My name is Frederik Kok. I am 47 years old, married, father of two and I live in Geneva, Switzerland.
I’m a migrant. Born in the Netherlands, I (was) moved to Switzerland at the age of three when my father got a job in Geneva. Although my parents initially planned to only stay in Geneva for a few years, we never went back. With a Dutch father, a Swedish mother and an upbringing in Geneva, I was clearly always going to be a bit confused about my national identity. At a very early age I started to think of myself as primarily a European.
My education was almost entirely conducted in Geneva. After studying Political Science at the University of Geneva (1990-1993), I opted for a masters at the then Institut d’Etudes du Développement (IUED) which I completed in 1996. In between, I spent one year in Sweden where I completed a post-grade diploma in social sciences at the University of Stockholm. Recently, in September 2017, I went back to the University of Geneva for a one-year program focusing on digital communication management.
Although I had many « summer jobs » before and in between my studies, looking back, it seems my professional career really only started in 1994 when I volunteered with the Lutheran World Federation and spent 4 months in Tanzania working with Burundi and Rwanda refugees. I knew then that sooner or later I would end up working on forced migration issues. Between 1997 and 2000, I had various short-term professional experiences, including internships with UN agencies and working as a deputy communication manager for the Geneva state administration, but I was still looking for a real opportunity to get my career started.
That opportunity finally presented itself in 2000 when I got a job with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) office in Geneva. The NRC had just set up an information and knowledge center on Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and I was initially hired as an information/online communication officer. A few years later, I became Senior Regional Analyst for the south-east Asia region, a position I occupied until 2015.
During 2016, I had the opportunity to be a « stay-at-home dad » and spend invaluable time with my two kids while also strengthening existing or developing new skills and competencies. I also took on a new hobby which turned out to quickly become a passion: astrophotography.
I am currently finalising my Diploma of Advanced Studies in Digital Communication in Geneva, while working for the Swiss Refugee Council in Bern as a country expert.