Faces of Clingendael: Manzoer Gulzar
09 Jul 2024 - 15:35
Bron: 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 Academy Fellow Manzoer Gulzar.


What is your role? 

I coordinate and develop training programmes, tailored for policymakers, civil servants and diplomats. I focus specifically on European affairs and general diplomatic practice. We tailor and customise the content of our training programmes to suit the specific needs and professions of our participants. Our goal is to deepen their skills and knowledge to make them more effective professionals.

What motivates you to do this job? 

I am passionate about teaching essential skills for international politics, such as negotiation and public speaking. Standing in front of a classroom is where I am most in my element. It's incredibly fulfilling to see participants grow more confident and engaged through training, whether they're improving their public speaking or mastering the intricacies of EU decision making. 

You started as an intern at Clingendael Academy. What was that experience like for you, and how did it lead to your current position? 

I highly recommend an internship at Clingendael Academy to any student. It’s an exciting and challenging place where you have a lot of freedom. You can participate in various projects, gaining insights into many different subjects. My transition from intern to junior employee went smoothly, especially because I had practically become part of a core Academy team. I am still engaged in similar tasks as during my internship, but now with greater responsibility, allowing me to have a bigger impact and focus on aspects where I can make a difference.

 What are your interests besides work? 

I enjoy being creative, particularly drawing and painting. I sketch and use watercolours and markers. I often focus on people and nature, although I would describe my drawings as colourful and comic-like. Additionally, I enjoy playing chess with friends and watching tournaments online. 

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

I spent a year with United Netherlands, teaching students and preparing them for Model United Nations simulations. This decision led me to discover my passion for teaching. It's okay if you find yourself in a role that doesn't perfectly fit; it can be a valuable learning experience. Careers rarely follow a straight path, so stay observant, keep your goals in sight and always be proactive. Almost everyone in this field is strong in terms of knowledge and keeps up with the latest news. But what sets you apart are soft skills like effective communication, creative problem-solving and work ethic. So, focus on personal development alongside your studies by joining debating societies, committees, or taking on a leadership role in a board. 

Anouk Pronk, our previous guest is this series, left this question for you: ‘What is the most important skill for diplomats in the current strongly divided political climate?' 

In this climate, the essential skill for diplomats varies significantly. For roles involving strategic elements, I believe it's essential in to acknowledge the shift towards a multipolar world order and appreciate that its sensible for some to hedge their bets. The rule of thumb is to invest in empathy, compromises, and attentive listening while holding firm to your values and interest.