Universiteit Leiden

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The UN in times of Global challenges

Thursday 18 April 2019
Turfmarkt 99
2511 DP The Hague
Ambassador Karel van Oosterom

In 2018, The Netherlands was a (very active) elected member of the United Nations Security Council. The Netherlands had the privilege of spending a full calendar year in the heat of the organisation’s kitchen, dealing with the conflict in Yemen, the situations in Syria, South Sudan, Myanmar and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, alongside a host of other issues, including, for example, the renewed discussion on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The changing dynamics among the five Permanent Members and the fickle leadership of a range of key UN Member States made 2018 in many ways a special year.

With that in mind, the Netherlands United Nations Association (NVVN), the Royal Netherlands Society of International Law (KNVIR), the The Hague University of Applied Sciences (HHS) and Leiden University decided to organise a meeting to discuss the question of to what extent the United Nations are ready and well-equipped to deal with a variety of substantive key problems of today’s world, in a context where political leaders question multilateralism and emphasize nationalism and protectionism.

The meeting will start with a keynote lecture by Drs Karel van Oosterom, The Netherlands’ Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN, and in that capacity, during 2018, Head of the Dutch delegation to the Security Council. His introduction will be followed by brief interviews with two to three commentators and Mr. Van Oosterom himself. Before and afterwards, the audience will be able to vote electronically on a number of issues in order to stimulate discussion. There will also be ample opportunity to participate in the debate.


  • Introductory remarks by Prof. Willem van Genugten, President of the Royal Netherlands Society of International Law
  • Key note lecture by Drs Karel van Oosterom, the Netherlands’ Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN on “Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Security Council 2018”
  • Interview with Kirsten Meersschaert, M.A., Director of Programs of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court and the Responsibility to Protect of the World Federalist Movement Institute for Global Policy. The names of other commentator(s)/interviewee(s) are to be announced
  • The interviews will be conducted by Prof.dr Alanna O’Malley, Chair UN Studies in Peace and Justice (HHS and Leiden University) and Dr Otto Spijkers, University Lecturer of Public International Law (Utrecht University) and Board Member of the NVVN
  • Debate with the audience, moderated by Dr Otto Spijkers and Prof. Alanna O’Malley
  • Closing remarks by Prof. Van Genugten.

The evening will start at 17:30, with sandwiches and tea/coffee. The substantive part of the programme starts at 18:30 and finishes around 21:00, followed by drinks.


Attendance is free of charge. Registration is obligatory. You may register by sending an e-mail message to info@knvir.org.

In case you are unable to attend despite your registration, you are strongly urged to cancel by e-mail.


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