Hivos International


Germany’s political influence in the Middle East and North Africa is limited in many respects. However, Berlin’s role in shaping positions within the EU, its close alliance with Israel, its good relations with Iran, and its growing partnership with the Gulf states bestow it with some geopolitical influence.

As the unravelling of the Middle Eastern status quo advances at great speed, the European Union’s strongest member should play a more purposeful role.

China's interests in the Middle East  continue to grow, and the region has become an integral part of  President Xi's New Silk Road. But while China has a keen interest in the  region’s energy resources and is willing to expend diplomatic efforts  to secure these, it regards the complex Middle East politics with caution.

However, China’s position is increasingly under pressure as new dynamics and growing tensions in the Middle East beg not just an  economic but also a geopolitical response from Beijing.

Over the past decade, China has been increasing its economic involvement in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), evolving from its dependence on the energy trade to much broader commercial engagement.

With its "going global" strategy as a recipe for growth, Beijing became more active diplomatically in order to advance its interests in the region. In turn, with China's stature growing, some MENA countries progressively see Beijing as an additional partner to the region's traditional ties with the U.S. and Europe.

This publication studies how the relationship between the state and the business community in Morocco has changed over the past two decades. Recent scholarship by social scientists on political change in the Middle East and North Africa has mostly focused on civil society. Relatively less attention has been paid to the role of business associations.

The Wicked series

The Hivos Civic Explorations Programme and the independent Dutch thinktank Kennisland proudly announce ‘the wicked series’, an expedition in search of new methods and initiatives for adressing ‘wicked problems’.

Can Do-ocracy deepen democracy? An international perspective

A symposium by Hivos, ISS and the Dutch Scientific Council for Government Policy 6 December 2012

Around the world, a growing crisis of legitimacy characterizes the relationship between citizens and the institutions that affect their lives. Citizens speak of mounting disillusionment with government and the institutions of representative democracy. An age of ‘Global disaffect’ has produced an escalation of drastic citizen action that critically reflects on the changing role of the citizen in global politics. From the Arab spring to Occupy Wall Street. From anonymous to the Indignados , a new wave of mass mobilization swept the globe, stunning policy makers and observers alike. Amidst this turmoil, social media emerged as the alleged new magic bullet, changing the face and pace of citizen action.

Let's talk about city farming!

Creative City Lab hosts a day for eager cultivators

Let’s talk about city farming! Also dubbed Urban Agriculture, we see a rise in small and larger initiatives in our hopelessly crowded cities around the world. New York, Berlin, Beijing, Havana and Amman are but a few examples where citizens (and sometimes the state) have picked up their shovel for some serious farming or gardening. This trend has not bypassed the Netherlands. On April 4th, Creative City Lab organized a gathering at the NDSM dockyard in Amsterdam, where city farmers, professionals and students came together to discuss this increasing trend. For Creative City Lab, the day also functioned to present a plan in which sixteen excellent students from varying disciplines work on a strategy to cultivate two pieces of land in Amsterdam, aiming to turn it into a successful business case.

Ignite event Tales of Innovation, from triggers to tools

Back-to-back with the two-day Open for Change event, an Ignite event took place in the afternoon of October 10th, 2013, in the Van Nelle factory, Rotterdam. Fifteen speakers presented daring perspectives and inspiring thoughts on how people all over the world are actively shaping their societies. Red threads through all the talks was the power of arts, pleasure and playfulness as driving forces for social change. Some talks focused on the transformational power of serious games, while others celebrated urban art expressions for awareness of pressing issues in the city, such as violence against women or corruption.

When the Indignados took over Spanish squares, Maro Pantazidou wondered why it was all quiet on the Greek front. Facing the most extreme austerity measures in the Eurozone, it seemed as if Greek citizens were experiencing a shock, holding them back from exploding in national rage. However, could it be that by focusing on mass movements, we were overlooking smaller but meaningful initiatives below the radar?

The need to reconnect value with values

Interview with Nitasha Kaul

Firstly we have to realize that something can be economically profitable, economically right but ethically or morally wrong. Civil society organizations should not only make their arguments in saying ‘this is the more economic way to proceed, that it’s better because we can show that the benefits exceed the costs’. There are also spaces to make ethical and moral arguments.