Humanity in Action Fellowship in Amsterdam

Program Description

The Humanity in Action Amsterdam Fellowship offers a diverse yet thorough perspective on minority issues in The Netherlands. Our aim is to facilitate a collective exploration of the social and political roots of discrimination in The Netherlands and to provide a forum for the discussion of potential solutions. The Amsterdam Fellowship is highly interdisciplinary and bridges the gap between theory and practice by connecting Fellows with academics and journalists, as well as NGOs and grassroot activists. 

The intellectual touchstone for Humanity in Action and the start of Humanity in Action The Netherlands has always been the study of the Holocaust – the most devastating example of the collapse of democracy and the denial of rights to minorities. In the first week, Fellows will discuss the role the Dutch took during this period: perpetrators, resistance fighters, victims and bystanders. Fellows will also look at how The Netherlands has dealt with this period over the course of history. 

From this starting point, the Amsterdam Fellowship will continue to discuss more contemporary themes such as immigration and integration in The Netherlands, refugee issues, institutional racism, xenophobia, LGBTQIA rights, Islamophobia, diversity, disability and women's rights. We strive for an intersectional approach to all of these issues, as we are looking at the overlap and interconnectedness of these topics. The underlying rationale behind this being that you cannot discuss one topic without considering the others. As the theme of institutionalized racism in The Netherlands has been a highly debated topic in Dutch society over the past few years, it has become an important theme in the program. In 2016, we focused on the refugee issue, as that was the most pressing issue at the time. To be able to focus on the most recent developments, the programmatic content continues to be developed until the very start of the program.

The program staff in The Netherlands considers dialogue between its very diverse, transatlantic Fellows to be one of the most important ingredients of the Humanity in Action experience. We therefore stimulate group discussions and Fellows' contributions. However, these can only be positive and constructive if everyone feels respected, even when we disagree. Discussions often differ per country. Therefore, we will decide together how to create a safe space for all participants. We hope that Fellows will work with us to make sure that it will remain this way throughout the program. Every Fellow will be invited to contribute to the program with a ‘Fellow Talk’ – a presentation of half an hour on a subject close to their hearts or one that they feel is missing in the program. 

Organizationally, the Amsterdam Fellowship is divided into two phases. The first phase is an input phase: Fellows will meet with selected leading experts and the brightest commentators and researchers in The Netherlands. We will visit various sites and initiatives, but will also spend a lot of time in our lecture room. In the second phase of the program, Fellows will be working at an NGO on a topic related to what they had experienced in the previous weeks. This is very much a collaborative, international effort: the group will be divided into teams. After your two days of working with ‘their’ NGO, Fellows will be given time to write a report about it.

In the Amsterdam Fellowship, we will explore different ways of learning. Beside ‘old-school’ lectures, we will offer workshops, trainings, discussion groups, site visits, tours through Amsterdam by bike or on foot, museum visits, canal tours, theatre performances, public lectures and soccer clinics. In addition to the official program, there will be smaller and less formal events, organized in cooperation with the Dutch Humanity in Action Senior Fellow Network.

2016 Agenda

May 27

Arrival fellows from the United States, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Greece. Fellows will sleep at their host families for the first night.

May 28

Introduction Weekend 
We will be starting the program together in a holiday farm at a one hour drive from Amsterdam.  We’ll get to know each other a little bit, some workshops will be organized and we can test each other’s performance skills at the campfire. 
Location: Holiday Farm Nieuwkarspel, Middenkoogweg 1A, 1738 DW in Waarland                     
  • Introduction staff, getting to know each other
  • Workshop: Making the most of it: creating a safe space and supporting each other’s learning process Lenka Hora Adema (mediation expert, facilitator, process designer and organizational coach)
  • Preparation dinner, with chef Ola Al Khatib

May 29

Location: Holiday Farm Nieuwkarspel, Middenkoogweg 1A, 1738 DW in Waarland

  • Workshop: Talking to ‘Racists’ by Maja Nenadovic (coach, political consultant, researcher, human rights and advocacy trainer and identity de/construction educator)

This rhetorical self-defense workshop helps participants build resiliency, as well as the ability to respond to discriminatory remarks. In such situations, distress, heightened emotional state or plain shock can sometimes leave us tongue-tied. The rhetorical self-defense class teaches preparedness, and different methods of responding. It tries to replace the silence or tongue-tied shock with empowered, discourse-altering responses.

  • Workshop: Talking to ‘Racists’, part two.

May 30

Intersectionality and Refugees

Location: Amnesty International/HIA, Keizersgracht 177, Rosa Parkszaal (Ground Floor)

  • Intersectionality: a travelling concept, Lecture by Nancy Jouwe (cultural historian)
  • Documentary: The Island of all together (23 min)
  • Personal story from a Syrian Human Rights Defender Shevan (human rights activist, refugee)
  • Fellow’s talk 1 with Qali Nur
  • Europe: protection of human rights in times of the refugee crisis, Eduard Nazarski (director Amnesty International The Netherlands)
  • The crisis of European refugee law with Thomas Spijkerboer (professor in migration law)
  • Fellow’s talk 2 with Ola Al Khatib
  • Reflection on the day (group)

May 31

Irregular Migrants/Asylum in The Netherlands, Bystanders and Guilty Landscapes
Locations: Amnesty International/HIA, Keizersgracht 177, Rosa Parkszaal (Ground Floor) (Morning)
Anne Frank House, Westermarkt 10, Amsterdam (Afternoon)
  • Fellow’s talk with Chryssa Sotiriou, Cameron Kinker and Sahar Afzal
  • Documentary: WE ARE HERE! (65 min)
  • Q&A with Alexandra Jansse (documentary director) and two members of the WE ARE HERE group
  • Visit Anne Frank Museum
  • First introductions to the museum by Cihan Tekeli (Anne Frank House and Senior Fellow). About 1 hour to visit the museum and Q&A with Cihan and Inger afterwards.
  • Places of memory, guilty landscapes, Rob van der Laarse (founding director Amsterdam School for Heritage, Memory and Material Culture)

June 1

World War II

Location: Former Dutch concentration camp/Memorial Site Westerbork, Oosthalen 8, Hooghalen (Drenthe)

  • Personal story of a survivor with Fanny Heymann
  • Shuttle bus to the camp
  • Tour through the camp with Educational Department Memorial Centre
  • Visit museum Memorial Centre

June 2

Privilege and Discrimination, Hidden history of slavery in Amsterdam

Location: Amnesty International/HIA, Keizersgracht 177, Rosa Parkszaal (Ground Floor)

  • Introducing the day
  • Fellow’s talk with Ashley Lawrie
  • Workshop: Privilege and identity with Glenn Helberg (psychiatrist and Chair Caribbean Dutch Network)
  • Fellow’s talk with Nejra Mulaomerovi
  • Black Heritage Tour by boat and foot – African presence seen from historical buildings and landmarks from the 16th century to the present day Jennifer Tosch (owner BHAT tours)

June 3

Racism, Inclusive Leadership, Ethnic Profiling and Theatre

Location: Amnesty International/HIA, Keizersgracht 177, Rosa Parkszaal (Ground Floor)

  • Introducing the day
  • Fellow’s talk with Merel de Herder
  • Documentary:  Black Face (15 min), Roger Ross Williams
  • Anti-Black Pete Activism with Kno’ledge (Anti Black Pete activist and Chair Nederland wordt Beter)
  • Fellow’s talk with Eunelda Cairo
  • Lunch with Judy Goldstein
  • Inclusive leadership; life strategies for professional goals with Astrid Elburg (strategic consultant, executive coach and leadership trainer)
  • Police discrimination in The Netherlands with Sinan Cankaya (cultural anthropologist)
  • Non-Dutchies go to Final Statement: Re-Creating Europe
  • Dutchies go to: Theatreplay: Nobody Home

June 4

Dinner Discussion - Summer Edition
Location: Benjamin Asante’s home, Utrecht
Dr. Gerard van der Ree is a lecturer in International Relations at University College, Utrecht. He will be speaking about the fragility of the male ego, using insights from feminist and social theory to explore the dynamics of power. In particular, he will address the question of what it is like to be privileged and wield social power in our everyday lives, and what the mechanisms are through which we attempt to protect our social positions on a daily basis. By discussing the ways in which we attempt to protect our fragile ego’s, he will open up the floor for sharing stories of how social power affects us and how to address it.
Following Dr. van der Ree, there will be a brief presentation by Lillian dam Bracia (former UCU student) & Pien Den Hollander on their recently well-acclaimed public art project ‘Limbo Citizen’. In Utrecht, the ‘Limbo Citizen’ art project was exhibited in the Cathedral allowing spectators to walk through an interactive documentary on the perspectives of four individual migrants in the Netherlands. Stories from one undocumented migrant from Ghana, a refugee from Syria, an economic migrant from Kenya, and a student from India are coming to the fore. Following dam Barcia her own difficulties with extending her residence permit in the Netherlands, she recalls this experience a "limbo that is caused by a lack of stability and structure.’’ 
  • Fragility of the male ego with Gerard van der Ree (Lecturer International Relations UCU)
  • Limbo Citizen with Lilian dam Bracia
  • Brazilian drinks
  • Travel back to Amsterdam 

June 5

Day off 

June 6

Democracy, Bosnia, Human Rights Law, Soccer and Public Seminar on Refugees
People on the run, people on the move – the current developments in migration law from a European and national level and the power of the media
Location: Amnesty International/HIA, Keizersgracht 177, Rosa Parkszaal (Ground Floor)
  • Introducing the Day 
  • Resilient democracy with Bastiaan Rijpkema (lecturer, Leiden University)
  • Fellow’s talk with Mehrgol Tiv and Anouk van Eekeren
  • Let’s talk about Bosnia with Nejra Mulaomerovic and Sasa Buljevic
  • Human Rights Law in practise
  • Jelle Klaas (human rights lawyer) and Laurens Meijer (Senior Fellow)
  • Soccer Clinic with Rocky Hehakaija (street soccer player and NGO Favela Street)
  • Public Seminar Refugees
  • People on the run, People on the move: The current developments in migration law from a European and national level and the power of the media featuring: Bram van Oijk (Ministry of Foreign Affairs; migration), Rajin Alqallih (Syrian refugee, UNHCR, Erasmus University) and Baba Tarawally (refugee & writer)

June 7

Visit The Hague: City of Peace and Justice
  • ICTY's Achievements and Impact in the former Yugoslavia with Petar Finci (Outreach Program, ICTY)
  • Exchange with a Human Rights Defender with Marieke van der Vliet (program coordinator Justice and Peace)
  • Travel to New World Campus
  • Breeding ground for sustainable innovation with Diederik Bosscha (Director, New World Campus)

June 8

Greece, LGBTQI Rights and Identity

Location: Amnesty International/HIA, Keizersgracht 177, Rosa Parkszaal (Ground Floor)

  • Introducing the Day
  • Let’s talk about Greece with Chryssa Sotiriou and Maria Louiza Kalogerakou
  • Fellow’s talk with Kelvin Ampem-Darko
  • "My identity, whose construction?" with Tugba Oztemir (Master's Student, Activist and Educator)
  • Fellow’s talk with Oumou van Rijen
  • Workshop: Homonationalism with Tara Nduma Flach (actvist and educator)
  • Gender walking tour through Amsterdam Bear Silver (trans activist)
  • Optional vegan meal at squatter house Vrankrijk with Bear      

June 9 

Arts and Diversity, Underprivileged Neighbourhoods and Urban Violence

Location: Amnesty International/HIA, Keizersgracht 177, Rosa Parkszaal (Ground Floor)
  • Introducing the Day
  • Fellow’s talk with Gage Garretson
  • Workshop: Daughter of Diaspora with Patricia Kaersenhout (artist)
  • Fellow’s talk with Zohara Mahmoud
  • Foundation Connect with Said Bensellam (youth worker)
  • Urban violence, unruly politics with Femke Kaulingfreks (anthropologist, political philosopher)

June 10 

Betzavta Training
Location: Amnesty International/HIA, Keizersgracht 177, Rosa Parkszaal (Ground Floor)
Betzavta methodology, a method to relate principles of democracy to everyday decision making.  Betzavta enables an experiential way to learn about democracy and the democratic process.  The principles and concepts behind democracy – equality, freedom, majorities, minorities – are applied in the group context, allowing the individual to reflect on his/her role in a group.  Rather than learning about democracy as a theory, Betzavta allows you to practice it, challenging each person on the difference between what they say and how they behave.
Betzavta, an interactive and experience-based method whose goal is to build and strengthen people’s awareness of themselves and their effect on others. This self-awareness plus awareness of others is achieved through a training based on Democracy education, where the goal is to recognize every person’s equal right to freedom. The trainings bring together the personal and societal, the individual and the system and works to uncover all that is between (”mellem” in Danish) people, cultures and societies.
  • Introducing the Day 
  • Fellow’s talk with Rick Otten
  • Workshop, round 1
  • Workshop, round 2
  • Talk about next week: working with NGOs
  • Reflections of the week with HIA staff
Optional program (3 people):
  • Dinner with Frieda Menco in her home. Talk with her about her past, while you are having a drink and a meal at her house (fellows and HIA will arrange the dinner)

June 11-12 

Weekend off  

June 13

Disability Rights and Identity
Location: Amnesty International/HIA, Keizersgracht 177, Rosa Parkszaal (Ground Floor)
  • Introducing the Day
  • Fellow’s talk with Huseyin Sakalli
  • Deaf-Blind Reality with Gijs Bruggeman, SWDA, Foundation for the Welfare of Deaf People
  • Fellow’s talk with Lisa Muloma
  • Fellow’s talk with Maria Kalogerakou
  • Raising awareness on disability rights in The Netherlands  with Pauline Gransier (disability rights activist)
  • Fellow’s talk with Katherine Clifton
  • Plural identity with Mounir Samuel (Egyptian-Dutch political scientist, journalist and author)

June 14-15

NGO’s Day 1 and 2

Volunteer all day at your NGO. Every group makes prior appointments on times and expectations with the NGO.


  • FAWAKA Nederland
  • College van de Rechten van de Mens
  • Wereldhuis
  • Castrum Peregrini
  • Stichting Verre Bergen
  • Faces of Change
  • Daklozendag
  • Critical Mass
  • Butterfly Works


Optional program on the 14th:

  • Dinner with Frieda Menco. Meet Frieda Menco in her home. Talk with her about her past (Frieda lived in concentration camp Auschwitz), while you are having a drink and a meal at her house (fellows have to take care of the dinner)

June 16 

NGO Day 3 

Finish work for your NGO and write a report

June 17 

Finish work for your NGO and write a report
Location: Consulate General of the United States of America, Museumplein 19
  • Reception Consulate General of the United States of America with Marjon Kamrani, Human Rights Specialist
Fawaka Event organized by the fellows, location and time to be announced

June 18 

Optional program

  • Walk 10 KM during ‘The Night of the Refugees’ in a Humanity in Action Team and donate to the organization.

June 19

Day off 

June 20

Fellow’s Talk and Social Entrepreneurship

Location: Amnesty International/HIA, Keizersgracht 177, Rosa Parkszaal (Ground Floor)

  • Introducing the Day
  • Fellow’s talk and Sasa Buljevic, Leah van Ees
  • Baking Power, a social enterprise with Tine Bakia and Marsha Baah
  • Fellow’s talk with Merve Mert, Femke Zeven
  • Work on your presentations for tomorrow 


  • Host family dinner (location to be announced) 

June 21

Presentation Day 

  • Presentations of reports
  • Drinks with NGO’s 

June 22

Day off and packing 

June 23-26

Seventh Annual International Conference in Athens


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