Maaike Okano-Heijmans is a Senior Research Fellow at the Clingendael Institute. Her main research interests are in economic diplomacy and in international relations in East Asia, with a special focus on Japan and China. A key question underlying much of her work is how developments in these fields matter to Europe, the EU and, in particular, to the Netherlands. In addition, since joining Clingendael in 2006 she has worked on consular affairs and diplomacy - sometimes referred to as 'citizen security' or 'duty of care'.
Maaike is Clingendael’s key person in the Asia-Pacific Research and Advisory Network (APRAN), working with Chatham House (UK) and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS, Germany). This three-year project for the European Commission will provide European policymakers with policy advice, specialised research and analysis on the Asia-Pacific region and on EU's relations with Asia-Pacific.
She has been teaching a module on Diplomacy and International Relations in East Asia to second-year students of Leiden University's Master in International Relations and Diplomacy (MIRD) since 2012.
Maaike is a board member of the European Japan Advanced Research Network (EJARN) and a member of CSCAP-EU (Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific), the track-two organisation promoting security dialogue in Asia. She is on the editorial board of the The Hague Journal of Diplomacy (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers), the Clingendael Spectator (Clingendael's Magazine, in Dutch) and of the International Journal of Diplomacy and Economy .
She has lived and studied in the United States (Fulbright Program student), Hong Kong (Nuffic & VSB scholarships), Japan (Monbusho Scholar) and Australia. Prior to joining Clingendael, she worked at the Japanese Embassy in the Hague. From 2008-2013 Maaike was a non-resident visiting fellow at the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy of the Australian National University in Canberra. She was granted a Canon Foundation Research Fellowship in 2013.
In 2012 Maaike obtained her PhD in Political Science from the University of Antwerp, Belgium after the successful defense of her thesis on Economic Diplomacy and the Balance of National Interests, with a special focus on Japan. She holds two Master's degrees: one in Political Science from the University of Amsterdam (2001) and another in International Relations from Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan (2003). Furthermore, she studied the Japanese language at Leiden University, the Netherlands.