Categorie Archief Activiteiten

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Report: Lecture: ‘We do not negotiate with terrorists’

On Monday 2 May, SIB-Amsterdam organised a lecture on the perspectives on resolving conflicts with non-state actors. Before discussing the content of the lecture; two starting points need to be made. First, all governments claim that they do not negotiate with terrorists. Second, all governments negotiate with terrorists. Mr. Faltas explains why; governments simply have no other choice. On the one hand, admitting engagement with terrorists entails the assumption that terrorist acts are rewarded. On the other hand, not interacting with terrorists reflects the disinterest of politicians in their own citizens. Basically, it is a nasty situation where politicians are stuck in. You almost would sympathise with them.

The speakers elaborate on how to handle this situation. Mr. Faltas explains the core principles of negotiations.  The idea behind this is that the talks needs to be effective, while ignoring the ethical aspect of it. Negotiation implies there is a dispute and the actors need to come together to an understanding. Mr. Faltas provides a list of characteristics that are relevant in the process of this, which includes: a joint effort, respect, common ground, transparency and much more. He also states that there are two types of negotiation: in good faith and in bad faith, the latter is doomed to fail. As prisoner’s dilemma occurs in talks with terrorists, a tit for tat game applies. How to solve this issue? The key answer is diplomacy. He justifies this by discussing the case of train kidnappings committed by Moluccans. The Dutch government solved this issue by inviting Moluccan communities for conversations to find out their grievances. Moreover, the government apologized to the South-Moluccans for the wrongs inflicted by government to them. Moluccans were moved by the gesture and the situation stabilized. He emphasized that diplomacy is not a guarantee that it will not happen again, but it did change something in the case of Moluccans.

In align with Mr. Faltas’s story, Mr. Dechesne agrees and elaborates on the upper hand of the pen on the sword. Especially important is to have the same language. This does not mean that we should all learn Arabic or Irish, but communicate on the same level to create a better understanding from both sides. He also addresses the complexity which comes with the label terrorist. The term creates a hierarchy between the two sides. It inflicts a process of ‘othering’ whereby the self is placed on a higher moral ground. This narrows the room for negations and subsequently decreases the effectiveness of it. Mr. Dechesne interviewed many prisoners of Daesh. Through interviewing these prisoners he came to a better understanding of the situation in living under the regime of Daesh, and people’s motivation to move to the region. He claims that by not negotiating with Daesh the West leaves a great opportunity. Like it takes two to tango; it takes two to make peace.

We had a great evening and learned a lot. Thanks to Mr. Falthas and Mr. Dechesne for the interesting evening!

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Report: SIB-Amsterdam visits Embassy of Lithuania

On 3 February DUNSA Amsterdam  visited the embassy of Lithuania in the Hague.

Ambassade bezoek 2Our visit began with an extensive explanation about the origin of most European languages and their interrelatedness. Because some evidence of an earlier held masterclass about this topic was still present in the room, the ambassador felt the urge to come up with a clarification.

After some struggles with the beamer were resolved, the ambassador started his presentation about the strategic geographical position of the Kaliningrad area. As was clear from the beginning, Lithuania’s position within Europe and its bilateral relation with Russia would be the major points of discussion that day.

A big proportion of the presentation was about the importance of the NATO. The Ambassador stressed that the NATO response force will not be enough to discourage Russia from intervening Lithuania. He tries to convince NATO to come up with a structural significant military deployment in Lithuania and other Baltic States. It was surprising that such a highly placed diplomat talked so openly and explicitly about very serious events.

Furthermore Lithuania’s energy policy was discussed. Regarding this topic Lithuania’s goal is a transition towards non-Russian energy dependency. Because Lithuania’s average price of electricity is among the highest in the EU.

Last but not least we had a little discussion about the Ukraine referendum that comes up in the near future. We agreed upon the treaty being beneficial for both parties, economically. The ambassador also stated that Ukraine needs a chance to show it’s able to come with some necessary reforms and that the association treaty can help to implement them.

After all questions SIB ambassade 1were resolved, we took a group picture together with the ambassador. The ambassador devoted an extensive amount of time to our visit, considering the fact we talked for more than two hours. Therefore we thanked him for an engaging and interesting afternoon

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Report: Lecture: Protecting Compatriots. Russian Foreign Policy & its consequences.

On January 26, SIB-Amsterdam organised a lecture on Russian Foreign Policy, regarding the protection of compatriots. Here a report of the evening!

The first speaker, Alexander Lipen, shortly discussed the history of the Soviet Union and its main difference with contemporary Russia. Lipen argued that after the disintegration of the Soviet Union the policies were influenced by Western advisors. Capital was privatized and divided amongst an oligarchy. The two questions that the oligarchy asked were: ” How can we establish authority?” and “How can we accumulate wealth?”. The answer to the first question was to increase nationalism. The answer to the second question was to assassinate anyone who disagreed.

How can we justify Russian intervention abroad? Lipen stated that this is nothing new. The West has been doing it for many years. Most international policies of Russia actually comes from Western behavior. Lipen continued to discuss three cases (Georgia, Crimea and Donetsk) in which Russian intervention is justified.

According to Lipen the uprising in Ukraine was initially against corruption and was hijacked by right winged groups. He criticized the West for being hypocritical since they have been doing this for many years, one example is Libya. Lipen continued to argue that the West lacks methods of state building. Dictators are removed but not much is done afterwards.

Lipen closed by asking what we will achieve if the West continues this war rhetoric against Russia: will it bring forward dialogue or will it create a bigger distance?

The second speaker, Marc Jansen, started by mentioning that Putin’s argument for Russia’s interference in Ukraine is that Russians and Russian speakers are being discriminated against. Jansen then stated that the issue was not about discrimination but about neo-colonialism. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Russia decided to keep expanding.

Jansen states that Russia has a concept of “Russkiy Mir”, which means “Russian World”. There is culturally nothing wrong with this concept. Similar networks exist in other countries. However, Jansen continued, it is also a geopolitical concept. In 1991 around 25 million Russians found themselves outside of Russia. That number is diminishing because of re-identification, immigration or dying out.

Jansen then stated that once countries like Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia gained independence, only the residents (and their lineage) of former 1940 were automatically entitled to citizenship. Thousands of Russians did not qualify. Russia used this as a political foreign policy tool. With the argument of “there are Russians living there”, Russia attempted to add new territory.

The concept of Russkiy Mir is very broad and can be used in a lot of different contexts. For example, Ukrainians can be seen as Russian as well.

Putin put the Ukrainian crisis in the context of “Russkiy Mir”. He stated that Russians and Ukrainians have a joint future and the Ukrainians who don’t agree are miserable banderists or even fascists.

We had a very interesting night and learned a lot. Thanks to mr. Lipen and Jansen for their participation. We hope to see you all soon at our next lecture on African dictatorships in the 21st century

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Sollicitatiecommissie zoekt lid!

SIB-Amsterdam zoekt een lid voor in de Sollicitatiecommissie!

Binnenkort gaat de sollicitatieprocedure voor het volgende verenigingsjaar van start. De Sollicitatiecommissie leidt deze zoektocht. In de Sollicitatiecommissie moet, naast een lid van de Raad van Advies en een bestuurslid, ook een “gewoon” SIB-lid plaatsnemen.  De ALV zal uiteindelijk stemmen over wie van de geïnteresseerden in de Sollicitatiecommissie komt. Uiteraard mag een SoCo-lid zelf niet solliciteren voor een bestuursfunctie.

De Sollicitatiecommissie wordt ieder jaar aangesteld om de gehele sollicitatieprocedure voor het nieuwe bestuur te leiden. Dit betekent dat zij onder andere verantwoordelijk zijn voor het uitzetten van de vacatures, de selectie van sollicitanten en het afnemen van de sollicitatiegesprekken. Deze commissie bestaat uit een bestuurslid, een RvA-lid en een ‘gewoon SIB-lid’. Dit ‘gewone SIB-lid’ zal tevens de voorzitter zijn van de commissie. Het voorzitten van deze commissie is een leuke en unieke manier om betrokken te zijn bij de toekomst van de vereniging. Voor deze functie zoeken we naar een ervaren SIB-lid met een duidelijk beeld over wat hij/zij belangrijke eigenschappen vindt voor bestuursleden en een bestuur in het algemeen.

Op dinsdag 20 januari is er een extra ALV om dit lid te verkiezen en de gehele Sollicitatiecommissie aan te stellen. De commissie zal vanaf deze vergadering gelijk actief zijn tot aan de verkiezing van het nieuwe bestuur aan het eind van dit collegejaar.  Lijkt het jou leuk om deze plek in te vullen of heb je nog vragen, stuur dan een mail naar: De deadline voor aanmelding is maandag 19 januari.

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Report: Rise of IS

On Tuesday, October 6th , SIB-Amsterdam organized a lecture on the rise of the jihadist militant group Islamic State (IS) that has seized large parts of Syria and Iraq in its effort to establish a caliphate. The actuality of the topic and the quality of our speakers resulted in long lines at the front desk of CREA and eventually into a completely packed auditorium. Even after dozens of extra chairs were brought in to accommodate the overflow, there were still some people who unfortunately could not attend the lecture and we would like to apologize to them.
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Verslag The Hague Institute

Op dinsdag 16 september hebben we The Hague Institute of Global Justice (THIGJ) bezocht in het kader van onze introductieweek met als onderwerp ‘New wars’. Bij THIGJ Hebben wij het voornamelijk gehad over de rol van het internet en de zogenaamde ‘cyber wars’. Wij werden om 15.30 ontvangen door Mevr. Sash Jayawardane (Researcher) en Dr. Joris Larik (Senior Researcher, Global Governance) en hebben een interactieve bespreking over een aantal cyber-gerelateerde zaken gehouden.
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Verslag New Wars

Op maandag 15 september, de eerste dag van de introductieweek, organiseerde SIB-Amsterdam een lezing over het concept New Wars in relatie met het gewapende conflict in Syrië. Dankzij het uitgebreide promotiewerk van de vereniging en de actualiteit van het onderwerp zat de CREA Theaterzaal nagenoeg vol.
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Het is tijd om afscheid te nemen van het bestuur 2013-2014, en het nieuwe bestuur te installeren. Dit zal gebeuren tijdens de Wissel-ALV van maandag 22 september waarop het bestuur officieel gewisseld zal worden. Het huidige bestuur zal haar jaarverslag van het SIB-jaar 2013-2014 presenteren en het nieuwe bestuur presenteert haar beleidsplan voor het komende jaar. Wees dus aanwezig om al jouw vragen te stellen over het afgelopen jaar en over de plannen voor het komende jaar.

Maandag 22 september, 18:30u (inloop vanaf 18:00u), CREA zaal 3.12

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Cinema: Weapon of War

Woensdagavond 17 september zal onder andere de SIB-Cinema plaats vinden. Op deze avond zal de documentaire ‘Weapon of War’ vertoond worden. Deze documentaire gaat over het gebruik van seksueel geweld als nieuw oorlogswapen… in de burgeroorlog in Congo. De burgeroorlog teistert het land al sinds 1996 en tijdens deze strijd zijn al meer dan honderdvijftigduizend vrouwen en meisjes slachtoffer geworden van seksueel geweld/misbruik. Seksueel geweld is een almaar toenemend verschijnsel in tegenwoordige (burger)oorlogen en daarom is het meer dan logisch dat dit onderwerp ook aan bod komt tijdens de introductieweek van SIB die in het teken staat van ‘New Wars’.
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