Integration Caravan on its way to Ede!

The Integration Caravan, a project created and organised by our Syrian working group, is visiting Ede on saterday 19th of October. This will be the 4th visit of a city in the Netherlands. Come and visit us at the Oude Kerkplein 2, between 11 and 4.

We create spaces where community members just like you can meet a refugee and engage in constructive dialogue. Also we give the Dutch people an opportunity to get to know refugee ask important questions such as ‘how is it to start a new life in the Netherlands? what should the refugees learn about our country? And what do we have in common and what can we share?’

We believe that healthy communities are the ones in which its community members can talk to each other despite their different backgrounds. You can hear stories you don’t find in the news papers.

All in all it was a very successful way of talking to people you normally hardly meet and create mutual understanding. Reactions in previsous cities were truly positive. We are very motivated to take this further to Ede. Check our calendar to see where we’re going next time!


Discussion about ‘Diaspora, Dialogue and Peace’ on Afrikadag

On Saturday 5th of November The Hague Peace Projects participated in the ‘Afrika Day’ which took place at the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) in Amsterdam. Our Great Lakes Region Project held the workshop titled ‘Diaspora, dialogue and peace’. Around 40 people joined the session.

The workshop began with a short introduction on some of the issues faced by each country in the Region.

The Democratic Republic of Congo was represented by Marie-Louise Balagizi and Bejamin Kalumire. Marie-Louise talked about the importance of prioritising security which would as a consequence facilitate people’s engagement. The unsafe situation is limiting people’s possibility to change the status quo, this fosters passivity which keeps the regime in power. People need to understand that they have the power to stop it. Therefore, the mind-set needs to be changed but in order to facilitate such process the security levels have to be raised. A step in this direction is by keeping the discussion open on where the weapons are coming from. Benjamin continued on the issue of security giving his view on a non-confrontational strategy which aims at fostering dialogue between the people and the military.

img-20161105-wa0012-2Deogratias Irambona discussed the current security issue in relation to his country Burundi. He stressed the importance to stop foreign countries from supporting undemocratic regimes. As an example he mentioned that The Netherlands has been financing the security forces of Burundi for many years and that these same forces are currently involved in murders and human rights violations. In this way the Netherland is also responsible.

Rwanda was represented by Sophie Kwizera. She underlined the importance of dialogue not only about the past but also the future. She pointed out the fact that the diaspora should be more active and express their option about the issues affecting their country. She also highlighted the importance of the youth as essential element for change.

Moses Atocon from Uganda continued with a personal perspective to his country, Uganda. He talked about the harsh time he experienced growing up under Idi Amin’s regime and how such events fuelled his desire for change. This change has to be achieved through a peaceful people-led movement. This is the aim of the Kampala based NGO Activists4change, with which he is involved.

img-20161105-wa0013-2The lively discussion which followed touched upon many different issues and controversies triggered by the speakers, proving the complexity and multitude of perspectives that exist around the Great Lakes region conflict. Many causes for conflict were mentioned: weapons trade, bad leadership, Western involvement, the mining industry and the many social divisions among Africans. This should not lead to strengthen the tendency to victimization, but to an understanding that home-grown solutions are possible and that Africa needs the West as well as the West needs Africa. All-in-all it was a very fruitful exchange of views and a clear indication that more meetings and dialogue across group-boundaries are essential to make steps forward towards possible solutions. 


The role of media in Conflict and Peacebuilding in the Great Lakes Region

poster-grl-conferenceOn the 24th and 25th and 26th of November 2016, The Hague Peace Projects together with ISS is organizing a second Diaspora Conference on the Great Lakes Region with as main theme: “The role of media in conflict and peacebuilding”. We would hereby like to invite you for this event.

Order your tickets here.

The Hague Peace Projects tries to facilitate a positive environment in which dialogue among all parties is encouraged. Analyzing and discussing the conflict enables the diaspora communities to contribute to peacebuilding processes not only in their home countries, but also in their diaspora communities abroad.

Last year’s conference topic was “The root causes of conflicts in the Great Lakes Region”. It left rooms for discussion and dialogue, which is necessary in order to create unity among diaspora groups. This year’s conference will deepen the dialogue and understanding by focusing on this one specific topic.

The first day of the conference will be mainly about the function of media in the Great Lakes Region. While the second day will focus on the role of media in conflict and peacebuilding. The third and last day will be connecting the topic of media with the diaspora groups.

The schedule day 1 – Role of Media

10:00-10:30              Welcome & opening, Connie Formson (ADPC), Ewing Amadi Salumu, Jakob de Jonge (HPP)
10:30-11:00               Keynote speech 1: Media & democracy: RNW Media
11:00-11:30                Keynote speech 2: .Social media today : Sanne Kruikemeijer, assistant professor Political Communication at the Amsterdam School of Communication
11:30-11:45                Coffee break
11:45-12:15                Keynote speech 3: Media in the GLR; Olivier Nyiubugara, Lecturer Journalism Erasmus University Rotterdam
12:15-13:00               Panel discussion
13:00-14:00              Lunch
14:00-15:15               Working sessions; country by country, strengths weaknesses
15:15-15:30               Coffee break
15:30-16:00              Continuation working sessions
16:00-17:00              Plenary session; reports from working sessions

The schedule day 2 – Media in Conflict & Peace

10:00-11:00              Keynote speech 1 +questions: Media & Conflict; Marie-Soleil Frère, Director Research Center in Information and Communication, Université Libre de Bruxelles
11:00-11:30               Keynote speech 2: Dirk-Jan Koch, Special Envoy Natural Resources, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs
11:30-11:45                Coffee break
11:45-12:00               Case speech 1: Moses Atocon, Blogger, Uganda
12:00-12:15               Case speech 2: Rwanda
12:15-12:30               Case speech 3: Burundi
12:30-12:45              Case speech 4: Marie-Louise Balagizi, DR Congo
12:45-13:45               Lunch
13:45-14:45              Panel discussion
14:45-16:00              workshops: YAGA & PAX
16:00-16:15               Coffee break
16:15-17:00                Continuation workshops 

The schedule for day 3: Diaspora and the perspectives of Media

10:00-10:15                Recap of the two days + questions/suggestions
10:15-10:45                Role of Diaspora;  Abubakar Koroma, International Organization for Migration
10:45-11:15                Diaspora & Media: Sennai Fessahaie, Eritrea diaspora
11:15-11:30                Coffee break
11:30-12:00               New Perspectives of Media; George Weiss, director Radio La Benevolencija
12:00-13:00               Panel discussion
13:00-14:00               Lunch
14:00-15:30               Afternoon program with own workshops
15:30-15:45                Coffee break
15:45-16:30                Continuation workshops
16:30-17:00                Closing words and conclusion conference
17:00-17:15                walks to HPP-office in separate groups
17:15-19:00                Dinner
19:00                           African party (at The Hague Peace Projects)

Where: International Institute of Social Sciences, The Hague
When : 24, 25 and 26 of November, 2016
Language: English

More information and the general outline of the days will follow.

Admission will be free for diaspora and students. For others the tickets are €20,- (payment at the door).Registration is required, reserve your seat here.

If you have questions, please contact us:


Elections in Somalia: Towards sustainable peace?

In light of the coming elections in Somalia, The Hague Peace Projects and Nabaddoon Yahya Foundation are organizing a discussion meeting about the political changes and the potential for peace in the country.

The event will start with three speeches in which the speakers will give their views on different subjects; the federal system, the 4.5 clan system and its impact on the peace process. The speakers are Ismail Moalim, Somalia expert,  Shamsa Said, director of SONPCCAN and Yahye Ali, director of the Nabaddoon Yahye Foundation. Besides the speches there is enough room for questions and discussion, and you listen to Suugaan and spoken word by Jawahir Shire and Qali Nur.

Date: Saturday, October 1
Time: from 13:30 till 17:00
Location: 3rd floor Paviljoensgracht 20, The Hague
Admission: free
Language: Dutch (questions or summaries can be in other languages)

Living Library : Sharing Stories about Peace

On the 21st of September – The International Day of Peace – The Hague Peace Projects organizes a storytelling event. Peace activists from different conflict areas around the world tell their story and explain why they decided to dedicate themselves to peace building.

But not only they will tell their story. Also you as an audience are invited to volunteer as a ‘book’, so that other people can ‘borrow’ you for a while and hear your story. What does peace mean to you? How can we create a peaceful society and what or who inspires you to be active? You are welcome to share your personal message or experience, read other ‘living books’ and listen to inspiring speeches .

Our speakers come from many countries, like DR Congo, Turkey, The Netherlands and Bangladesh.

When: 21 september
Where: 3rd floor, Paviljoensgracht 20, Den Haag
What time: 7PM – 10PM
Entrance: 3,- (Cash)
Language: Speakers English, living library in different languages

HPP on air: Turks and Kurds in the Netherlands

Our colleagues and program coordinators, Mirko and Tayfun were on the radio last week, not once but twice. In the first session they talked about the interaction and relation between Kurds and Turks in The Netherlands; what is the current situation, what do they have accomplished last year and what are their plans for the future. The item was well chosen called: the way to reconciliation.

Here’s a link to the radio broadcasting

The second interview was with Tayfun and Entrepreneur Cemil Yilmaz about the tensions among Dutch Turks after the coup in Turkey in July.  Yilmaz noticed that the tention is also between Turks and Dutch society, because very quickly people and media are portraying people as ‘Erdogan-hugger’, traitor or as poorly integrated. Tayfun concluded with stating that “it is time to work on Dutch citizenship. It’s time to invest in people.”

Listen here to the show


25-06: Time to talk, Kurds and Turks in Dialogue

Since the war between the Turkish state and the Kurdish PKK broke out again in the summer of 2015, tensions erupted also in The Netherlands. The Hague Peace Projects hosted several group talks between Turks and Kurds in the Netherlands to make in order to promote dialogue among them. On the 25 of June we have our first public dialogue to share our stories and to discuss with the audience what is needed for a peaceful relationship.

According to a Dutch MEP, the Turks, “a remarkable talent for making enemies”. Not everyone agrees with this statement. On this day we explore the possibilities of another skill of Turks and Kurds: making peace with one another.

We start the program by discussing the conflict between Kurds and Turkey in a historical perspective. After this, various representatives of both groups share their story and vision. Thereafter the public continue talks in small groups. These groups are led by representatives of the Turkish-Kurdish peace initiative.

Suna Floret, Ozan Turkdogan, Esra Dede , Tayfun Balcik, Mirko Jouamer, Bedel Bayrak Draft program:

–          Opening 14:00-14:05
–          Short lecture The Turkish Kurdish conflict in historical perspective 14:05-14:20
–         Short speeches and interviews with Turkish and Kurdish representatives (probably Ozan Turkdogan, Bedel Bayrak and Mirko Jouamer) 14.20 -15.00
–          15.00 – 15.45 dialogue in small groups, headed by representatives of the Turkish-Kurdish peace initiative
–          15:45-16:00 break
–          16.00 – 16.45 plenary dialogue
–          16.45 – 17.00 story by Esra Dede
–          17.00 conclusion

Languages: Dutch

Entrance is free, but registration required, reserve your seat here!

The success of The Survivors

DSC_1090From April 15th until May 4th The Hague Peace Projects organized together with sixteen artists the art exhibition “The Survivors” in Atrium City Hall The Hague. The sixteen artists responded each with a unique art piece on the drawings of a Syrian boy, Taim Safar. By means of this chain reaction, the exhibition aimed to build a bridge between the story behind the drawings of Taim and the Dutch Society. Overall, it can be said that it was a very special exhibition that created an interesting dialogue on peace and conflict.

The start to this exhibition were the drawings of the eleven year old Taim Safar. Taim is one of many kids that grew up in a war zone in Syria and were forced to flee. Since Taim reached the age of six he makes remarkable drawings with powerful lines. Metaphorically, his work reflects the war he witnessed with his family and their refuge to Turkey. A pirate ship flies above the city that echo’s helicopters throwing bombs in his hometown Damascus. Arrived in Turkey, Taim’s drawings mirrors houses that are shrinking and… there is a compass. Is he lost or looking for a destination?

Taims drawings came to the Hague Peace Projects by his former art teacher in Damascus, Bassam Alkhouri, who also contributed an art piece to the exhibition. Other artists that collaborated in this project were: Saskia Burggraaf, Eva Murakeözy, Rik Smits, Airco caravan, Albert Zwaan, Wouter Willebrands, Leonard van de Ven, Malou Cohen, Rutger van der Tas, Hanna de Haan, Suzanne Somer, Helen Hintjens, Jakob de Jonge, Robert Roelink and Alexandra Arshanskaya. The artists’ work showed great variety: sculptures reflecting Syria today from different perspectives; a video showing refugees’ new home in the Netherlands; and several paintings, from a ‘Broken Family’ to Bashar al-Assad as the ‘Slaughterer’.

The exhibition started off with an official opening with speeches of the initiators of this project and Anwaar, a member of the Syrian workgroup of The Hague Peace Projects. While having a look at the paintings and having a chat, people could enjoy the music from the AMN band, performing Arabic songs. During their concert, visual artist Alexandra Arshanskaya presented a live performance. By realizing our project we strived to create a dialogue among the Dutch society about the war and about what it means to leave everything behind and leave your country, especially as a kid. We aimed for the audience to think about peace further away and at home.

It bears mention that the exhibition was partially funded by a crowd funding initiative of the Hague Peace Projects, along with a contribution from Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland. From now on, the art pieces of the artists are for sale. The money gathered thereof will be used to develop an art workshop program for young refugees and Dutch children in order to work towards integration through art and communication. If you would be interested in pursuing one of the art pieces, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Do you want to see and read more about the Survivors? Have a look at these external (photo)reports:
The Survivors by chmkoome
The Survivors by Bertus Pieters



Alexandra Arshanskaya, “Tumbleweed” 100 x 100 cm, Oil painting on linen € 2,500.-


Éva Murakeözy, “Battlefield” 102 x 152 cm, Acrylic ink on paper, € 1,400.-


Éva Murakeözy

Éva Murakeözy, “The Survivors” 82 x 102 cm, Acrylic ink on paper, € 1,000.-


Rik Smit

Rik Smit, “Memoria City” 240 x 180 cm, Pencil on paper, € 3,500.-


Hanna de Haan

Hanna de Haan, “tribute to a city”, 386 x 45 cm, Woodcut + cyanotype on fabric, € 775.-


Helen Hintjens

Helen Hintjens, “Fragments Broken Families”, 42 cm x 59,5 cm, € 200.-


Helen Hintjens

Helen Hintjens, “Broken Family” 21 cm x 28 cm € 80.- each


Airco Caravan

Airco Caravan, “12,000 LOST” 33 toys, labeled and numbered 85 x 140 cm Alkyd paint and wire € 3,500.- ———- “250,000 DEATHS AND COUNTING” Oil on canvas 170 x 240 cm, Painted in China, € 4,000.-

Airco Caravan

Airco Caravan, “SLAUGHTERER” Oil on canvas, 170 x 240 cm, Painted in China, € 4,000.-


Malou Cohen

Malou Cohen


Malou Cohen

Malou Cohen


Leonard van de Ven

Leonard van de Ven, “Flags Flying”, Installation of 14 flags, 50 x 50 cm each, Acrylic marker on cotton


Albert Zwaan

Albert Zwaan, “House according to a design by Taim” 40 x 30 cm, Oil on linen, 2016


Albert Zwaan

Albert Zwaan, “Playground 2” 40 x 30 cm, Oil on linen, 2016


Albert Zwaan

Albert Zwaan, “Playground 1 (on the rooftops of Damascus)” 40 x 30 cm, Oil on linen, 2016


Suzanne Somer

Suzanne Somer



Wouter Willebrands

Wouter Willebrands, “the past, the present and the would be could be”, 93 cm x 73 cm, Graphite and ink on paper, € 2,850.-


Rutger van der Tas

Rutger van der Tas, “Promised Land” 30,4 x 40 cm, Oil on wood


Rutger van der Tas

Rutger van der Tas, “Taim De Overlever”, 30,5 x 41 cm, Oil on wood,


Robert Roelink

Robert Roelink, “World Citizenship I t/m VIII”, Drawings A3, Charcoal and tape


Robert Roelink

Robert Roelink


Robert Roelink

Robert Roelink, “World Citizenship”, Sculpture 100 x 100 x 100 cm, Melted plastic


Robert Roelink

Robert Roelink


Robert Roelink

Robert Roelink


Robert Roelink

Robert Roelink


Robert Roelink

16 December: Turkish – Kurdish Dialogue


The Kurdish Human Rights lawyer Tahir Elçi in Diyarbakir, minutes before he was killed in a firefight between the police and armed gunmen.

On the 16th of December, The Hague Peace Projects facilitated a meeting with Turkish and Kurdish citizens of The Netherlands. This was the second meeting where we talked about the current escalation of the conflict between the Turkish State and the Kurdish PKK and where we tried to contribute to a better understanding between Turkish and Kurdish citizens in the Netherlands.

Since the elections of June this year, many Kurdish and Turkish people have been killed as a result of the violence between the two sides. A bombing of a peace demonstration in Ankara on October 10 killed at least 106 people. The current situation of violence has led also to tensions among the Turkish/Kurdish diaspora living in Europe. In an attempt to de-escalate these tensions, a group of engaged people started a dialogue to bring moderate Kurdish and Turkish people in the Netherlands together. Six of them have started a working group together. By writing for blogs and newspapers, organizing meetings and engaging politicians they generate an open dialogue and mobilize the larger Turkish/Kurdish diaspora to support peaceful solutions.

On the 16th of December at 19:00h a second meeting of this kind took place at Stichting Argan in Amsterdam. The working group presented a concept vision-document on which they have been working during the past weeks, describing their analysis of the conflict and offering certain solutions. The document was intended as a discussion piece. During the meeting this document was shared and everyone was invited to give input in order to really make this a representative statement of everyone who wants peace between Turks and Kurds.