HRH Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands: "An interactive dialogue with children: A new perspective on inclusive growth"

HRH Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands with OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría ©OECD

Princess Laurentien received her secondary education in The Hague and later at the Lycée Français in Tokyo, Japan, where she passed the Baccalauréat A examinations. The Princess studied history at the University of Groningen, completing her foundation year in 1986. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science at Queen Mary College, University of London, in 1989. In July 1991 she obtained her Master of Journalism degree at the University of California at Berkeley.

For the first part of the Coffees of the Secretary-General–organised with the Inclusive Growth Initiative–HRH Princess Laurentien facilitated an interactive dialogue between 15 children from the Dutch School of Paris (aged 11 to 15 years old) the OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría and senior OECD officials. Princess Laurentien is an expert on intergenerational dialogue, having founded the Missing Chapter Foundation which facilitates dialogue between children and decision-makers in companies and the public sector. Some 100 companies in the Netherlands already have a Kids Council.

Dialogue with children is, according to the Missing Chapter methodology, a topsy-turvy world: children talk and decision-makers listen. The overall goal is to make child inclusion the new normal, to increase the quality and depth of dialogue between different worlds and ultimately, to make decisions more future-proof.

Including young people into decision-making is only logical, says Princess Laurentien: “It is their universal right to be heard, according to article 12 of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. In addition, children are the future parents, clients, consumers, employees. And they have to live with the consequences of our decisions and actions way beyond our lifetime. Children are much more than the future. They are, as the late Polish pedagogue Janusz Korczak said: ‘Not only the people of tomorrow but citizens of today’.’’

The children analysed the following OECD dilemma: ‘What does the OECD need to do in order for its recommendations to be followed through?’ Princess Laurentien moderated the dialogue and the children shared their perspectives on how the OECD can ensure that its recommendations are followed through, on the ability to take and to provide advice, and on how to successfully lead an organisation.

Get the full transcript here

HRH Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría and OECD Chief of Staff Gabriela Ramos (from left) ©OECD


Short biography

Princess Laurentien received her secondary education in The Hague and later at the Lycée Français in Tokyo, Japan, where she passed the Baccalauréat A examinations. The Princess studied history at the University of Groningen, completing her foundation year in 1986. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science at Queen Mary College, University of London, in 1989. In July 1991 she obtained her Master of Journalism degree at the University of California at Berkeley.

Besides her official duties as a member of the Royal House, Princess Laurentien’s professional activities include being a Fellow of the European Climate Foundation, Special Advisor for Rewilding Europe for the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) and Senior Advisor to the Port of Rotterdam. In 2009 the Princess set up the Missing Chapter Foundation. In the same year she published the first in a series of children’s books which centre on a character called Mr Finney and deal with issues such as sustainability and climate change. The second book in the series was published in February 2011, and the third in November 2013.

Since late 2012 Princess Laurentien has been the President of Fauna & Flora International (FFI), a nature conservation organisation focusing on the protection of threatened animal species and ecosystems worldwide. The Princess was first associated with the FFI in 2003, initially as a member of the Executive Committee and then as Vice-President until she was appointed President.

Until 2003 Princess Laurentien worked in international communications, for companies including Weber Shandwick and Edelman PR Worldwide. Princess Laurentien has been active in promoting literacy since 2001. Stichting Lezen & Schrijven (the Reading and Writing Foundation) was set up on her initiative in May 2004. The foundation’s objective is to prevent and reduce functional illiteracy in the Netherlands and worldwide.

On 24 March 2009 Princess Laurentien was designated UNESCO Special Envoy on Literacy for Development. In this capacity, she acts as an advocate for the cause of literacy all over the world. In February 2011 the Princess was appointed Chair of the European Commission’s High Level Group of Experts on Literacy. The Group published its Final Report in September 2012, which included recommended actions for a structured European approach to tackling illiteracy.

On 1 January 2014 Princess Laurentien was appointed Honorary Chair of the Reading and Writing Foundation when Maria van Bijsterveldt-Vliegenthart, former Minister of Education, Culture and Science, took over the role of chair. In her new position the Princess remains closely involved with efforts to tackle functional illiteracy, in which she mainly steers the foundation’s international activities. These include partnerships with the European Literacy Policy Network (ELINET) and the Public Libraries 2020 programme.

As a member of the Royal House, Princess Laurentien holds a number of honorary posts: Patron of Reading Unlimited (formerly the Dutch Listening and Braille Library (NLBB); Patron of the Dutch language society Genootschap Onze Taal; Patron of the Centre of Expertise on Disability and Study; Honorary chair of the Association of Public Libraries; President of Fauna & Flora International (FFI); and President of the European Cultural Foundation.

Reading and Writing Foundation Website: http://www.readingandwriting.eu/

Missing Chapter Foundation Website: https://www.missingchapter.org/

©OECD Observer March 2018




Economic data

GDP growth: +0.6% Q2 2018 year-on-year
Consumer price inflation: 2.9% Sept 2018 annual
Trade: +2.7% exp, +3.0% imp, Q4 2017
Unemployment: 5.2% Sept 2018
Last update: 13 Nov 2018

E-Newsletter

Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the OECD by signing up for our e-newsletter :

Twitter feed

Suscribe now

<b>Subscribe now!</b>

To receive your exclusive paper editions delivered to you directly


Online edition
Previous editions

Don't miss

  • Globalisation will continue and get stronger, and how to harness it is the great challenge, says OECD Secretary-General Gurría on Bloomberg TV. Watch the interview here.
  • OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría with UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly, in New York City.
  • The new OECD Observer Crossword, with Myles Mellor. Try it online!
  • Watch the webcast of the final press conference of the OECD annual ministerial meeting 2018.
  • Listen to the "Robots are coming for our jobs" episode of The Guardian's "Chips with Everything podcast", in which The Guardian’s economics editor, Larry Elliott, and Jeremy Wyatt, a professor of robotics and artificial intelligence at the University of Birmingham, and Jordan Erica Webber, freelance journalist, discuss the findings of the new OECD report "Automation, skills use and training". Listen here.
  • Do we really know the difference between right and wrong? Alison Taylor of BSR and Susan Hawley of Corruption Watch tell us why it matters to play by the rules. Watch the recording of our Facebook live interview here.
  • Has public decision-making been hijacked by a privileged few? Watch the recording of our Facebook live interview with Stav Shaffir, MK (Zionist Union) Chair of the Knesset Committee on Transparency here.
  • Can a nudge help us make more ethical decisions? Watch the recording of our Facebook live interview with Saugatto Datta, managing director at ideas42 here.
  • The fight against tax evasion is gaining further momentum as Barbados, Côte d’Ivoire, Jamaica, Malaysia, Panama and Tunisia signed the BEPS Multilateral Convention on 24 January, bringing the total number of signatories to 78. The Convention strengthens existing tax treaties and reduces opportunities for tax avoidance by multinational enterprises.
  • Rousseau
  • Do you trust your government? The OECD’s How's life 2017 report finds that only 38% of people in OECD countries trust their government. How can we improve our old "Social contract?" Read more.
  • Globalisation’s many benefits have been unequally shared, and public policy has struggled to keep up with a rapidly-shifting world. The OECD is working alongside governments and international organisations to help improve and harness the gains while tackling the root causes of inequality, and ensuring a level playing field globally. Please watch.
  • Checking out the job situation with the OECD scoreboard of labour market performances: do you want to know how your country compares with neighbours and competitors on income levels or employment?
  • Trade is an important point of focus in today’s international economy. This video presents facts and statistics from OECD’s most recent publications on this topic.
  • The OECD Gender Initiative examines existing barriers to gender equality in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. The gender portal monitors the progress made by governments to promote gender equality in both OECD and non-OECD countries and provides good practices based on analytical tools and reliable data.
  • Interested in a career in Paris at the OECD? The OECD is a major international organisation, with a mission to build better policies for better lives. With our hub based in one of the world's global cities and offices across continents, find out more at www.oecd.org/careers .
  • Visit the OECD Gender Data Portal. Selected indicators shedding light on gender inequalities in education, employment and entrepreneurship.

Most Popular Articles

OECD Insights Blog

NOTE: All signed articles in the OECD Observer express the opinions of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of OECD member countries.

All rights reserved. OECD 2018