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Meet our team | Alexander Medik

Alexander Medik is Manager Quality, Learning & Innovation at PartosFurthermore, he is a board member of Partos member UNOY Peacebuilders and founder of the innovation academy Disrupt Development. What drives Alexander’s commitment to impactful development cooperation? 

11 januari 2022

Intrinsic motivation

Both positive and less-positive experiences have shaped me as a human being. At a very young age, I was faced with the precarious nature of core values such as equality, freedom, inclusion, safety, well-being, peace and justice. These are values that I deeply relate to on a personal level, for I have learnt that they are not a given in life. These values also formed the backbone on which the international development system was built upon. These values, and the understanding that these are not always a givenbecame my mojo and define my extensive dedication and intrinsic motivation to work towards a more socially just world. For every child, every person, and every family.

At a very young age, I was faced with the precarious nature of core values such as equality, freedom, inclusion, safety, well-being, peace and justice. These values became my mojo.


I was born in Tbilisi, Georgia, in the late 80s – back then known as the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic. During this restless periodthe Soviet Union was crumbling and so was my family’s socialist dream. In the heyday of Georgian socialism, education, health care, and even cinema were free for all citizens. My grandfather, a crowned and famous airline pilot for Aeroflot, earned as much as the neighbour who was working as a barber. Almost an idyllic society with maximum economic equality, right? Not really, because it came at the cost of basic freedoms and human rights.

The Soviet Union was crumbling and so was my family’s socialist dream. It came at the cost of basic freedoms and human rights.

Arrival in the Netherlands

In the early 90s, Georgia declared independence from the Soviet Union, leading to exploding nationalism in an ethnically diverse country. Inter-ethnic violence and wars broke out. My family had to fear for our lives and there was zero hope for a better and safer future. We were forced to flee Georgia and via Prague, we illegally travelled to the Netherlands by train. 

My parents refused to let them walk all over us and used their countervailing power to give us a better future.

After two years in various asylum centres, we were placed in a small village in the Netherlands. We were the first foreigners and refugees in the village. The priceless support of ‘Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland’ and hospitable neighbours and friends has been our survival. Nevertheless, I did feel excluded and inferior. Throughout primary and secondary education my sister and I were always treated differently by teachers, due to our migration background. “We do not trust that your child can do pre-university education because he is a migrant” a teacher once told my parents, despite my high grades. Luckily, my parents refused to let them walk all over us and used their countervailing power to give us a better future.  

Academic & professional background

I am a political and social scientistDuring the last decade, I have worked as an international development entrepreneur. Passion and curiosity have pushed me to learn as much as possible about the international development system. 

Are we doing things right, or are we doing the right things?

Hence, I’ve worked on topics ranging from peacebuilding, human rights, democratisation, economic empowerment to HIV/AIDS, gender equality, digitalisation, and education, in different positions ranging from manager, business developer, relationship manager, grant-manager, to programme developer, M&E officer, lobbyist, trainer and researcher. You name it, I did it. Exploring how we can do things better has been a common thread throughout my academic and professional career. One crucial question defines this exploration. Are we doing things right, or are we doing the right things? 

Working at Partos

Working in development cooperation is not just a job. It’s a deeply felt calling. And where better than at Partos can I answer to that calling and help Dutch development organisations to work towards a more socially just world by sparking collective action? As an association for development organisationsPartos holds a unique position in the Netherlands – a country that is among the top investors in development globally. My aspiration is to better tap into the ingenuity and entrepreneurship of our members and their constituencies in order to re-imagine a new and more equal and socially just system for international solidarity. These objectives can easily be achieved within the next 5-10 years if you would ask me. The main ingredient? New leadership styles.

We hold the power and it’s our responsibility to radically transform our belief systems regarding leadership.

Just like my parents did during my childhood: tapping into our countervailing power to create the future we want to see. Walking our talk. Systems, donors, implementers, and governments do not change by themselves. It’s you and me who are the drivers of change. We hold the power and it’s our responsibility to radically transform our belief systems regarding leadership. Inspiring examples are Feminist and Servant leadership models that provide a good entry point for individual transformations. Once our collective leadership styles will start to change, we will observe that our organisations, the system and our support base will also change, for the better. 

Exploring leadership styles

This year, I will embark on a journey to explore current leadership styles by interviewing leaders and experts of member organisations and partners. Co-creation of new leadership principles for and with the sector is within our reach. Change for the better is looming on the horizon.

Got a story about new leadership? Or do you want to join Partos on this explorative journey? Drop me a message at



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