Petra Stienen is an author and independent advisor. She worked as a human rights diplomat at the Netherlands Embassies in Egypt and Syria from 1995-2004. After she left the Foreign Ministry in 2009 she has established her own business as an independent advisor for various clients in the field of democracy, diversity and diplomacy to the government, ngo's and companies. She is one of the thought leaders in the Netherlands on European relations with the Arab world. She is an established public speaker. In February 2012 she won the 'Women in the Media Award 2011' for her work on the Arab revolutions on TV and radio in the Netherlands.
Her second book (in Dutch) Other Arab Voices. Towards a new future in the Middle East? was published in September 2012. Her first book Dreaming of an Arab Spring. A Dutch Diplomat in the Middle East was published in April 2008. In addition to her books she contributes regularly to newspapers, magazines and websites. Petra Stienen is board member of various organisations such as CARE International and Masterpeace. She studied Arabic and Middle Eastern studies at the universities of Leiden, Cairo and London.