Getting to know our new captains

News10 Jan 2018The Broker

Since 1 January, The Broker has been sailing under a new captaincy. After saying goodbye to long-standing director Frans Bieckmann, Remmelt de Weerd and Saskia Hollander have taken the helm. It is high time to get to know the new board of directors a little better.

Saskia Hollander, who has taken up the position of knowledge management director, has been working at The Broker for five years. She holds a PhD in political science from Radboud University, Nijmegen. Her dissertation, which she defended in December 2016, is on the role of referendums in European democracies. As a political scientist, she has a broad range of interests, particularly in European and African politics. On behalf of The Broker, she is also part of the secretariat of the Knowledge Platform on Inclusive Development Policies (INCLUDE). With the title of ‘doctor’ added to her name, why has Saskia decided to take on the directorship of The Broker instead of pursuing an academic career? “In my work over the last few years, both at The Broker and in my PhD research, I have witnessed how much academic knowledge is being generated and how little of this is actually put to use”, Saskia explains. “So many valuable insights are lying on shelves, collecting dust, and will never reach politicians or policymakers, let alone be translated into actual policy”. It is from this experience – and perhaps frustration – that Saskia’s ambition to take the reins of The Broker was born. “I believe The Broker has an important role to play as the knowledge broker in the field of inclusive economy and democracy”.

Saskia’s brother in arms is colleague and friend Remmelt de Weerd, whose career at The Broker started three years ago. As a geographer and research journalist, Remmelt has a special interest in European politics and the political geography of Central and Eastern Europe. At The Broker, Remmelt was already responsible for most of the daily management, making managing director a logical step. What is his vision for the future of The Broker? “Over the years The Broker has been able to position itself as a frontrunner in the expanding realm of knowledge brokering, both methodologically and in terms of subject matter”, says Remmelt. “To keep this position we have re-invented ourselves again and again to meet our client needs in this constantly changing world – and that is exactly what we will continue to do. Together with our team, Saskia and I will look at knowledge brokering with a fresh set of eyes, making sure The Broker stays in front of the pack”.

It is clear that The Broker’s new directors are ambitious and eager to lead their team into a bright brokering future. “It is an honour to lead an organization like The Broker, which is made up of critical, creative and politically-engaged minds”, Saskia adds. “Remmelt and I are privileged to lead a team of young people who are not afraid to look critically at themselves and together ensure that our organization remains on the cutting edge of knowledge”.