Petra Stienen is an author, independent advisor and senator for Democrats66. She worked as a diplomat at the Netherlands Embassies in Egypt and Syria from 1995-2004. After she left the Foreign Ministry in 2009 she established her own business as an independent adviser for various clients in the field of democracy, diversity and diplomacy to the government, NGO’s and companies. She is one of the thought leaders in the Netherlands on European relations with the Arab world. She is an established public speaker and has won a number of prestigious awards for her work. Petra is the author of numerous books on the Arab world, among which “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. In addition to her books she contributes regularly to newspapers, magazines and websites. Petra Stienen is a board member of various organisations such as Action for Hope, What Design Can Do and was a board member of Masterpeace and Care International . She studied Arabic and Middle Eastern studies at the universities of Leiden, Cairo and London.