Petra Stienen is an author, independent advisor and a former diplomat. She worked at the Netherlands Embassies in Egypt and Syria from 1995-2004, at the Gender division 2004-2005, and was the deputy head of the North America Division 2005-2009. After she left the Foreign Ministry in 2009 she established her own business as an independent advisor for various clients in the field of democracy, diversity and diplomacy to governments, ngo’s and companies. She is one of the thought leaders in the Netherlands on European relations with the Middle East and gender. She is an established public speaker and has won a number of prestigious awards for her work.
Petra Stienen is the author of two books on the Middle East (in Dutch): Other Arab Voices. Towards a new future in the Middle East? (2012) and Dreaming of an Arab Spring. A Dutch Diplomat in the Middle East (2008). In her third book (2015) Back to Thundermountain she returns to her home town in the southern part of the Netherlands. The main theme is how does Europe deal with differences and diversity in our inner cities. Her fourth book on Charisma will be published in september 2019. In addition to her books she contributes regularly to newspapers, magazines and websites.
Petra Stienen is board member of various organisations such as the contemporary Art Bonnefanten Museum, What design can Do, Atria Institute on gender equality and women’s history and Action for Hope. She studied Arabic and Middle Eastern studies at the Universities of Leiden, Cairo and London. One day a week she is a senator for the social-liberal party D66 (focus asylum and migration, labour market). She is also a member of the Netherlands delegation to the Parliamentary Assemblee of the Council of Europe.