Mercedes Zandwijken lived and worked in and out of the Netherlands, amongst which Sudan, Indonesia, Japan, the United States and Kenya. She was amongst others advisor employed by the UN, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the International Counseling Centre in Kobe.
As social activist, she is the initiator of the Keti Koti Dialoog Tafel (www.ketikotitafel.nl), a new tradition to dwell on the commemoration and abolishment of the Dutch slavery and the present-day consequences of that. Every year around the 1th of July, the day of the commemoration and celebration of the abolishment of the Dutch Slavery in 1863, the foundation Keti Koti organises diverse dialogue tables. In the meantime, some thousands of guests have taken place. In 2010 she received the Democracy Ribbon from the jury chairman mr. Deetman, for the foundation of the local thinktanks of social cohesion and integration, an instrument to involve marginalised groups with the decision making on a local level and the support of this process by stronger citizens.