number of Dutch ambassadors abroad. In a video message, the Klasje received a real challenge faced by the Dutch embassies in Moscow, Pretoria, New Delhi, Beijing, and New York.
Actual bilateral challenges
The ambassadors involved raised questions like "How can the Dutch embassy in Pretoria engage with South Africa to try and keep them in the ICC?" or "What does the election of Donald Trump mean for the relations of Europe in general, and the Netherlands in particular with the Russian Federation?" After having discussed the issues in subgroups, each subgroup presented its advice to André Haspels, who gave his opinion on the matter and engaged in a plenary discussion with the whole group.
This working form is a good example of how Clingendael Academy ties together top-level knowledge, interactive training, and current events in one challenging and vibrant session.