Stijn Otten: a short introduction

I am a business student who embraces market principles, but also have a trade-union heart. During the day often working in a suit, while in the evening tries go to an punk concert.  That’s me.

At the moment I am finishing a BA Master called Global Business and Stakeholder Management (GBSM) and I am a board member of the Dutch National Youth Council. Next to this I am part of the BKB academy in Amsterdam and about academy this column is about. Together with 24 other young people I am going to Israel to follow the general elections up close. In this weblog I will write down my experiences.

Preparation: Campaigning in Israel.

Wednesday the 4th of February

“Why do we chose by the masses on a person who looks like Harry Potter? Why do we buy products, from which we know they are made by children hands and inflict great damage on nature? Welcome in the wonderful world of campaigning!”

These are not my words, but they portrait the feeling I had of what  campaigning was all about.

I got interested in campaigning when one day I read a book about child labour and the same day I bought, without noticing, a t-shirt made in Bangladesh, probably made by child labour. Shortly after I had to get elected to the board of the National Youth Council made it clear for me, I wanted to know everything about campaigning.


Wearing my Bangladesh made t-shirt I applied for the BKB-academy. This academy learns you what campaigning is all about, period. Once a month we come together in a office in the Westerstraat in Amsterdam to get educated. People like Kay van der Linde and state secretary for defense Jack de Vries were among many who gave their presentation. Once every year the academy goes to an election somewhere in the world to see how the theory works in practice.

“That’s cool”

Ping! new mail message. We are going to…..Israel!” This was the first sentence of the mail I got a couple of weeks ago. “That’s cool” I thought. Others were a bit less enthusiastic, because the conflict on the Gaza strip just started. The picture of diving away from flying katyusha rockets was going through my mind. After the satisfying words of Ronny Raftaniel from CIDI that the rockets weren’t able to hit the places we were going the group started preparing for what was coming.

Soon a program was made. Seeing this program I can hardly wait to go to Israel and see with my own eyes how these special elections in this special country  will go.