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UPEACE The Hague event brings together students with Dutch minister Kaag

What’s it like to study at the University for Peace (UPEACE) in Costa Rica? More than 200 Dutch students found out on 8 March 2019 at an event organised by UPEACE Centre The Hague. The meeting took place in the new building of the Supreme Court of The Netherlands (Hoge Raad) in The Hague. Our special guest was the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag, who delivered a keynote speech.

Photo: Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag (centre) at the UPEACE event in the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, flanked by Chairman Robert Serry of UPEACE Centre The Hague (left) and Dean Juan Carlos Sainz-Borgo of the University for Peace.


During the first part of the event – which was co-hosted by the Dutch United Nations Student Association SIB-Leiden – the University’s Dean Juan Carlos Borgo-Sainz offered a taste of UPEACE. “Studying with 150 students from 62 countries in an idyllic tropical location is an intensive and enriching experience”, he told the audience.


“It was extremely challenging”, said the next speaker, Tomás Alberto Chang Pico from Venezuela, who graduated at UPEACE in 2013. “But the UPEACE community gave me a rich network. Whenever I travel abroad for my work, I always meet other UPEACE alumni. That surprises my colleagues at the office: ‘How come you have friends everywhere?’, they ask.”


Professor Aaron Wolf demonstrated how scholars can put peace into practice, by helping to resolve conflicts over water. This is the focus of the joint Master's programme Water Cooperation and Diplomacy offered by UPEACE Costa Rica together with IHE Delft Institute for Water Education and Oregon State University.


In her keynote speech (reported in Diplomat Magazine), Minister Kaag argued for a more sophisticated response to the erosion of the world order. “We need to change the way we work, by using more Second Track diplomacy and new communication technologies to bridge conflicts.” In view of International Women’s Day on March 8, she also stressed the crucial role of women in rebuilding societies after conflicts. “Politics is too important to leave to men alone”, she said, while encouraging women to follow their heart and not to fear taking risks.


The meeting highlighted how UPEACE Centre The Hague can help students with their application at the UPEACE University in Costa Rica. There, they can follow a Master’s programmes in either Peace and Conflict Studies, International Law, or Environment and Development. Moreover, studying at UPEACE can include an internship at the United Nations or one of its affiliated organisations – where many UPEACE alumni end up finding a job.


NB: deadline for applications is June 1, 2019! Find out how to apply here.