Initial Reflections

* This post marks the start of my Professional Master in Sustainable Development and Corporate Responsibility.


After leaving the “study bench”(literal translation from Dutch), more than 6 years ago, and having worked in very diverse areas (from truck driver to Market analyst), here I am again, faced with a new challenge. Why leave the love of my family, the comfort of a stable job and Curaçao, a great island in the Dutch Caribbean?


The main reason for this, is my growing questions about the world, poverty, fair business practices etc. Why was I getting the impression that most of the companies I knew talked about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) but had an approach close to Philanthrophy? Would they use these acts only as a marketing tool (“Greenwashing”)? What if CSR includes much more than that? These questions made me start reading more about CSR, attending lectures and seminars and finally I took the step to follow the International Master Sustainable Development and Corporate Social Responsibility at the EOI Business School in Madrid. Currently the master focusses more on Sustainable Development and as of February 2015 we will focus on CSR.

The process of discovering that I know so little about the world is fascinating. I hadn’t realised before that I was so influenced by the media. My perceptions have been challenged by for example: not all the Aid for Africa propaganda gives a real representation of the local situation. Take a look at this hilarious way of criticising the stereotyping of poor South Africans:

I had no idea that some African economists would prefer to refuse development aid, which has made me a great admirer of Dambissa Moyo. Sending help in the form of tangible stuff (food, medicines, blankets, tents) was, I beleived, the only and most efficient way to help in a disaster. But what if: “Relief is the enemy of recovery” (prof. O. Koeningsberger)? I never realised that the image of a white teacher (mostly in her early twenties), giving English lessons to a group of African children doesn’t have to be the standard picture.

I can relate so much to these post colonial development issues that arose after many African countries became independent. Curaçao and Bonaire, among the 6 islands in the Dutch Caribbean, still within the Kingdom of the Netherlands (the first as an independent country and Bonaire as a municipality), are the two Dutch islands I can relate with. How do the relationships with our Mother Country, The Netherlands, influence our sense of nationalism? What do the African Post Colonial thinkers have in common with our own Caribbean writers (Tip Marugg), poets (Pierre Lauffer) and scholars (Frank Martinus Arion) having an opinion about these relations? Expect to read more about Dutch Caribbean colonial thinkers and the colonial relationships I experience in my following posts.

This has been my dose of reality checks so far….Reality checks over and over again. I can’t wait to dive into the CSR world in February and get surprised even more. I’ll be posting on subjects of my interest from time to time, starting with a series of slogans derived from the class Natural Resource Management, my view on how Urban planning influences inequalities in a city and also on my feelings as a ‘Curapolitan’.

I’m looking forward to your ideas and comments.

Happy reading!



Esther Sedney


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