Bert Koenders to be new Minister of Foreign Affairs


Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands will appoint Bert Koenders as the new Minister of Foreign Affairs today. He replaces Frans Timmermans who is to become a European Commissioner.

Bert Koenders (56) is from the centre-left coalition partner Labour Party. His first degree was in Political Science from the VU University Amsterdam and he took a further degree in Political and Social Sciences at the University of Amsterdam. He received his Masters from Johns Hopkins University, where he studied at the School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna, Italy and Washington D.C.

From 1984 Koenders was part-time adjunct professor of international relations at Webster University in Leiden, and from 1987 part-time consultant and European director of Parliamentarians for Global Action in New York. From 1993 to 1994 he was the European staff member and political advisor to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, working in Mozambique, South Africa and Mexico. He was subsequently principal administrator of the policy planning staff of the Directorate-General for external relations, conflict prevention and European Union enlargement at the European Commission in Brussels until 1997.

Koenders entered the House of Representatives in 1997 and was President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly from 2006 – 2007 and Minister of Development Cooperation from 2007 – 2010.

From 2011 – 2013 Bert Koenders served as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) and then as Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

The announcement of the appointment meeting as published on the Dutch government website is as follows:

“Prime minister to meet with likely new Minister of Foreign Affairs

News item | 14-10-2014

As is customary when there is a vacancy in the cabinet, Prime Minister Mark Rutte will meet with the candidate for the post, in this case the prospective Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bert Koenders. The meeting will be on Friday 17 October.

Mr Koenders is expected to succeed Frans Timmermans, the Dutch candidate for the new European Commission.”

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