Below you will find blog entries on SID events, written by people in SID NL’s network

11 November 2013 // 2013-2014 Series on ‘Dispersed Power in a World in Transition’// Benjamin Barber on The Increasing Power of Cities

An impression by Soukeyna Gueye

Have you ever thought how the world may change for the better if mayors, our “urban homeboys”, were to rule the world? I certainly haven’t! It was therefore with great curiosity and interest that we welcomed Dr. Benjamin Barber. Dr. Benjamin Barber discussed his last book, “If Mayors Ruled the World”, where he presented his views on the importance of increasing powers of megacities in the light of the SID umbrella topic, “Dispersed Power in a World in Transition”. Read more…

An impression by Anouschka van Immerseel

‘Urban Agglomerations’, such a complex concept in Dr. Benjamin Barber’s lecture title ‘Increasing Power of Urban Agglomerations’, that he feared it would deter many from coming. Urban agglomerations, he told us, are nothing more and nothing less than cities. With this little humorous remark and clear explanation at the same time, he set the tone for what turned out to be an entertaining lecture about the increasing power of cities. Read more…

An impression by Siphephile Nzimande

The passionately delivered talk on Increasing Power of Urban Agglomerations by Dr Benjamin Barber did not only leave the audience with an interesting assortment of questions, but also with the realization that cities are rising up. Mayors are taking charge and are successfully solving large scale cross border problems, while the national states remain in a position of dysfunction. Read more…


28 October 2013 // 2013-2014 Series on ‘Dispersed Power in a World in Transition’// Renu Modi on South-South Alliances and Triangular Cooperation

An impression by Carolina Gomez

What was the best way to enjoy your Monday evening and protect yourself against the worst storm reaching Netherlands in 23 years? The answer is attending the remarkable second Society for International Development (SID) lecture on “Dispersed power in a world in transition” series, given by Professor Renu Modi, on “South-South alliances and tri-angular cooperation”. The lecture was an outstanding way to continue September’s discussion on how power is changing and the global challenges related to this transformation, especially as the so-called “emerging powers”, are taking over the scene of global politics. The auditorium atmosphere expressed the lecture attendees’ enthusiasm to better understand south-south cooperation, and how and if it can be considered new. Read more…

An impression by Michael Guindon

Not even a windstorm could stop a group of approximately 50 people from attending the second instalment of the Society for International Development’s (SID) lecture series at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam on Monday October 28th. Dr. Renu Modi, a senior lecturer, from the Centre for African Studies at the University of Mumbai was the speaker for the evening. She provided a very powerful lecture, which highlighted the emergence of south-south alliances and triangular cooperation among nation states. Read more…

23 September 2013 // 2013-2014 Series on ‘Dispersed Power in a World in Transition’// Jan Aart Scholte on Geo-politics and Changing Power Relations

An impression by Stephanie Ragghoe

A warm late September afternoon in the warmly lit auditorium at the VU University Amsterdam with a very diverse audience filling the 200-odd seats as the clock ticked nearer to 5pm. From middle-aged professional representatives to the VU’s very own students, the array of guests reflected the atmosphere: formal, yet informal and abuzz with curiosity and excitement. An excitement I, too, shared as I knew this afternoon would address the riveting concept of Power and its current developments in a global context. But what is Power? How do we define it? How exactly is Power changing globally and how do these changes affect how we, emissaries of the world, deal with global challenges? Read more…

An impression by Benjamin Thorne

On the 23rd of September 2013, the Society for International Development: Netherlands Chapter (SID) began its lecture and discussion series on “Dispersed Power in a World in Transition” at VU University. Professor Jan Aart Scholte from the University of Warwick served as the keynote speaker and presented a very engaging lecture entitled “Geo-politics and Changing Power Relations”. Professor Scholte offered his assessment of the changing nature of power as the world moves from a unipolar world to a multipolar global society. Professor Scholte highlighted how power has shifted in five realms: countries, scales, sectors, norms, and structures. Scholte stimulated the audience to reassess their idea of international relations, global politics, and the essence of power. The lecture ended with more questions than answers, which testifies that he skillfully accomplished the primary task of any keynote speaker, and that is to have the audience wanting to attend subsequent SID events to gain some conclusions about the dispersion of power. Read more…


13 May 2013 // 2012-2013 Series on ‘The Private Sector in Development’ // Graham Dutfield on Intellectual Property Rights 

An impression by Ron van Maurik

Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) can be used as an instrument to incentivize entrepreneurs to innovate, and to disseminate innovations and knowledge across borders. It’s argued that they give rise to domestic industries, increase the level of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), and allow better access to information and technologies. By real supporters IPRs are seen as the key for innovation and economic growth. However, not all theories state that IPR enforcement impels innovations. Especially the effect of IPR enforcement in developing countries remains ambiguous.  Read more…


26 November 2012 // 2012-2013 Series on ‘More than 50 years of ODA’ // Denis Broun on Innovative Financing for Development

An impression by Alex Koberle

Shifting geopolitical power structures, budget crunches and economic crises have all contributed to a trend in the reduction of ODA from the traditional donor countries. New forms of financing are needed and some bright examples include the Global Alliancefor Vaccine and Immunization (GAVI) and UNITAID. The Executive Director of UNITAID was the guest of this latest instalment of the series “ODA and beyond: Lessons learned and new approaches”. Denis Broun has been withUNITAID since 2001 and has worked with UNAIDS, UNICEF and WHO. Joining him as a moderator was Lau Schulpen, research and lecturer at CIDIN. The theme of the evening was ‘New forms of financing: how to promote sustainable financial flows for development’. Read more…


05 November 2012 // 2012-2013 Series on ‘ More than 50 years of ODA’  //  He Wenping on China’s Role in International Development

An impression by Kees Kouwenaar

The Tazara railroad, running from Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia to  Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, was and still is a captivating example of China’s early involvement in Africa. It was built between 1970 and 1975 with Chinese funding and by Chinese workers and engineers. Now the Tazara railroad lies somewhat lost in the landscape, with lagging maintenance and only a few trains passing each week. An example of the non-sustainable nature of Chinese aid to Africa? Proof that assistance focusing on infrastructure doesn’t work and that China is offering Africa more the kind of help that it could do without? Or is the Tazara Railroad rather a demonstration that  times are changing, that of a transportation mechanism that served its purpose in the Apartheid days, when Rhodesia and South Africa effectively cut of Zambia from the rest of the world?

These and similar questions were raised on November 5th at the third lecture in the 2012-13 SID lecture series focusing on “ODA and beyond: Lessons learned and New Approaches.” In the Auditorium of the VU University in Amsterdam, Prof He Wenping never lost the attention of the more than 80 students, academics and others whose work or keen interest lies in Africa. Read more…


22 October 2012 // 2012-2013 Series on ‘ More than 50 years of ODA’  // Fokko Wientjes on The Private Sector in Development

An impression by Bernard Berendsen

What better can you do on a sunny afternoon in the midst of October in Amsterdam but attend a lecture at the VU University by Fokko Wientjes, director Corporate Sustainable Development of DSM, a company that aims for  “Bright Science, Brighter Living”, and participate in a lively discussion on the role of the private sector in international development? Though the Auditorium of the VU effectively and completely keeps out the sun, this is more than compensated by the enthusiasm and drive of Fokko Wientjes when he elaborates on his companies’ activities in the area of sustainability, “creating better lives for people today and generations to come”. Read more…


18 September 2012 // ‘Bread and Brains’ at the Humanity House // Peter van Uhm on Austerity in Defense

An Impression by Hester Menninga

A pleasant, perhaps an even typically Dutch gezellige, room inside the city centre of The Hague. The room is set up like a theatre. The stage open and welcome for a speaker to impress an eager audience. Outside we hear loud noises and gun fire. However, nobody seems scared. A mix of international and Dutch people await the speaker to enter the arena. Sounds like a strange situation. Far from it. It is the perfect setting for the kick-off of the “Bread and Brains Series” organised by Humanity House in the Hague and the Society for International Development – the Netherlands Chapter.

No better speaker in this setting than the former Chief of Defence of the Netherlands, Peter van Uhm. We’ve all seen him silence a large audience on TedX Talks in 2011 when he spoke of his love for his peaceful instrument:  the gun. This time, he’s invited to give his views on the budget cuts in the defence budget and the consequences thereof for the international position and responsibility of the Netherlands. Read more…


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