WHO IS SHE AND WHAT DOES SHE DO?
Meet Charlotte! Charlotte de Jong is a Policy Officer at the Department of International Affairs at the City of the Hague. Working there for almost 2 years now, one of Charlotte’s main jobs is acquisition – to help and introduce NGOs and organizations interested in coming to the Hague, and connecting them to the right people. The City does this in close collaboration with the Hague Business Agency and the Humanity Hub. Once an organization comes to the Hague, an account manager (contact person) within the city is assigned for better facilitation. Interestingly enough, Charlotte is also the account manager for the Humanity Hub!
HOW DID SHE GET INTO THIS WORK?
Back in the day, Charlotte studied international relations and cultural anthropology for her Masters. She really likes the connection between politics and culture. She tells us, “I always knew I wanted to work in a place where I can help people”.
Charlotte previously worked for the municipality of Wassenar, which helped her gain insight into the work of a city municipality. She eventually decided to transition to the municipality of The Hague, and since it is a very international city, being in the International Affairs department really complements her educational background well.
“For somebody who has studied International relations it is a really good fit being in touch with all these organizations you have learned about before, and that they are seated in the Hague”.
Charlotte tells us that working with the local governments is nice because of the close proximity between municipalities and the citizens. The work local governments do is clearly visible and on this note she adds, “You can see the work or things you are working on when you go home, and that is quite nice”.
WHAT PROJECT IS SHE CURRENTLY WORKING ON?
There are two main projects that Charlotte is actively involved in. The first is around the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), in particular on SDG 16.3, which focuses on ‘Access to Justice’. This revolves around promoting the Hague as the city of peace and justice, using the knowledge of organizations based in the Hague to work better towards achieving this goal. This helps them come up with solutions on how the city can do better. Charlotte thinks that it is indeed interesting to use these organizations’ knowledge (based within the Netherlands and also outside) and share it with the local ecosystem of the Hague.
Another project that Charlotte is working on is in collaboration with HiiL (the Hague Institute for Innovation of Law, based at the Hub). They work for access to justice for citizens within the Hague. This is the first time that HiiL is doing this research on a local level, having it done earlier only at the national level and internationally. Charlotte can’t wait to see the creative solutions that emerge from this exciting collaboration!
HOW DID SHE COME TO THE HUB?
Per chance, Charlotte is one of the first people to be associated with the Hub – even before it started! “This is quite a funny story”, she tells us. Earlier, Charlotte used to work for the Economic Affairs department, which was responsible for opening of the Hub. After Charlotte moved internally and shifted to International Affairs, the liaison function to the Hub was transferred to the same department! Her association with the Hub is hence one of the longest. In her opinion, it is the interesting network that makes the Hub such a vibrant community.
“The Humanity Hub shows what being in a city of peace justice actually means.”
WHAT ARE HER KEY LEARNINGS/ TAKEAWAYS FROM THE CURRENT SITUATION?
While the first few weeks seemed ‘crazy’, Charlotte is now adjusting well to the new reality. She says it is great to see how people adapt to situations like these. As she puts it, one thing she found interesting is “to see that even though during a crisis or pandemic there are some things that just keep going”. One of her most important takeaways is the importance of working together. “The crisis makes it clear that collaboration is even more important than it was before, especially learning from and growing with each other”.
WHAT IS SHE CURRENTLY WATCHING/READING/LISTENING TO?
Charlotte is a huge fan of the TV show (which is also on Netflix now) called ‘Community’. It features a podcast called the ‘Darkest Timeline’ in which they talk about the research based around the coronavirus, while also covering funny stories about community. She enjoys this since it is a good mixture of serious content along with humor.
WHAT IS HER ASK OF THE HUMANITY HUB COMMUNITY?
Charlotte affirms, “I love the Hub and the community”.
The Hub offers a platform where various organizations come together and work towards a goal. She tells us that in case of practical questions about the city, “we can answer these ourselves, or always find somebody within the city who has the answer”. It is great that the knowledge and expertise of these organizations within the community can benefit the city, and also in working towards the SDGs.