Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bert Koenders: From SAIS to the Ivory Coast

Bert Koenders attended SAIS Bologna in 1979-80 and received his master's from SAIS DC in 1981.

Yesterday he was named Special U.N. Representative to the Ivory Coast.

Koenders's path from SAIS to the Ivory Coast is unusual -- each of us carves out a unique place in the world -- but he shares much in common with other SAIS alumni.

Here are some of the courses he took at SAIS Bologna before moving on to SAIS DC where he concentrated in African Studies:
  • International Monetary Theory
  • Core Course: Evolution of the International System
  • Modern Italian Politics
  • Core Course: America and the World since 1945
  • Postwar European Political Economies
Bert Koenders
Those courses, or adaptations thereof, are still taught in Bologna. Generations of SAIS Bologna students have benefited from these courses. Three of his former professors still teach here.

You can get a feel for Koenders's achievements here. He has been a cabinet minister in the Dutch government; worked on peace initiatives in Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan; served with the European Commission, and chaired parliamentary groups tied to the World Bank, the IMF and NATO. I've left a lot out in the interest of brevity.

Closer to our home, Koenders taught conflict management at SAIS Bologna between 2000 and 2002. You can read a profile of him here in La Rivista, a SAIS Bologna magazine.

“We cannot be an island of wealth when there are poverty and conflict-stricken countries like Sudan. We cannot be environmentally irresponsible when environmental destruction and degradation go hand-in-hand with poverty," he told the magazine.

Candidates often -- and rightly -- ask what kinds of jobs they might get after finishing SAIS.

How about politician, professor, peace negotiator and diplomat?

Nelson Graves

No comments: