Board Members

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 Koen Vliegenthart | Chairman

Koen was born in Rotterdam, Holland, in 1953. After retiring as Financial Director of Zeeman textile Supers, Koen spends his time supporting a number of charity organisations focused on developing countries, like the microfinance organisation Oikocredit and Save the Children India. He also runs his own foundation, called Elishua which supports small health care projects in the Dominican Republic, Ghana, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. 

In Egypt, Koen has worked with World Servants, an organisation that facilitates three-week summer working vacations for a predominantly student clientele and has been involved in the construction of many girls homes and schools in the past decade, especially in the Beni Suef region. It was through this philanthropy that Koen came in contact with Cornelis Hulsman and his organisation and became (and remains) very enthusiastic about their ideas and goals. That is the reason why Koen joined the Stichting Arab West Foundation as a board member in 2005 and became its chairman in 2011.

Koen can be found on LinkedIn.

 Dick van der Steen | Secretary

Dick van der Steen joined the board of Arab-West Foundation in April 2010; however he has been aware of the activities of AWF since the summer of 2000, when he invited to a lecture presented by Cornelis Hulsman in Den Haag. As van der Steen recalls “I found his presentation on Christians in Egypt and their place in Muslim society fascinating.”

He believes in the work of Arab-West Report is of major importance because of the many similarities seen between Egypt and the Netherlands, which are both pluralistic societies with peoples of many different backgrounds.

Aside from the similarities there are also differences. Egypt’s Christians have lived since the beginning of Christianity in Egypt. That is another reason why Dick remains so fascinated by this topic. “We are dealing here with an ancient church with roots to the first century A.D. The Egyptian church has a played a major role in the development of world Christianity and they are, rightly, proud of such a history.” Where the church and the bible attracted van der Steen to Egypt (Egypt is mentioned over 600 times in the Bible), the work of Arab-West Report has helped him deepen his understanding of contemporary Muslim-Christian relations in Egypt.

Dick was a member of the diaconate of the Christian Reformed Church in Den Haag-West in the Netherlands, where for a majority of the time he was treasurer. His background includes IT for admin-support and management support systems which he brings with him to Arab-West Foundation.

Dick van der Steen can be found on LinkedIn.

Martin Schipper | Treasurer


My name is Martin Schipper and I'm the treasurer of the foundation. I'm from the Netherlands and involved in the foundation because of it's importance. I believe that all together we can make the world's attitude to change into a better one. 

These days it's very important that the West and the Arab world get to know each other better. Since I lived in Egypt for a couple of months some years back I got interested in the Middle East. It's sometimes very hard to understand what is going on there. Even if you are in the middle of it. I'm not talking about war or violence, but just daily life. Things are different in the West and the Arab World and one thing that's very important in partnership is acceptance and understanding from both sides. I found that one major burden in understanding each other is the fact that language is different. But also religion is something we need to learn about. 

AWF is focusing on these subjects and more. I truly hope that you will get to know the Arab World and the West better through the efforts of the AWF.


Advisors to the board

Cornelis Hulsman | Director

Cornelis Hulsman is general director of Arab West Foundation's sister organisation, the Center for Intercultural Dialogue and Translation (LLC) and Deputy Chairman of the Center for Arab-West Understanding. He also heads the office of the Stichting Arab-West Foundation in the Netherlands and executes decisions made by the board. For his resume click here.


Eildert Mulder | Advisor

Arabist and journalist. He served as editor with the Dutch Daily Trouw from 1984-2015 and focused on the Middle East and Islam. He has known the work of Cornelis Hulsman since the 1970s. He witnessed the foundation of Arab-West Report in 1997 and used the documentation for several of his articles. He joined the board as advisor in 2015.



Previous Chairmen
Stichting Arab West Foundation would like to thank its former chairmen Ayad Mossad (2005-2008) and Dick Parlevliet (2008-2011).