An Influential Leader, A Catalyst For Change and Peace
It is difficult to describe Saskia Harkema in a few words, and even more difficult to pin down. A great educator who serves as a role model for many. As the title says, Saskia actually works day and night to bring a wave of change, a ray of hope in everyone’s life, which is why she is adored by all, men, women, and youth alike.
Saskia was born in the Netherlands to Dutch parents, but she spent the first 17 years of her life in South America – Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia. Her roots are firmly entrenched and defined in South America, where she was born and reared. Her time in South America laid the groundwork for her future development and progress. The changes she had to make to new situations were difficult. Her parents were daring individuals, which explains why they chose to live in South America in the first place. It may appear exotic from the outside, but it was a doubleedged sword. She has two lovely children, a boy and a daughter, whom she adopted at the age of four.
She piqued her curiosity about human rights. Balancing her work with her personal life has always been a challenge. On the one hand, it was really thrilling for Saskia to spend some time somewhere and to explore a foreign culture that none of her family was born into. On the
other side, it has its drawbacks, since she struggled later in life to discover her cultural identity and feeling of belonging. She frequently questioned herself— “where do I belong?” She has become a world citizen, who blends easily anywhere.
She quoted – “I felt restless in myself and rootless and wanted to find out how to solve this. It has been an inner struggle – I belong everywhere and nowhere at the same time.”
She studied sociology and began her work as a consultant and then as international project manager Europe at Philips Lighting,. Gained practical and academic knowledge in the broad field of marketing and project management there. Saskia eventually earned a degree in Business Administration from the University of Bradford and transitioned into academics and teaching. She received her Ph.D. in 2004 from the University of Nyenrode in the Netherlands. Saskia has proved her hands-on and academic expertise in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the years
Saskia had always wanted to be a part of something significant, to accomplish something for the greater good, and to develop a knowledge-centric force in society. Through her nonprofit Faces of Change, she has been assisting migrants, refugees, and disadvantaged persons in finding their place in society and realizing their ambitions for the past few years. Saskia is also a World Ambassador to The Netherlands for World Peace Tracts, a Female Wave of Change Ambassador for South America, and a Global Leader at Market Leaders International. She also lectures at many institutions across the globe, runs programs, and does research in the fields of Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Diversity. Her main interest is in people, who are at the heart of both her academic work and her work as a human rights defender. Like everyone else, she has experienced disappointments in her life, but she has gained the capacity to impact people’s lives by presenting herself to them in her flaws, vulnerabilities, and by sharing all of the ups and downs in her life. In general terms, she believes that is our journey in life: to become who we truly and in essence are. It’s like a battle between what transactional theory refers to as our “natural kid” and “our little professor.” The latter distances us from our true selves and encourages us to adapt, conform, be good, and obey.
Saskia aspires to be a transformation and renewal pioneer. Ideas for a range of topics flow to her effortlessly and in plenty. Her career is her passion, and it all revolves around innovation and change. She maintains that she has established a unique method for peacebuilding that has the potential to generate a paradigm shift in our understanding of peace.
Her most recent book ‘Become a Peacebuilder and Impact Leader’ describes the methodology she and her team members of Impactleaders international, developed. It’s a simple but powerful message: let us all work together to achieve peace and perceive it as a value proposition. She may expedite change and build a critical mass to work on this Economy of Peace by transferring knowledge and creating a community of Peacebuilders and Impact Leaders. Her ultimate goal is to achieve this.