GENEVA – SEPT 16, 2021 – The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) welcomes cyber policy expert Marietje Schaake to its foundation board, strengthening the private diplomacy organisation’s initiatives to counteract the damaging effects of online hate speech and misinformation on conflict mediation, peacemaking and elections. 

Schaake, a Dutch former member of the European Parliament, is international policy director at Stanford University’s Cyber Policy Center, policy fellow at Stanford’s Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence and president of the CyberPeace Institute.

In 2020, she joined the Real Facebook Oversight Board, an independent group of experts distinct from Facebook’s own oversight board.

HD’s board, chaired by Espen Barth Eide, sets the mission and general policy of the non-profit foundation and provides overall supervision of the Swiss-based organisation’s administration and peacemaking programmes in more than 50 conflict zones around the world. The 14 members sit on the board on a voluntary and private basis.

“With the growth of HD’s innovative work on digital and technological aspects of conflict, Marietje’s practical and policy experience will be a tremendous asset as cyber attacks, online aggression and manipulation of information become potent tools of war,” Eide said.

“HD looks forward to making full use of her insights and perspective to help reduce tensions, curtail online harm and promote better social media conduct.”

Schaake – already a member of HD’s digital experts group driving innovative thinking and collaboration among mediators, researchers, policymakers and social media platforms – has co-authored papers on the impact of social media and technology and writes regular columns for the Financial Times and the Dutch newspaper NRC. 

This year, Politico Europe said “Schaake is the voice to listen to on both sides of the Atlantic” and ranked her in its annual Tech 28 list.

Between 2009 and 2019, Schaake was a member of the European Parliament for the Dutch party Democrats 66 where she focused on trade, foreign affairs and technology policies. She is affiliated with various non-profits including the European Council on Foreign Relations and the Observer Research Foundation in India.

She holds an MSc in American studies from the University of Amsterdam.

The digital conflict programme is part of HD’s global projects to reduce the human suffering caused by war and foster comprehensive peace agreements that create the conditions for stability and development for people, communities and countries.

HD has facilitated three landmark digital accords in recent months:

  • Social media code of conduct around local elections in Indonesia in late 2020
  • Social media peace agreement among three ethnic communities in central Nigeria in July 2021
  • Social media code of conduct around local elections in Kosovo in September 2021