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Christa Meindersma new director of the Prince Claus Fund

3rd Eye Photojournalism Center welcomes & congratulates Christa Meindersma as its new director of The Prince Claus Fund for Culture & Development starting 14 February 2011. She is taking over the position from Els van der Plas, who has been director since 1997. An international lawyer, Christa Meindersma (1962) most recently held the position of Deputy Director at the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS). She has extensive experience with international collaboration and diplomacy and has held, among others, the positions of Negotiator and Senior Political Adviser at the United Nations and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Christa was involved in peace talks in East Timor, Nigeria, Cameroon, Kosovo and Darfur. She has also worked for the UN in Nepal, Congo and New York. This appointment will provide the Prince Claus Fund with a director with a strong vision on culture and development within the framework of international collaboration.

3rd Eye Photojournalism Center who held a project by support the Prince Claus Fund which 12 people from the 6th provinces of Afghanistan were participated, appreciate the high experience with international collaboration and diplomacy which Prince Claus Foundation had & will had. 3rd Eye Photojournalism center believes that every country is responsible for the basic need which is culture in Afghanistan, we highly ask Prince Claus Foundation to continue the progressive projects for the future of Afghanistan.

Christa Meindersma: “I am extremely pleased with having been appointed Director of the Prince Claus Fund. What inspires me most is that the Fund gives a face to brave individuals with exceptional qualities who fight for artistic and intellectual freedom in situations of repression, war, marginalization and poverty, like Selma Hellal and Sofiane Hadjadj in Algeria, who received the Prince Claus Award last December, and bloggers like Yoani Sánchez from Cuba. These people are a driving force for development and change in their countries and inspire others with their visions. The Prince Claus Fund recognizes the importance of their work and supports them in a concrete fashion.”

The Prince Claus Fund will focus in coming years on the relationship between culture and conflict, ‘Zones of Silence’ and ‘Beauty in Context’. Zones of Silence are regions in which cultural expression is either completely lacking or difficult due to exclusion, forced migration, poverty, war and conflict. The Fund supports local initiatives that facilitate cultural expression. The Fund also offers emergency cultural assistance in conflict situations and following natural disasters. Together with partners in Egypt, the Fund is already taking stock of the damage that has been inflicted in the Egyptian capital of Cairo due to vandalism and plundering, the goal of which is to protect Egyptian cultural treasures.

Her involvement in peace negotiations has provided Christa with valuable experience on the importance of culture in coming to terms with war and violence. “As Director of the Prince Claus Fund, I will be able to combine my interest in different cultures with my experience in countries that have undergone post-conflict reconstruction. The reopening of a theatre in a bombed-out city, a dance performance, or the preservation and restoration of cultural heritage gives hope, energy and individuality. Culture is not a luxury; it can contribute significantly to reconciliation after conflict. I aim to spotlight the impact of the Fund’s work among a broader public and to further develop the Fund into a knowledge centre of culture and development.”
Lilian Gonçalves-Ho Kang You, Chair of the Prince Claus Fund: “People who benefit the most from culture often live in conflict areas and poverty-stricken regions. The Prince Claus Fund enables these individuals to let their voices be heard. With the appointment of Christa Meindersma, the Prince Claus Fund will have a director with broad international experience in conflict areas. Christa is the right person to move the Fund to the next phase, while building on the achievements of past years. The Board looks forward to inspiring, positive and long-term collaboration.”

The Prince Claus Fund:

Culture is a basic need

The Prince Claus Fund actively supports international cultural collaboration in spaces of need. The Fund was founded on 6 September 1996 on the occasion of the seventieth birthday of His Royal Highness Prince Claus as a token of appreciation for his efforts in international collaboration. The work carried out by the Fund is grounded in Prince Claus’ belief that culture and development are inextricably linked and that people cannot be developed, but must develop themselves. Since its establishment, the Fund has supported more than 1,500 activities in more than 125 countries and has presented 150 Prince Claus Awards in 70 countries. The Prince Claus Fund is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch Postcode Lottery.