‘We are all here to support this region against ISIS and promote good governance, democracy and economic prosperity’, stated Janet Alberda, the newly appointed Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands during her visit to MERI on Tuesday, 29 August, 2016. Consul General Alberda, who has extensive experience as a career diplomat and has worked in several Eastern and Middle Eastern countries, visited MERI only three days after starting her new job in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
In her meeting with MERI’s President, Dlawer Ala’Aldeen, the Consul General expressed her deep appreciation for the role of independent think tanks and policy-research institutions, particularly during times of political, economic and security hardships, such as those witnessed in Iraq today. She took a special interest in MERI’s publications, particularly the Policy Reports that have been published on conflict areas, such as dispute over Kirkuk, liberation of Mosul and tackling the economic crisis. The Consul General also expressed her willingness to take an active part in future MERI activities.
Ala’Aldeen welcomed opportunities to engage diplomatic and academic institutions (think tanks and universities) from the Kingdom of the Netherlands and to collaborate on research and public engagement activities. ‘By interacting with international collaborators, we can make life better for the people of this region’, said Ala’Aldeen. ‘We would welcome future Dutch visitors, be it diplomats, politicians or academics to engage with MERI’s network of intellectuals for mutual education and exchange of visions’, he added.