Roel is a leading international expert on supporting democratic transitions and consolidation.

For three decades, he has worked for the advancement of democracy in over 30 countries on all continents. An active participant in the major international democracy networks, he has worked with all leading international organisations with mandates to support democratic governance.

Roel was the first executive director of the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) and led the organization for nearly 10 years. NIMD broke new ground in successfully working with the leadership of political parties across political divides in emerging democracies. Prior to NIMD, he held a senior executive position at the Institute for Democracy and Election Assistance (Int IDEA) and initiated the establishment of the European Partnership for Democracy (EPD).

Respect, integrity, flexibility, commitment and productivity are trademarks for which he is known internationally.

Democracy is vital to achieving peace and stability which in turn create the conditions for prosperity. However, democratisation is always fraught with risks. Through his hands-on involvement, Roel learned that the process through which democracy is pursued is the key to a successful and sustainable outcome.

For this reason, he helped pioneer the inclusive dialogue methodology in his work at IDEA and NIMD. Based on full local ownership – recognizing that democracy has to be built from within – these dialogues result in substantial consensus about national democratic reform agendas, including links to necessary economic reforms. It is inclusive, bridging the gaps between political formations, political and civil society, the private sector and the media. Where reform processes were blocked, his skills and expertise opened new avenues to move reform processes peacefully forward.