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G7: An Unconventional View of Diplomacy in the Big Picture

The practice of diplomacy is generally seen as the alternative to the practice of war. More significantly, where diplomacy fails, war will logically follow. For, as military theorist Carl von Clausewitz famously defined in the early nineteenth century already, “War is the continuation of politics by other means.” Therefore, politics precedes war, and politics is ought to prevent the outbreak ... Read More »

Power of the Passport and Controversies of Investment Immigration

This article was inspired by an open lecture on the 13th of February given by a RUG professor from the faculty of law, Dimitry Kochenov. In this lecture, which carried the title “What is the value of your nationality?”, Kochenov aimed to highlight that nationality for most people is in fact a restricting, rather than an empowering institution. To consolidate ... Read More »

An Essay on Urban Design – The Problem of the Automobile

This won’t be an article to convince you why we should battle climate change. Its effects are undeniable: there have been thousands of articles, essays and researches, both scientific and popular, and any thinking person knows that steps have to be taken to preserve our planet. Instead, this will be an article to look for how we should battle climate ... Read More »

Reimagining “Reaching Across the Aisle”

In American political rhetoric, the oft-repeated phrase “reaching across the aisle” refers to the bipartisan cooperation, a nod to the physical separation in Congress between the members of the two major political parties, and the political terms “left-wing” and “right-wing” have their origins in the seating arrangements of the National Assembly during the French Revolution of 1789. The relationship between architecture ... Read More »

An Equation with Two Unknowns – How the unconventional 2017 presidentials brought about insecurity and hope

For several decades, the French presidentials have been one vested in traditions – From the different party preliminaries to the massive meetings in the weeks before the first round of the presidentials. At first glance this year’s French elections did not seem to make up for a very different campaign. However, when the all too common countdown moment was set ... Read More »

…Living Through the Shock of Contrast and Difference: An Interview

Mustapha Abdu-Aguye comes from Zaria, Nigeria. He moved to Groningen, the Netherlands, 5 years ago to do a Master’s degree in Nanoscience. Currently, he’s half way though his PhD in Photophysics and Optoelectronics. Mustapha agreed to talk with Checks&Balances about the cultural differences between the Dutch and Nigerians, as well as discuss his personal growth. ‘I attained both my Bachelor ... Read More »

Oversimplification in the era of Complexity – On Twitter’s Role in Reconceptualising Diplomacy in the 21st Century

Back in 2010, Twitter’s total network encompassed over nearly 30 million monthly active users. Nowadays, that number has increased to over 317 million. Little doubt exists, Twitter is booming. But since recently, the platform seems to have developed itself on yet unexplored grounds. Politicians, president-elect Donald Trump leading the dance, seem to have grown fond of the platform and its ... Read More »

Helping a Refugee – Helping Yourself? Interview with Anne Neumann-Holbeck

Mentor, coach, friend – as part of the Humanitas nonprofit organization, Anne performs all of these roles. Her current responsibilities involve supporting two Syrian women, independently from each other, by helping them to find their ways in the Netherlands and providing them with the needed social services. All of this Anne does voluntarily. And when asked what she has taken ... Read More »

Putting a Stop to the Export of Babies

International adoption seems like a win-win phenomenon; an orphan is offered a chance at a better life while the adoptive parents can fulfil their wish to have a child. This romantic image is, however, problematic. Taking a human-rights-prone perspective, questions need to be asked regarding the salience of the international adoption system and the international agreements guarding it. Over the last decades, ... Read More »