The Young Diplomat is a young and growing team, founded in 2018 by Hans van den Berg. We know the field of international relations and European affairs can be mind boggling and puzzling. Some, when they think about diplomacy, imagine smoke filled rooms in grand palaces, where old white men slice up a continent in territories. Others may think of the elegant tables in the modern buildings of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the World Trade Organisation or the World Bank. Where a mixture of representatives try to achieve security, prosperity, and wealth for their own citizens. And yet another does not  quite know what the diplomatic world is like, to them it is a magic realm, secluded from reality, where words are used that nobody understands and diplomats indulge themselves on Ferrero Rocher.

We know every person is a diplomat in her or his own way, through everyday diplomacy. We aim to make the field of international relations, European affairs, negotiation and diplomacy accessible and understandable to everyone. Because we believe everyone can contribute to a more sustainable, secure and peaceful world.





Founder & President

Hans van den Berg is the Founder and President of The Young Diplomat. He is a former elite athlete who has rowed in different disciplines on the national and international level. He is the president of the University Council of Erasmus University Rotterdam, and holds a teaching position at the Department of Public Administration and Sociology. He teaches on International Relations, Negotiation, Political Science, Philosophy, Theory and Democracy.

Hans focusses his expertise specifically on, and the relationship between, Russia, North-Western Europe and the United States of America, but also has an affiliation with the Eastern European and the Black Sea regions. Within this geographical expertise he focusses on:

  • Political and Diplomatic strategy (development and application).

  • (International) Negotiation; with a focus on applying strategies through the use of soft and hard power.

  • Operational Codes; a method of analysis of actors, institutions, or states to better understand their actions, positions, strategies, approach to problems and how they develop solutions.

  • Agenda setting and policy development within institutional processes, especially within the European Union, the United Nations, and NATO.

Hans has worked and trained with high level experts like dr. Paul Meerts, Prof. Dr. Simon Anholt, and Prof. Dr. Ir. Joris Voorhoeve. Some of his (academic) publications:

The role of the European Union on the chessboard of great power politics, in Modelling The New Europe.

Russia, Turkey and Bosnia-Herzegovina, A study of operational codes which may harm peacebuilding, at the SEN Foundation.

Russian aggression, the West’s response? in Foreign Policy Press.

Contact Hans


Vice - President & Chair of the Board of Governors

Leila is Vice President of the Young Diplomat and Chair of the Board of Governors. The Board of Governors is the highest decision-making body which shall be responsible for the development of The Young Diplomat and ensure the achievement of its objectives. Currently Leila holds a teaching position at Erasmus University Rotterdam at the Department of Public Administration and Sociology. She teaches on Globalization, Political Science, Welfare Economics, Public Governance, and Social Research Methods. 

Leila offers seminars and consultancy on governance, democratization and innovation, conflict resolution, and state-building. Her foremost interests are political theory, peace and conflict research, constitutional design, political representation, and ethnic inequality.

Leila has professional experience within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment. Additionally, she held positions at several NGOs in the field of peace research. Among these were the Sen Foundation and The Hague Humanitarian Cooperative for Water, where Leila worked together with Prof. Dr. Ir. Joris Voorhoeve and Prof. Dr. Patrick Huntjens.  Moreover, she worked as an International Election Observer during the Parliamentary Elections (2017) in Albania. These experiences have fuelled Leila’s interest in pursuing a research career in fields of ethnic conflict studies and transitional democracy.

Contact Leila

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Junior Project Manager

As project officer Zita makes sure our events are organised to the last detail. She is a young professional currently studying Management of International Social Challenges at Erasmus University. Finishing high school Zita asked herself the question: in what direction do I want my future to go? As a committed student council member she has been helping refugees integrate in Dutch society by teaching them the Dutch language and been involved in multiple environmental projects. The urge to direct her future towards solving problems exceeding borders grew as she lived through Californian wildfires. Witnessing the consequential mudslides become fatal to many community members and damaging to the environment, her eyes were opened to an array of issues that cannot be solved by one country on its own. The formation of unity is therefore of crucial importance and is a challenge she is thrilled to take on.

Contact Zita


Junior Project Manager

As project officer Tom is particularly concerned with the diplomatic simulations offered in our programs. He is a young professional currently studying Management of International Social Challenges at Erasmus University. As he grew up and moved from a small Dutch town to a big city, he saw the world globalise around him. Studying globalisation, politics and public policy in an international environment has shaped and enforced his view that our world's biggest problems can only be solved by an international effort guided by diplomacy.


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