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Meet the team 

Agustín De Julio

Agustín has been working as a PhD candidate at the Knowledge Platform since October 2021. He was born 30 years ago in Argentina but also lived in Peru for part of his childhood. Here he attended a traditional British school where one day he saw a poster of the University of Groningen. The poster showed a student sitting on the steps of the Academy Building. That's where I want to study, Agustín thought. He was accepted as a student and left for Groningen at age 18. Here he took the bachelor's in International Relations and in Leiden the master's in Public Administration. He quickly became interested in Dutch politics, governance, and policy. Agustín had several jobs, both in the North and in The Hague and Rotterdam, but now plans to stay "veur altied'' (forever) in Groningen.

Agustín is an avid cyclist. This goes well with his interest in the province of Groningen. Cycling, he discovers new places. Furthermore, in his own words, he is a "bad musician''. He plays a little bit of everything, but keyboards and synthesizers are his favorite. Other interests include soccer and languages. He is currently trying to master his Grunnings (language of Groningen).

A future in Groningen

As soon as Agustín chose for a future in the Netherlands, he decided to learn the Dutch language. Groningen's culture and history increasingly appealed to him. During a bike ride in 't Ommeland, he spotted a house supported by struts for the first time. "It's interesting. As a foreigner, you think that in the Netherlands everything is well organized, but then it turns out there are also problems here.'' From then on, he followed the gas extraction case closely. Agustín had an idea for a PhD research project and started emailing professors. Eventually, he ended up with Tom and the Knowledge Platform. He was given one hour to pitch his research. However, this turned into an extended conversation about politics in Groningen. But perseverance wins, because after a year and a half there was a spot at the Knowledge Platform and his research could start.

 

Greatest achievement in life

Agustín is researching a specific part of the social impact of gas extraction: the restoration of trust between all parties in Groningen and reconciliation. How can you get this done? He uses the transitional justice theory to do this. He also delved into the history of the dossier and followed the parliamentary inquiry very closely. He laughingly calls reading all five volumes of the report Groningers boven gas his “greatest achievement in life.'' Agustín is also very fanatical in attending events in the province. Besides that, he occasionally writes a blog or opinion piece. These articles are accessible and non-scientific because he finds it important to share his ideas with the outside world and reduce the distance between science and society.

 

A unique case

Studying an ongoing case, such as the gas extraction case, is unique for researchers. "Everything is still in progress and changing all the time.’’ Agustín hopes that in time his work will have an impact and contribute to improving policy and thus the lives of residents. In addition, he thinks science can learn a lot from the situation in Groningen. 'The problem takes place in a rich country that has many resources, yet the government fails to solve it. This is interesting because most transitional justice research looks at countries that have few resources.’ 

 

Wonderlaand

Together with Hedwig Sekeres, Agustín creates the English podcast Wonderlaand - Stories from Groningen. "Simple, with a microphone and our best intentions.’’ Telling stories about Groningen, together with guests, in an accessible and informal way. Stories with diverse themes such as: music, sports, great figures from history, and gas extraction. Agustín wants everyone to get to know Groningen, including new residents. He has big plans for Wonderlaand. His bucket list includes a live podcast recording with guests such as Freek de Jonge, Arjen Robben, and his biggest dream: Pé & Rinus.

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