Who we are

Throughout history, societies have been connected to one another through expansive networks of knowledge, art, and innovation. Today, new technological infrastructures have enabled the latest iterations of these ancient networks and hubs. New Silkroads builds a new planetary knowledge infrastructure that connects artists, scientists and entrepreneurs to imagine alternative futures.


What we do

1. Fellowship programs:

♦  New Silkroads has developed various fellowship programs. Our latest fellowship program (2017 – 2019) targets influencers of social change in North Africa.

♦ The fellowship was initiated with Wasabi, What Took You So Short and the Creative Force initiative of the Swedish Institute. See website.

2. Fundraising:

♦ New Silkroads has conducted various mapping studies as well as program development.

♦ Between 2014 – 2019 we successfully raised over € 15 million in funding for foundations, social enterprises and art funds.



The Team

  • Helga Delaere


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    Helga Delaere holds a Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology and a Master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Amsterdam. She co-founded NewSilkRoads in 2009. As the director of NewSilkRoads and during previous jobs, Helga has been International Project Manager in a series of projects with multinationals and civil society organisations in both Europe and the MENA region. Examples are: Project Manager of the first Mediterranean Coworking Summit in Tunis in 2015, Coordinating the creative introduction of a new Dutch drink in Egypt via crowdsourcing, developing the creative skills of youth in the MENA region, or matching social investors with enterprises within the creative industry in the MENA region in cooperation with Hivos Impact Investment and the Mideast Creatives Fund.

  • Evert Faber van der Meulen

    Chief fundraiser

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    Evert Faber van der Meulen holds an Mphil in Islamic Studies from Oxford University and an MA in European Union Studies from Leiden University. He has lived and worked in both Cairo and Damascus. Evert has been strategic consultant to several organisations involved in the creative industries and beyond. He has extensive experience as lead author for institutional funding applications, for example the Hivos Mideast Creatives program (twice successful in 2014 and 2015). Furthermore, he is the author of a number of analyses and mapping reports on the creative sector in the MENA region and Europe, and of several academic papers. His fields of expertise include fundraising, creatives industries, EU – Middle Eastern relations, and Islamic law.


  • Rebeka Gluhbegovic

    Fundraising & Programme development

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    Rebeka Gluhbegovic holds a Masters degree from the University of Pretoria in International Relations and her research focused on civil society in Egypt during the uprising in 2011. She has lived and worked in Pretoria and Tunis. She is a consultant with a number of civil society organisations and has extensive experience in qualitative research, strategic development and program design in the fields of social entrepreneurship and youth engagement. She has also conducted research on transitional justice, conflicts in Africa, civil society and regionalisms.

  • Boudewijn Niels

    Board Member

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    Boudewijn Niels holds an LLM in Tax Law and an LLM in Corporate Law from Leiden University and studies Economics and Finance at the University of London. Boudewijn Niels is a sollictor with an international law firm and advises on tax and legal aspects of cross border mergers & acquisitions, joint ventures, restructurings and financing transactions. His fields of expertise include (international) tax law, commercial contracts and corporate and tax structuring of inbound and outbound (private equity) investments.

  • Arthur Steiner

    Chairman of the board

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    Arthur Steiner is an art historian working at the crossroads of contemporary arts, design and technology. He is researching and fascinated by the role of aesthetics in investigating our digital reality as well as the global forms of aesthetic and the geographic specificities of image manipulation, circulation and appropriation. He is the founder of the African Crossroads festival and the Digital Earth, through which he investigates the materiality and immateriality of the digital reality with 20 artists from Africa and Asia as well as Vertical Atlas which aims to publish a new atlas to navigate the complex techno geographies of the world today. In his hometown, Amsterdam, he is actively involved with the art space W139 and is organizing and curating exhibitions and lecture series in the Netherlands and around the world.


  • Monique Doppert

    Scouting & Risk Management

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    Monique Doppert has been responsible for the Hivos media and arts & culture programme in the Middle East. Therefore she has profound experience with the procedures of grant making; partner management and monitoring and evaluation. She extended her knowledge on M&E for media with a course at the Central European University in Budapest.

    At Hivos she coordinated the yearly extensive publication on internet governance in developing countries: GISwatch (Global Information Society Watch). Also she was part of the team that initiated and organized several Mideast Creatives events in Beirut, Tunis, Cairo and Amman.

    Monique started as a journalist at Folia Civitatis, the weekly for the University of Amsterdam. She has written a number of books, among others ‘Internetpioniers’ and the longread ‘Bassel: Behind the Screens of the Syrian Resistance’. This year she founded The Prospector, connecting people and organisations in the Middle East in the domain of creative industries.


  • Simon Lobach

    Fundraising & Programme development

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    Simon Lobach holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs from the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies in Geneva, and has worked for UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative for several years. In this role, he supported the governments of African and Caribbean countries in the development of green economy programmes. As a consultant, he has worked for organisations such as UNESCO, UNCTAD and USAID. He authored research papers on climate change adaptation and green economy policies in Latin America and the Caribbean. Having lived and worked in a variety countries, he is fully fluent in six languages and has ample experience translating technical documents in the fields of humanitarian and environmental affairs.


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