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Middle East

Read the stories of our alumni specialised in the area of Middle East here.

Milan Assies

Alumni dreams #20

Chair BAIS Alumni Association

In the first half of 2017 during his MA in International Relations, Milan Assies did an internship at the Dutch Embassy in Ankara, Turkey.

In the midst of political and economic developments, his main task was to research and write reports on the changes happening.

He is now combining master with being an International Projects Officer at the International Democratic Initiative foundation, part of the international branch of Dutch political party D66, where Milan has been active while studying BAIS.

Douwe Meuldijk

Alumni dreams #49

Douwe Meuldijk completed his BA International Studies, BSc Political Science and Honours College, all at Leiden University. Then an MA Philosophy and an MSc Political Science at Vrije Universiteit (wow 5x)!

He did exchanges at Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He also did an internship at The HEINEKEN Company in the Corporate Relations department for Africa and the Middle-East on how to enhance public position, for instance through local sourcing or assessing environmental problems. 

His goals are gaining work experience at big companies before (hopefully) doing a PhD. He considers himself well-suited for a path in national policymaking, preferably at the Ministry of Defence. 

Whatever the outcome, one thing is certain: He'll keep on studying for as long as he can permit himself to do so.

Very aspirational/inspirational Douwe!

Bastiaan Dekker

Alumni dreams #60

Bastiaan Dekker did his 3 years of International Studies with the Middle East as focus area and an exchange to Melbourne. After he followed International Law courses to gain entry to the master Public International Law at Leiden University.

Next to this Bastiaan works as a recruiting consultant for an HR company in Utrecht! He hopes to obtain his degree in 2019.

During his master he noticed that - while he does not yet have the extensive knowledge of bodies and principles of law as some students with a law bachelor have - due to BAIS he is able to apply a more critical and less ethnocentric perspective to many cases.

André Harris

Alumni dreams #86

After an active and successful study life during his BA, André Harris took a year off to organise and teach a course at Radboud University for United Netherlands (wow)!

With colleagues he organised the program and taught and coached 29 students in professional skills, international relations and Model United Nations. He had participated in the Oxford International Model United Nations and Harvard Model United Nations so he had knowledge and experience to offer.

André has returned to Leiden University to do a MA in International Relations, and after he will continue with a Master of International Affairs at Johns Hopkins SAIS in Bologna!

Here André is inspiring his audience!

Veronique Klaassen

Alumni dreams #112

Veronique Klaassen has been working, travelling and volunteering as Youth Ambassador for The ONE Campaign! She did an AIESEC project in Lebanon on women empowerment. She got to work with NGO’s and meet incredibly inspirational women such as Joumana Haddad. 

After she went backpacking for 5 months through South-East Asia and returned home for a break before starting a Spanish course in Spain. After these incredible travel experiences, Veronique will start studying again, probably either the MA International Relations or Modern Middle Eastern studies.

The way of thinking taught in BAIS, specifically the acknowledgement of the lenses through which we look, has really taught her how to be critical. This was very beneficial during her research in Lebanon where she spoke with so many different organizations, government officials and religious leaders with each their own perspective. 

Veronique believes the mix of being able to be critical but also having an open mind towards issues, has truly benefited her, she is convinced this skill will continue to be useful in the future.

Enjoy using your skill set for impact and your master Veronique!

Tariq Zaidi

Alumni dreams #136

After graduating Tariq Zaidi did an internship at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies which provides clients in the public and private sector with strategic decisions support and advice related to national, regional, and international security topics! After he began the MA in International Relations - Political Economy at Leiden, first semester has been completed.

Tariq is now wrapping up a traineeship at the Netherlands Embassy to Kuwait and Bahrain, where he has been aiding the political, economic, and consular branches! Tasks include desk research, writing 'diplomatic cables', accompanying the ambassador on visits to officials, NGOs, and captains of industry and social media management of impactful accounts. When he returns he will write his MA dissertation.

What he really appreciates about BAIS is that the degree has given him  strong general knowledge of (geo)politics, macro-economics, and cultural awareness that has improved his adaptability. The courses have also equipped him with good public speaking, research, social and writing skills that help a lot. 

Here he is enjoying himself at work, always professional and amiable Tariq! Enjoy life (in Kuwait) and see you around campus!

Clara Zavala Folache

Alumni dreams #198

Clara Zavala Folache raduated specializing in the Middle East, with an internship at the International University of Rabat (UIR) to hone professional and linguistic skills. Then volunteered at an NGO in Spain and refugee camp in Greece until offered a full-time position at UIR.

After she did a Joint MA on Intercultural Mediation and Migration in the Mediterranean at Ca' Foscari University in Italy and Paul-Valery University in France.

The COVID outbreak caught her in Cairo interning at St. Andrew's Refugee Services for legal assistance to unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. She had to return to Madrid to continue internship and thesis online. While the pandemic made it more stressful it also opened doors as she began working with the Red Cross on emergency response projects, in a center providing shelter and assistance to homeless people infected with COVID-19 and in a refugee center.

She is thankful to the BA for introducing her to Arabic (her greatest passion & challenge) and, via PRINS, to a path in international cooperation and humanitarian aid,


Clara ncourages job-seekers to not lose hope and stay positive, as new doors can open anytime!

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