Roel von Meijenfeldt
Advisor to the Board of the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD). Chairman of the European Partnership for Democracy (EPD)
Roel von Meijenfeldt is a political scientist by training with majors in public administration and international relations. He obtained his degree at the Free University of Amsterdam in 1972 and lectured in public administration. He was President of the Dutch Committee for International Youth Affairs. In 1970 he organized and presided over the first parallel NGO conference within the history of the United Nations family at the occasion of FAO’s Second World Food Conference.
He worked on international cooperation and globalizing markets within the trade union movement in The Netherlands and in the management of a national educational institute. In 1984 he moved to Harare, Zimbabwe, as the Regional Representative for southern Africa for Oxfam Novib. In 1988 he moved to Brussels, where he became the Secretary General of the Standing Committee of NGOs and managed an EU programme in support of the eradication of apartheid and the transition to democracy in South Africa and Namibia. Subsequently, he worked as an independent adviser on issues of democracy and development for several institutions of the European Union, wrote a report on ‘Democracy’s Development’ and helped establish the EU electoral observation system.
In March 1996 Roel was appointed Programme Director of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) in Stockholm, Sweden. In this position he designed and directed programmes aimed at the consolidation of democracy in new democracies. Under this programme, national dialogues about democratic reform processes were managed in countries around the world, including Indonesia, Nepal, Burma, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, the Arab region, the Balkans, Romania, Slovakia, and Guatemala. The programme developed an innovative framework for democratic development to guide international assistance for advancing democracy and produced national assessments for the aforementioned countries. He became an adviser for the World Bank on the application of the Comprehensive Development Framework (CDF), specifically in conflict-affected countries. From 2002 - 2011, Roel was Executive Director of the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD).
Roel is a member of the Steering Committee of the World Movement for Democracy (WMD), the Steering Committee of the NGO network of the Community of Democracies (CoD) and Chairman of the European Partnership for Democracy (EPD). He is co-editor of the recent publication Democracy: Europe’s Core Value?. Roel has produced numerous country democracy assessments and has hands-on expertise in facilitating national dialogues on democratic reform. He speaks regularly at international conferences about the state of democracy in the world and about the lessons learned in providing democracy assistance.
Photo by Marsel Loermans, 2008