About

Servaas Feiertag Portrait
Photo: Joanna Kosowska

Philosophy

As an independent international consultant I aim to contribute something positive to the strengthening of good governance, rule of law, anti-corruption and integrity systems in an organisation or sector. It includes for me the do-no-harm principle and the commitment to fundamental and human rights.

You must always must be able to answer the “so, what?” question. With that I mean that every project must be relevant in the local context, work on concrete issues that matter to the people involved and contribute something that leads to positive change. Corruption, good governance and rule of law are complex, giant themes and you have to be realistic and practical about what you can do to solve problems, but you can start somewhere and nevertheless contribute step-by-step to the achievement of greater goals. This is well reflected in a popular African expression. “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time”.

The nature of my contributions varies a lot. Sometimes it is about sharing of technical knowledge and experiences in a specific area or doing research in close cooperation with national experts. Sometimes the role of an international consultant can be to raise issues that may be more sensitive and which would not be as easily accepted coming from national experts, who are part of the same national culture. It is always about seeking how you can promote to work on the basis of trust and respect to create synergies, stay relevant, promote learning and obviously contribute to concrete results and improvements that are useful to people and organisations.

Personal highlights

1994

Obtaining my LL.M from the University from Amsterdam, including a full year ERASMUS exchange at the University of the Grenoble, for which I received the Diplome de droit Francais

1994

Co-Founding of the @msterdam internet company. This was one of the first internetcompanies in the Netherlands.

2001

First trip to Sub Sahara Africa in Benin, in which I trained African youth organisations on the effective use of ICT, which was an experience to never forget.

2003

Joined the Center for International Legal Cooperation as project manager and legal consultant working in South East Asia and Sub Sahara Africa. Worked for example on access to justice in West Africa, on the strengthening of legal acedamic education in Indonesia and capacity development of the Ethiopian anti-corruption commission.

2009

Joined Transparency International, where I successfully contributed as a programme manager and technical trainer to the establishment and running of 30 ALACs in the Sub Sahara Africa and MENA region.

2011

Appointed as principal legal counsel and head of legal unit, practising law and dealing with the legal matters of an international NGO.

2014

Establishment of Servaas Feiertag Consultancy and implementing fascinating projects in Tunisia with the anti corruption commission INLUCC for CILC, the training of Cellules de Gouvernance for the OECD, identification and formulation of a justice programme in Zambia, training of a leading NGO in North Macedonia on advocacy and lobbying and more recently as lead expert in a MATRA project.

Previous employment

Since 2014 I work as an independent consultant, but before I have held various positions in both commercial businesses as in non-profit organisations.

In 1994 I cofounded the internet company @msterdam with a business partner. Later I sold my shares when I was recruited by Shell and later Philips.

I learned a lot from setting up a business and working in multinationals, of which I still benefit today. Nevertheless I wanted to pursue a career in international development cooperation and worked as a senior project manager and legal consultant for the Center for International Legal Cooperation (CILC) in the Netherlands. CILC offered me many opportunities to gain experience with projects promoting the rule of law, access to justice and justice reform in South East Asia, Sub Sahara Africa and Latin America for donors such as the Netherlands, the World Bank and the IMF. After 6 years I moved to the international secretariat of the NGO Transparency International (TI) in Berlin, Germany to join the Africa & Middle East department. In this position at TI I mainly worked on the set up and implementation of Advocacy And Legal Advice Centers (ALACs). The TI National Chapters were runing these ALACS, which seek to empower people to resist corruption and advocate for systemic change. It was a joy to work as a programme manager and technical trainer with the teams of more than 30 ALACs.

My last position as an employee was as the principal legal counsel of Transparency International, in which I practiced law, headed the legal unit and oversaw the legal matters that an international NGO is facing. A great experience to see how an international NGO works in its environments and what impact internal governance models can have.

From all my positions I have gained knowledge, skills and experiences that I apply in my activities and which have given me a good understanding of how organisations function in their environments.

Education

Diplôme de Droit Français, University of Grenoble, France, 1992

LL.M from the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1994

MSc. in public administration of Leiden University, Netherlands, 2012

Professional education in Marketing Communication B, 2000

To date I hold an LL.M (law degree) from the University of Amsterdam with an additional specialisation in media and information law and a MSc. in public administration from Leiden University with an emphasis on management of the public sector. During my law study I also took part in an 1 year ERASMUS exchange programme at the University of Grenoble for which I received the Diploma of French law.

In addition I received a professional diploma in marketing communication. It is my plan to pursue a new study in the course of 2020/2021.