Anne de Graaf's blog: International-Intrigue-Injustice

11 May 2015

My TEDx AUCollege talk is online!

Filed under: Aids survival,PhD!,The Children's Voices,Words by Others — annedegraaf @ 12:30 pm

me at tedx in audienceWhat a great privilege it was to speak at TEDx AUCollege on 6 March 2015. To get an idea of what makes me tick, watch what I say about The Children’s Voices. Click here!

A big thank you to everyone who made this magic evening come together, and especially to my family who were there as support. (You can see them in the front row!)


6 August 2014


Filed under: PhD!,Thin and Thick Places,Write on — annedegraaf @ 4:29 pm

time clocksWhen my big, fat, beautiful new 40-hour-a-week job at Amsterdam University College (AUC) became 60 hours a week this last year, time took on a different dimension. As I listened to my students, as I graded papers and exams, as I lectured on international relations, human rights, global identity, violence, and conflict, the best days were the ones when I was very present. I saw smiles. I watched eyes. I listened to the rain against the skylight above my desk. I tasted cool water. I heard questions and sought answers. I laughed. I have had the privilege of watching as students from all over the world expanded their borders, and with courage, learned to ask the questions that cannot be answered.

During the summer break I’m finishing my PhD. This last year trained me well: do the next thing and trust. All is well. Soon, soon, soon I submit.

It’s not that time is infinite, you see, but when the fear and anxiety of thinking about the past and future pass, all that is left is timeless present.

I see. I hear. I understand.

I live. I laugh. I love.

22 September 2013

Change of direction

_69699014_arrows_thinkstockSo is this up, or have I turned left? More than a year since my last post. Why is that? Look at the title of that entry, take away the first, second and fourth words, and you’ll have your answer.

And now…now I have a new job at the Free University and University of Amsterdam’s honours college: Amsterdam University College (AUC). Am in joy working with new colleagues from all over the world, and teaching my new students: so smart and engaged and multilingual and caring. They come from South America, all over Europe, Vietnam, and Pakistan.

We’re slogging our way through the theory now, but soon, soon they’ll be flying–choosing their own directions as we learn together how to better understand the world around us. Such a privilege to be part of that process. I threaten them with midnight phone calls, when I’ll ask them random questions about International Relations (IR):

  • 1648? (Westphalian Treaty)
  • The one sure rule in IR? (Don’t invade Russia in the winter.)
  • What is IR about? (Perspectives).

I’m a fulltime Lecturer at AUC–all IR classes, from the current IR Theory and Practice to next semester’s Human Rights and Human Security to Violence and Conflict, as well as Global Identity. Dream classes all–and with only 25 students per class. Started 1 August and feel very at home. So that’s good.

Direction is relative, right? One person’s up is another’s down. And left in the mirror looks like right. Yet, while all the gurus tell us change is good, it remains hugely threatening. BECAUSE WE’RE NOT IN CONTROL.

So my advice: Let go to lay hold.

And don’t look back.

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