Introducing Dr Margret Verwijk Netherlands Ambassador to Zimbabwe

Introducing Dr Margret Verwijk Netherlands Ambassador to Zimbabwe
September 07 15:34 2021

The new Netherlands Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi is Dr. Margret Verwijk.

Ambassador Verwijk joins the team in Harare after four years as Deputy Head of Mission to Lebanon. Her time in Beirut deepened her passion for the Middle East which began as a student doing a Master’s degree in Arabic Language and Literature at the University of Leiden, adding Arabic to her Dutch, English and French languages.

“When I left school, I wanted to be a journalist and at the time I could think of nowhere more interesting or different to my world than the Middle East,” she says. However, her language and communication skills were put to a different use. Ambassador Verwijk’s first job was in Yemen as marketing manager for an abattoir. “It was not where I thought I would be, but I learned so much. My position allowed me to communicate with and learn from men and women there, which was not always possible for women in a very conservative society.”

Ambassador Verwijk’s early years working in, exploring, and studying the region quickly earned her recognition as a Middle East and North Africa expert. She was recruited as a market research and development cooperation consultant for projects in Yemen, Oman and Russia, eventually landing in Sudan to lead emergency education programmes for UNICEF. A three month assignment turned to two years, during which time Ambassador Verwijk worked closely with the Netherlands Embassy in Sudan, and eventually moved across, starting a long and varied career with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

After a posting to Bangladesh, Ambassador Verwijk returned to The Hague for a string of assignments at the Ministry where she also turned her experience and interest in solving conflict towards a PhD in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution. She had previously become the first Dutch foreign diplomat to receive an Honorary Doctorate after being celebrated by Ahfad University for Women (Sudan) for her role in peacebuilding in 2000. NETHERLANDS IN ZIMBABWE

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