On Tuesday 1 June a group of international young professionals visited NIMD as part of an exchange programme organised by the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs.
The seven visitors, all under the age of thirty-five and all from emerging economies, are visiting the Netherlands for two weeks to observe and learn about the political, social, economic and cultural diversity of the Netherlands.
The participants were recruited by the Netherlands Embassies in their home countries and are considered to be among the future leadership of their respective countries, namely: Turkey, Ukraine, China, Malaysia and Oman.
After a general presentation on NIMD’s work and on the Indonesia programme in particular, a frank and open discussion took place on the subject of the future of democracy. The differences in the political set-up in their respective countries - for example, the contrast between the fierce polarisation evident in Ukraine and the oil-based consensus-model of Oman - were also debated.
Some, including the Turkish visitor, expressed frustration with their political elite’s intransigence and isolation. The Malaysian visitor, a member of her country’s second biggest political party, the Malaysian Chinese Association, explained the model of ethnic cohabitation that Malaysian politics is based upon.
The two Chinese participants - one employed by the Chinese government, the other an independent journalist - gave opposite views on the future development of Chinese democracy.
All participants showed a great interest in NIMD’s work and enquired about the possibilities for democracy support in their own countries.
Their positive response has now led the Ministry of Economic Affairs to invite NIMD to become a regular part of its visitors programme, in which young professionals from Latin America and Africa will also participate.