Birgitta Tazelaar is the Director of the Middle East and North Africa Department at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a career diplomat with 25 years experience in political affairs, human rights and development cooperation. Birgitta has worked in The Middle East, Southern Africa and the UK in a variety of bilateral and non-governmental organizations, in both advisory and senior management posts. Before her current job as director MENA, Birgitta was head of Mission in Ramallah managing amongst others a sizeable development cooperation program and organizing the first bilateral forum between the Netherlands and the PA at PM level in Bethlehem including Dutch companies and Universities. From 2008-2011, Birgitta was the political counsellor at the Dutch Embassy in London, responsible for foreign policy areas ranging from security files such as NATO and nuclear, to EU external policy and various crises areas worldwide. Other postings included deputy head of the human rights division in the Hague where she was active on promoting women’s rights in the UN and spokesperson for the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Before joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Birgitta worked amongst others the for Netherlands Development Agency, mainly in Botswana working in regional planning. Birgitta studied Human Geography in Utrecht and did research in Kenya and Spain.