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Djeyhoun Ostowar

Working on a better and more just world.


Djeyhoun Ostowar participated in the Humanity in Action Fellowship in 2009 and has maintained a connection with the organization and its core goals ever since.

As someone with first-hand experience and an understanding of migration-related challenges, he volunteered with the Netherlands Refugee Council and set up a project to help asylum seekers who had exhausted all legal remedies to learn English and build a life in a different country. During his studies, Djeyhoun focused on the field of human rights, and also completed an internship with the Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace at the St. Yves Catholic Center for Human Rights in Jerusalem. Upon his return to the Netherlands, he organized a series of seminars on the humanitarian and human rights situation in Israel and Palestine to share his observations and connect his academic network in the Netherlands with experts from/on the region. 

In a similar fashion, as part of his Fellowship, Djeyhoun organized a seminar titled ‘Afghanistan 2015: An Uphill Road?’, for which he secured funding from the National Committee for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development. At this seminar, he brought together experts and senior government and military officials, including the Ambassador of Afghanistan in Brussels and Honorary-Consul of Afghanistan in the Netherlands as well as Dutch civilian and military officers who served in Afghanistan, to discuss the security situation and reconstruction of the country. 

After the completion of his Fellowship, Djeyhoun graduated summa cum laude from University College Roosevelt (Middelburg, The Netherlands), obtained an MPhil in International Relations from the University of Oxford as a Weidenfeld Scholar, and continued with a PhD on transitional justice and peacebuilding at King’s College London. During his studies and research, Djeyhoun interned and worked for various institutions, including the United Nations, European Council on Foreign Relations, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. He chaired the Afghanistan Society in Oxford and led a charity project involving a transfer of hundreds of academic books from Oxford to Kabul. He stayed involved with Humanity in Action, joining the 2011 International Conference in Berlin, and vice-chairing the HIA Senior Fellow Network of the Netherlands from 2013 until 2014. Djeyhoun:

“All of the HIA events I have attended, be it in the program itself, an annual conference or an annual dinner have been interesting and worthwhile in their own right and way, tackling specific (and often underexplored) issues.”

For Djeyhoun, participating in the Humanity in Action Fellowshiphelped to further confirm the importance and relevance of working on and collaborating with others for a better and more just world.” This is apparent in his professional life, where, as a diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, he gets to center these values every day. His current posting at the Netherlands Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, his previous posting in Saudi Arabia, which focused on Yemen – and his posting before that in Ukraine – a flashpoint of international confrontation and European security -, as well as his position at the Netherlands MFA’s Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights Department, have all revolved around the topics of conflict resolution, conflict prevention, peacebuilding, (economic) development and human rights – themes that are also reflected in his academic research.  

In November 2020, Djeyhoun published a book in the field of contemporary security studies titled ‘Transitional Justice in Peacebuilding: Actor Contingent and Malleable Justice’. The book, based on his PhD research involving fieldwork in, amongst others, Kosovo, East Timor, and Afghanistan, discusses a central theme in transitional justice, peacebuilding, and interventions more generally, which is the relationship between the local, external and transnational actors in the processes of the determination and shaping of relevant outcomes. With this book Djeyhoun hopes to help advance the debate and shed light on some of the existing confusions and contradictions.