Examples of outreach projects

This page shows a list of examples of collaborations with societal and governmental organisations before 2017. 

The Russian invasion of Ukraine

Donbass, Oekraïne © iStockphoto.com/klenger

In the early morning of Thursday 24 February, Russia officially invaded Ukraine after much speculation and many verbal threats. Former researcher of History of International Relations Laurien Crump has been a guest at several shows to clarify this historic event.

In the article The Russian invasion of Ukraine: its origins and how will it advance? we feature an overview of her media appearances in which she interprets the developments on the war. 

Historians' Days 2017

The triennial Historians' Days (Historicidagen) of the Royal Netherlands Historical Society were held in Utrecht in 2017, from 24 to 26 August. Three days full of inspiring lectures, debates and workshops about a wide range of topics relevant to present-day historians. The aim of the Historians' Days is to foster collaboration between all kinds of historical professionals and to jointly underline the relevance of studying history. The event is organised by a Utrecht-based committee in which, among others, Beatrice de Graaf and Jacco Pekelder participate.

Lectures on national television

Beatrice de Graaf geeft college bij De Wereld Draait Door
Beatrice de Graaf speaking at DWDD University

At the invitation of the popular Dutch TV show De Wereld Draait Door, Prof. Beatrice de Graaf gave two lectures which were broadcast on national television (DWDD University) and attracted over 1.2 million viewers. In her lecture on Terrorism (2016), she distinguished four waves of terrorism since the late 19th century and discussed how terrorist movements emerge and disappear. In the lecture on Espionage (2017), De Graaf explained the world of intelligence and security services.

Dare to be Grey

In this exciting project 21 students from Utrecht University under supervision of Prof. Jacco Pekelder created a social media campaign against polarisation in society: #DaretobeGrey. With this project, the student team competed in the international competition 'Peer2Peer: Challenging Extremism' 2016, sponsored by the US Department of State and Facebook. The students were able to raise considerable awareness of the problem and were met with international critical acclaim. In June 2016 the students were invited to present their campaign in Washington as one of the top six competing teams. The project was awarded the first place by Facebook and received a prize of $5.000, to be used to further the campaign.

TEDx talk Bob de Graaff

On 27 January 2017, Bob de Graaff delivered a talk for TEDx Sittard-Geleen. The theme of the event was Be Bright Together and in this context, Bob de Graaff talked about intelligence. Privatisation or individualisation of intelligence is upcoming and everybody will be affected by the consequences. The information gathered by intelligence services will not only be used by public and private actors but also politically. The talk, titled Formerly secret intelligence becomes ubiquitous, it'll disappear, can be seen here.

Counter-Narrative Programmes Aimed at Social Media

People are social beings. As such, they continuously influence each other. When like-minded people influence each other, supported by an ideology of violence, this attitude of polarisation can translate into a radical belief system, in which people justify the use of violence to reach political goals. Nowadays, these social influence attempts frequently occur via social media. This research project by Beatrice de Graaf (among others) aims to explore the role of the use of social media as a means to de-radicalise individuals who are potentially susceptible to radicalisation. Partners were Scientific Research and Documentation Centre (WODC), Ministry of Security and Justice.

The role of the flag on sea in the international relations

In the project 'Showing the Flag: the role of the flag on sea in the international relations of the early modern period' David Onnekink and Gijs Rommelse studied the role of flags on the international waters of the early modern world, in collaboration with the National Maritime Museum Amsterdam. The project aimed to combine maritime symbolism with the general history of the Dutch Republic, resulting in a publication (The Dutch in the Early Modern World: The Rise and Fall of a Global Power) with Cambridge University Press in 2018, as well as a number of international academic articles about flag presentation. 

Evaluation of Dutch National Counterterrorism Strategy 2011-2015

This evaluation, commissioned by the Scientific Research and Documentation Centre (WODC), aimed at providing insight in the contribution of the strategy in reducing the risk of attacks, the fear of attacks, and the potential damage of attacks. Main focus was on the joint intervention capacity: the joint capability of the organisations involved to deliver a targeted, legitimate and resilient contribution towards the aims of the strategy.

The strategy is evaluated by examining the drafting of national strategic plans, stimulation of cooperation between the national partners, and implementing a comprehensive approach at the local level. Finally, the evaluation provides input for the national counterterrorism strategy 2016-2020. Researchers were, Mirko Noordegraaf, Scott Douglas, Aline Bos, Wouter Klem, Beatrice de Graaf.

Ilsemann Diaries on Kaiser Wilhelm II

Commissioned by Museum Huis Doorn, Jacco Pekelder produced a source edition of the diaries of the Prussian officer Sigurd von Ilsemann, who accompanied the last German emperor Wilhelm II during his exile in the Netherlands after Wold War One (1918-1941). Together with 14 students of Utrecht University, working as interns at Doorn, he modernised an existing Dutch translation and added explanatory texts and an index. Next to this, Pekelder wrote an extensive introduction.

The State of Emergency and Threats of Terrorism

National French police in Paris

This research project initiated by Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek- en Documentatiecentrum (WODC) analysed the experiences of Western governments with calling out state of emergency in response to threats of terrorism. The main question was: “What are the political and societal consequences of calling out a state of emergency in response to threats of terrorism?” The researchers analysed the experiences of France, Belgium, and Germany, and provided recommendations for the Ministry of Justice and Security of the Netherlands. The interdisciplinary project is carried in a collaboration between the Department of Public Administration, the Law Department and the History Department of Utrecht University. Researchers include Mirko Noordegraaf, Marie-Jeanne Schiffelers, Scott Douglas, Jan Willem van Rossem , Niels Terpstra, Beatrice de Graaf en Henk Kummeling.

Refresher courses for History teachers

© iStockphoto.com/urbancow

Dr Laurien Crump initiated the organisation of an annual conference in which secondary school teachers of History are trained to prepare their students for the final exams in a creative and academic manner. This national event is hosted by Utrecht University’s Department of History and Art History together with the Utrechts Stedelijk Gymnasium.

Assessment of the Dutch Integrated Police Training Mission in Kunduz, Afghanistan

Afghaanse politie tijdens trainingsprogramma in Kunduz © iStockphoto.com/EdStock

This research, commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Afghan NGO Cooperation for Peace and Unity, monitors the impact of the Dutch Integrated Police Training Mission (IPM) in Kunduz, Afghanistan. The report is designed to identify changes in community perceptions of the justice system in Kunduz province within the context of the ongoing Dutch mission to build the capacity of rule of law institutions. Researchers: Mario Fumerton, Georg Frerks, Niels Terpstra and Toon Dirkx of the Centre for Conflict Studies acted as a review board and has provided oversight with regards to research methodology, data collection and report-writing processes. Centre for Conflict Studies additionally did the design, analysis and writing of case studies.