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QUAQUAvErSAL The annual magazine for the University College Alumni Association | Volume 6 | 2008

Space out!

Features articles to stimulate your mind >

UCUniverse | From idealism to reality | Murmurator Sustainability: Your responsibility | UCU young diplomats Bad Santa? | Change | People | and more!

Contents Letter from the editors |


How accurate are your precious UC memories? |


UCUniverse |


Through the kaasstolp |


Reflections by a parting dean |


Murmurator |


Grad school at John Hopkins |


From idealism to realism |


Sustainability: Your responsibility |


University College: Take two |


Answering 5 questions |


Bad Santa? |


‘Het Blanke Zwart’ |


People |


On my Way |


Events Team |


Human Rights Violation of the Baha’is in Iran |


UCU young diplomats |


Change |


Colophon |


Letter from the editors We’ve always wondered whether or not the Quaquaversal is something UC

Dear Alumnus/Alumna,

alumni actually enjoy reading and receiving, but after placing an add in the Once again we are proud to present to you this year’s edition of the Quaqua-

newsletter requesting you to update your address so that you could receive

versal - a bit of a different format than what you are used to, but made with

the Quaquaversal at the proper address, we knew we had hit the jackpot.

the same enthusiasm and creativity as always.

There was a massive response. To be honest, a little overwhelming even… But, what was even better than all the addresses that were updated were all the enthusiastic e-mails from alumni after they had actually read the Quaquaversal. These positive responses give us a reason to continue with our efforts to produce the Quaquaversal each year, including this one. And, it also made us realise that since you are so positive about the Quaquaversal you probably would not mind receiving it twice within half a year… However, don’t get your hopes up and think that this is going to become a tradition. Unfortunately limited financial resources don’t allow for it, and at the same time… we have enough things to keep us busy during the year! Enjoy this year’s edition and warm congratulations to the class of 2008! Until next year! Danielle Langeveld ‘03 Milla Paalanen ‘07

How accurate are your precious UC memories? tographs can create false memories.

Annelies Vredeveldt ‘07

However, what you may not expect is We all have certain memories of our time at UC, some of them good and

that true photographs have the poten-

others undoubtedly not so good (I will not bring up Dining Hall food again).

tial to elicit false memories as well! In

But do those memories really represent genuine experiences? Since I have

one study, people were asked to try to

started my Master’s research in New Zealand, I am not so sure anymore. My

remember a childhood story, allegedly

research is about false memories, and from the literature on this topic it has

provided by a family member. In reality

become clear that people can come to believe completely false events, even

the story was false and, as you might

without pervasive brainwashing practices. The classic example is that people

expect by now, a significant number

can come to remember getting lost in the mall as a child, merely as a result

of people reported a false memory of

of imagining that event during a couple of suggestive therapy sessions. How-

it. However, the striking finding was

ever, getting lost in the mall seems relatively harmless, and you could even

that when people were shown a genu-

argue it actually happened to you and you are just recovering a real memory.

ine class photo from that time period,

However, researchers have gone as far as to implant false memories of being

they were more likely to develop a false memory for the event. So rather

attacked by a vicious animal or being saved from drowning by a life guard – events that cannot so easily be dismissed as probably having happened.

than helping their memory, the photo made it worse! How do we explain this unexpected finding? Well, it is likely to be a combination of factors (isn’t it

Reading about these pretty impressive laboratory findings got me thinking: if

always?). It could be that the false story became more believable once it was

it is possible to implant such improbable, and relatively traumatic, events, it

accompanied by a real photo, or that it was easier to speculate about the

is not unreasonable to believe that some of our own memories are false, or

story with the help of the photo, or that the perceptual details of the photo

at least distorted. So which of my own memories did I make up or did I in-

blended with the imagined story, making it more compelling. Either way, it is

corporate as my own personal memory after having heard someone else tell

quite scary that photographs can have such detrimental effects.

the story? How can I know which of my memories are genuine? (Obviously, another question is whether I even want to know…) You may suggest that

So, next time you are retrieving happy (or not so happy) memories of UC, be-

I look at old photos – they are objective, are they not? Well, turns out they

ware! Even though it may seem to have really happened, and the photos sup-

are not. Unsurprisingly, some studies have found that seeing doctored pho-

port your story, it may all just have been a product of your imagination…


‘...the striking finding was that when people were shown a genuine class photo from that time period, they were more likely to develop a false memory for the event.’



UCUniverse is here

UCU’s alumni affairs: past, present and future René Janssen ‘06 How many alumni do we have in

As soon as she began her work at

However, there is more to UCUni-

2025? They are the most important

UCU, Marilyn Verkleij and the UCAA

verse. By inviting a select group of

ambassadors of the institution, what

sat together to discuss alumni re-

academic and professional partners,

are we “doing” with them? These

lated affairs, and, most important-

we will be able to offer research

are just two of the questions that we

ly, how to professionalise it. One of

projects, internships and vacancies

were asking ourselves almost a year

the first issues that became clear is

to all those interested. Additionally,

ago now. I will talk you through the

that it is of the utmost importance

UCUniverse gives us the opportuni-

what, why, and who, but let me give

to keep track of all of UCU’s alumni

ty to announce social, professional

you the answers first: approximately

and their whereabouts. Moreover,

and academic events to the entire

5000, and UCUniverse.

all parties wished to increase the

UCU community, while at the same

interaction and communication be-

time asking for feedback afterwards.

Allow me to take you back in time.

tween UCU, the UCAA and all alum-

All in all, UCUniverse is an online,

As most of you are aware of, Univer-

ni. However, how does this work in

social platform for all those affili-

sity College Utrecht opened its green

practice? How does one go about

ated with UCU. Its aim is to cherish

gates to students in 1998. As such,

achieving this?

and expand the UCU network, from which you will, hopefully, be able to

the first small group of students, a staggering 17 graduates, tossed their

This is where UCUniverse comes

benefit socially, academically and

caps in the air in 2000. Pro-active

into play. As some of you may recall,


as UCU students are, as early as

some two years ago UCommUnity

the last months of the past millen-

was launched, an interactive plat-

By the time you are reading this,

nium, preparations had begun on

form for all UC students and alum-

UCUniverse should have been

the formation of a University College

ni. While it was functioning prop-

launched after having been a work

Alumni Association, and as a result

erly, its success was enormous and

in progress for well over half a year.

of this, the UCAA saw the light early

almost all the reactions to it were

Hopefully many of you have made

in 2000.

positive. Learning from, and hoping

the effort to visit the website at

to go beyond this success, various, register, and

Although there have been ups and

companies specialised in alumni

check what it is all about. We are,

downs, over the past eight years the

affairs were approached. Looking

however, aware of the fact that not

UCAA has managed to maintain, at

at many options, investments, but

everything did go flawlessly: you will

the very least, a database of all UCU

most importantly at the current

have encountered errors or issues

alumni. Moreover it has managed

UCU alumni community and how to

that you did not expect. We hope

to publish its annual alumni maga-

involve it best, in September 2007 a

that you understand that UCUni-

zine, the QuaQuaVersal, sent out

contract was signed with Formedia

verse is a very new manner of deal-

regular newsletters with updates and

to develop and integrated alumni

ing with alumni affairs: in fact, we

news, and it has organised seasonal

approached, something which we

are the first university in Holland to

drinks. On a less regular basis other

soon coined UCUniverse.

attempt anything on this scale. In this light, we hope you enjoy the

events, with a social, academic or professional character, have been

Formedia, UCU and the UCAA have

benefits of UCUniverse, but that you

organised as well, though on an –ad-

been working for well over half a

do not hesitate to contact us and

mittedly – more ad hoc basis.

year now on UCUniverse, an on-

give us feedback on the progress so

line, interactive platform for all UCU

far. As, in the end, what would the

In the meantime, UCU also realised

students, alumni, staff members,

UCU network be without you?

the importance of maintaining alumni

teachers, tutors, and affiliates of

relations. As you may very well imag-

UCU. With this platform we can,

ine, though, being the first liberal arts

first and foremost, keep track of

college in the Netherlands, alumni

all alumni and their whereabouts.

affairs have not been on top of the

Moreover, alumni will be able to

priority list from the beginning. In the

see what paths other alumni have

fall of 2006, however, UCU appointed

chosen, and hopefully benefit from

Marilyn Verkleij, who, among other re-

this. The same holds for current

sponsibilities, was responsible for the


With this platform we can, first and foremost, keep track of all alumni and their whereabouts. Moreover, alumni will be able to see what paths other alumni have chosen, and hopefully benefit from this. The same holds for current students.

alumni policy of UCU.


UCUniverse facts UCUniverse ( is an online social platform for all students, alumni, staff members, teachers, tutors and academic and professional partners of University College. It has been built for UCU and is maintained by Formedia, a company specialising in alumni affairs.The data in UCUniverse’s database are maintained by UCU and the UCAA collectively. All the data you have supplied will be used for alumni related matters only, and shall not be sold or given to any third party without your permission. You should all have received registration information for UCUniverse by email. However, if you have not received this information or have any other, technical or different, question, suggestion or remark, please do not hesitate to contact us at

The Opte Project > ‘This project was created to make a visual representation of a space that is very much one-dimensional, a metaphysical universe. The data represented and collected here serves a multitude of purposes: Modeling the Internet, analyzing wasted IP space, IP space distribution, detecting the result of natural disasters, weather, war, and esthetics/art.‘


Through the kaasstolp Joost Sneller ‘03 Many alumni seem to have found their way to The Hague, the administra-

try of Foreign Affairs (see elsewhere in this magazine) and from the National

tive capital of the Netherlands and legal capital of the world. Currently, about

Anti-terrorism Coordinator to the Netherlands Court of Audit. Four alumni

30 alumni are working in The Hague. This makes it one of the most densely

share their views.

alumni populated cities. What lured them, what do they do and how did they get there? Have they found comfort under the ‘Haagse kaasstolp’ (cheese

The consensus is that the walls are as high as you make them yourself.

dome) as an upgraded version of the fence sealing them off from the real

The Hague is a fun city with plenty of places to chill out and the beach is a

world since the city is, just like UCU, renowned - infamous? - for being some-

stone’s throw away, so it’s relatively easy to never get out. The fact that The

what of an inward-looking bubble? Or is it because of the diverse organiza-

Hague is the seat of government has its advantages - if politics is your thing.

tions they have joined, ranging from the National Ombudsman to the Minis-

Iris Smalbrugge (‘04): “Almost everyone you encounter works either with or for the government in some way or another. That gives it a nice vibe.” But Amsterdam and Utrecht are less than an hour away and several alumni commute from there. Iris works as international officer for D66, a social-liberal political party. She is responsible for the relations with affiliated parties around the world and manages the D66 democracy foundation. This entails organizing trainings and conferences for sister parties in Eastern Europe and Northern Africa to help them prepare for elections or EU accession. Gessica Bearzatto (‘03) also works for a political party. She is personal assistant to Charlie Aptroot, Member of Parliament for the liberals of the VVD and spokesman on economic affairs. Gessica assists him in a wide variety of tasks, such as prepping him for meetings or debates, but she also does administrative work. Gessica says her liberal arts education with its interdisciplinary view has proven very useful in her job: “A policy maker can never focus solely on one side of a story. A good plan also needs to take into account


‘The consensus is that the walls are as high as you make them yourself. The Hague is a fun city with plenty of places to chill out and the beach is a stone’s throw away, so it’s relatively easy to never get out.’

other angles, like the legal aspects, the environmental consequences and the

Finance, Development and Investment Management. Taking full advantage

economic consequences. The courses I took at UCU have taught me how in-

of the fact that ING operates globally, he will soon move to their office in

terrelated all these different areas are.”

Paris to manage shopping centers throughout France and Belgium on behalf of institutional investors. Martijn explains: “I could not have envisioned my

Leontine Specker (‘04) agrees. As a student at UCU she wished there’d be

current role within real estate four years ago. It is, however, an interesting,

more opportunities to focus on one specific field, but as a research fellow at

challenging and fast-growing sector providing many opportunities. UCU pro-

the Clingendael Institute’s Conflict Research Unit (CRU) she benefits greatly

vided a solid basis for my specialization at the Master’s level in International

from her broad background. The CRU specializes in applied research on the

Business and Business Economics in Real Estate Finance. The interaction

nexus between security and development with a special focus on fragile and

with other cultures and points of view and the willingness to work hard to

post conflict states and provides policy recommendations. This requires a

achieve one’s goals, are giving UCU alumni an edge in any line of work.”

comprehensive approach. “UCU also taught me to never take something at face value and not accept the status quo if there’s room for improvement.

Gessica misses UCU’s international environment; the open and broad view

This critical attitude helps me a lot right now.” Iris found it stimulating that

people have on the world. Working at the Dutch parliament she has found

people at UCU were ambitious and eager to work hard to achieve their goals.

that national politicians don’t pay enough attention to the European and in-

She’s got one suggestion though: “I believe UCU should focus a little more

ternational dimension. She makes up for it by meeting up with her friends

on providing students with work experience. I really missed that after I grad-

from UCU. At work she also regularly runs into other alumni. All four alumni


have this experience. It’s a small world. Iris: “I run into UC alumni everywhere. Not just in The Hague, but all over the world. I love it!” But because

Interestingly, most alumni have found an international angle to their work

you’ve got to help chance a little bit sometimes, UCAA’s the Hague chapter

even though they are based in The Hague. Both Leontine and Iris travel fre-

organizes a borrel every couple of months. Everybody working or living in

quently for their jobs. Martijn Hop (‘04), who is one of the few alumni in The

The Hague is welcome to join and meet up with other alumni. You update

Hague working in the private sector, has been employed in Milan, Warsaw,

your records at UCUniverse and we’ll keep you updated on new activities.

Bucharest and Frankfurt since he enrolled in the ING Real Estate Management Traineeship a year-and-a-half ago. He has worked for the business lines

Reflections by a parting dean Hans van Himbergen / Dean UCU One day, long ago, I joined the first dean in walking his dog. Rover, I presume, wanted to dash into the park, but knew he would be dragged along, so that his boss could daydream standing at the gate of the ‘Kromhout Kazerne.’ In front of ‘Jan Primus’ he balked and just sat down, but the leash brought him back to reality. Today, UCU is a thriving college; a dream no more. What have we achieved and what lies ahead? What, and perhaps who, do we want to be and how does this involve UCU? The period of establishing the grand design of liberal arts and sciences in an environment that was not used to it, let alone comfortable with it, lies behind us. Once a beachhead, it has gained solid support and proved (you proved it!) to be successful. In light of education in Europe, the idea of ‘bachelor-master’ is slow to take hold, and every


‘... I realized that while it is time to pass the dean’s load onto another’s shoulders, there is one thing I, and many others, will always seek out: the joy of interacting with people who make the most of their talents.’ chance lost for students to express their talents, to be mobile in search of

To me, this is the essence of liberal arts education. I am not worried so much

the best opportunities, should be regretted. A liberal arts education, as such,

about sacrificing the spirit of liberal arts to all kinds of ‘specific demands’ on

remains one of many roads leading to Rome. To be aware of this lies precise-

the UCU curriculum. In my view, the lucky circumstance that we work in this

ly at the heart of what we have achieved at UCU: the student should be the

very flexible context of liberal arts offers opportunities to safeguard an excel-

architect of her or his education, not the teacher, nor the institution, as long

lent level of education for every student. Delivering this while maintaining

as there is one guiding principle for all: quality.

high quality across the board should be our challenge.

Our quality is visible in what we offer: choice of content and commitment.

Quality also requires resources and organization. This is obvious, but UCU’s

UCU’s ‘level achieved’ was officially cited as ‘excellent,’ as was our ‘suc-

situation is precarious. During my term, we grew to full capacity while turn-

cess rate,’ when our formal accreditation was finally established last January

ing from a pioneering institution into a largely professional organization.

by the Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Board; a first in academic undergradu-

Our budget is presently in order; the students themselves already finance

ate education in the Netherlands, and more importantly, an honor bestowed

some of the international value added, including a significant scholarship

upon us at the recommendation of an international panel of assessors en-

program to maintain a unique and interesting global community on cam-

dorsed by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association

pus. In time, we will undoubtedly have made so many true friends that we

of Schools and Colleges in the USA.

can start to raise some extra funds as well.

The fact that a personal curriculum can be constructed from over 180 differ-

While the Dutch government is cutting investments in the education of non-

ent courses in virtually all fields of study attracts students. They tell us so in

EU citizens, even though it wants the Netherlands to lead in innovation, we

their motivation letters. Commitment means that all involved are really fo-

fight to maintain, even strengthen, our excellent quality in an increasingly

cusing on achieving the best possible learning experience. A recent applicant

competitive international environment: more international guest teachers;

told us that she read about us in the New York Times last year. One of our

no decline in prominent, full professors; funding for educational activities,

students explained how, already, our selection process gave him the feeling

including civic engagement, that fall outside the regular course program.

that UCU really cared about his talents and ambitions, and valued his ability to share with others.

The extra fees, (a modest amount by international standards, apparently an outrage in the eyes of those who hold quality of education hostage in a sad

These features are now cornerstones of our international advancement pol-

political debate), that students already pay should be relabelled as ‘tuition

icy, aimed at a stronger multicultural community than the one we have al-

fee’ so that UCU can just add them to the general budget, and use them

ready accomplished in merely ten years. Once our recruitment efforts have

to maintain quality across the board. Trusting that this will happen, and

reached the sophistication that our international competitors in the ‘market’

stretched to the limit already, we have started hiring more people to better

for English language education have practiced for decades, we will be able to

organize the quality that we promise and that others expect.

attract even more students from different cultures who are strongly committed to a UCU education.

Finally, quality needs to be nurtured and shared. Some of the investments just mentioned, ranging from career development to alumni relations, serve

The true mark of excellence, and undoubtedly the measure of it in the next

this purpose. We will meet on UCUniverse. It is gratifying to see how well

assessment, is that engineering content and fostering commitment reaches

our alumni are doing, how enthusiastic they are to share their experiences,

all of our students. For instance, writing a thesis based on a research proj-

how successive generations of students are first inspired by and then follow

ect or internship, has (only) recently become a general requirement. A major

in the footsteps of their predecessors.

challenge now is to find specific avenues for every single student to shine. The premed preparation is one example, and the recently established ‘trans-

Recently, I had the pleasure to attend one of the first meetings of the “The

national law program’ is another.

Hague Chapter” of the UCAA. There, everything that I just discussed, fell into place, and I realized that while it is time to pass the dean’s load onto an-

The latter is anchored in our liberal arts philosophy, but goes a step further.

other’s shoulders, there is one thing I, and many others, will always seek out:

It combines a choice of courses with a semester on exchange dedicated to

the joy of interacting with people who make the most of their talents.

the same topic, along with entrance into a graduate program abroad, for those who care to make all of these choices. Many more of these initiatives

UCU flourishes and is exciting because now as much as a decade ago, there

might be considered and tried out, not just focusing on the course curricu-

are many opportunities to grow (even) better. We should lead by example,

lum, but by broadening the scope to the internships that are developing

share good practice, and above all, compete for the sake of quality and va-

rapidly now, for instance. It is one thing to cherish the best results and the

riety of choice. We should be ourselves, and that at our very best. Then stu-

highest achievers and boast about it, but indeed, our true objective is to offer

dent demand will do the rest, at UCU, and in every other setting where stu-

all of our students the satisfaction of an experience in which they may catch

dents, teachers and staff are as focused as we are on high-quality education

a glimpse of the true measure of their own capabilities, and gain the confi-

as a work of art and on the artists’ drive to share their accomplishments.

dence and resolve to use them responsibly.


that Murmuratur is Latin for it is being whispered that this allows me to spread gossip or to preach without fearing for my life, or worse

that a religious room will opened on campus soon that there will be no preaching in there, but that religion can be professed in silence

that hmm... public university? trias politica?

that whatever, I do not daresay anything

that since Wilders that or Van Gogh that, not continuing this list any further, the Dean, Hans van Himbergen, became grandfather early this year

that ooollllllllddddd that speaking of old: UCU is already turning 10 next year

that its second lustrum will be celebrated that may we please try to introduce a Dutch word in the English language

that never mind that, according to a not-so-famous rapper, ‘Apartheid is het meest bekende woord uit de Nederlandse taal’

that deciding on the lustrum theme let to a heated debate that on the first day of the lustrum Hans van Himbergen will hand over his Deanship to Rob van der Vaart that you are all invited to this farewell / goodbye event that this sounds like ‘The King is death, long live the King!’ that comparing Deans to Kings might seem farfetched that Deans ought to understand that being Dean is not a totalitarian job

that what does Rob van der Vaart think about that? that that’s a question that isn’t posed in his interview, which is available on UCUniverse

that we are very happy with UCUniverse

that there are interviews, daily updates and interesting companies that you can keep in touch with old friends, classmates, housemates and professors

that you all should register that some tutors seem to have a lot of trouble doing so that this is 2008 and that they should be ashamed of themselves that in this very year a University College will open in Amsterdam

that UCU should not be worried, as it is entirely different

that not broad, but with quite a narrow focus that the Roosevelt Academy in Middelburg is exactly like UCU

that apart from campus, obviously that even the same staff works there: Hans Adriaansen, Paul Hermans, and as of August also Jeannette Gels

that who is next? that Maarten Diederix, the housemaster who used to be a mailman and worked on an oil rig? that Gert Pater, the facility manager, who brings home t-shirts for his two daughters when having gone on holiday? that or Lieke Schreel, the registrar, who after having suffered for ages due to a car accident is finally fully recovered?

that I don’t know, but that I do wonder why people are willing to trade Utrecht for Middelburg

that there is more that I wonder about that, for instance, why the UCU buildings are named after Reijnaerde de Vos

that international campus??? that why College Hall’s youngest employee is also its baldest?

that why there are alumni working at College Hall at all? that why there are alumni who are still confused about what they want to do after their Master’s programme since UCU now has it own Career Development Officer?

that why College Hall only picked up on alumni affairs after some eight years

that we are glad that they, at least, did that is always good to kiss some ass in the end

that indeed, this is the end that oh, not quite, time for some own ass kissing that the UCAA hosted a successful The Hague-drink for those working/living in the Hague

that they also want to start an Amsterdam chapter

that and a London chapter that if you are willing to help with this you should contact them at

that something with kissing, and the end

that byyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee 09

Grad school at Johns Hopkins is frowned upon in the Netherlands

neuroimaging and computational

quired to gain exposure to teaching

for attracting ambitious intelligent

modeling). Specifically for my areas

by serving as Teaching Assistants

students, these same characteris-

of interest, I wanted to work with Dr.

(TAs) for undergraduate courses

tics are seen as assets in the United

Brenda Rapp, who studies stroke

for four of the five years.This places

States, and I felt ready for the chal-

patients with specific language im-

us in a mentoring position vis-à-

lenge. Most science PhD programs

pairments. She uses neuroimaging

vis undergraduates whom we can

here are joint Master’s and PhD

and neuropsychology to test theo-

also employ as research assistants.

programs with full funding for the

ries on the location of certain lan-

I expect to have an undergraduate

entire five years. This is particularly

guage functions in the brain, as well

research assistant for the summer

significant in a country where the

as how language itself is organized.

who will assist me in the analysis of

average graduate school tuition bill

While research is a main compo-

the neuroimaging data I have been

is around $35,000 per year!

nent of this program, we are also

collecting. It is striking how different

expected to fulfill certain course-

their undergraduate experience is

One of the reasons I chose Johns

work requirements, including, but

from ours at UC. Johns Hopkins in

Hopkins was that the PhD program

not limited to, Formal Methods and

particular has a strong focus on re-

I graduated from UC in 2005 with

is based in a true cognitive science

Foundations in Cognitive Science,

search, and it’s incredible to see the

a Bachelor of Science degree, and

department, rather than in either a

Statistics, and Computer Science.

opportunities these students have.

a particular interest in Cognitive

psychology, linguistics or neuro-

Neuroscience and Linguistics. After

science department. The idea of a

What I love most about being in an

ing research, serve as paid research

working for two years as a psycho-

cognitive science department is to

interdisciplinary department is the

assistants, attend lab meetings, and

metrician at Massachusetts Gen-

study the mind and brain from the

diversity of my colleagues’ back-

work as undergraduate TAs. I now

eral Hospital (MGH) in Boston, last

perspective of cognitive neurosci-

grounds. In my year (of only six stu-

realize how much I would have ben-

September I entered a PhD program

ence, psychology, linguistics, phi-

dents) alone we have undergradu-

efited from such opportunities as an

in Cognitive Science at Johns Hop-

losophy, and computer science. The

ate degrees in computer science,


kins University JHU) in Baltimore,

department at JHU focuses specifi-

psycholinguistics, developmental

MD. The reasons for choosing this

cally on language and does research

psychology, cognitive neuroscience

While working harder than ever be-

program all tie into my UC studies

from a theoretical standpoint. Do-

and philosophy. These differences

fore in my life, I am also finding it

and subsequent work experience.

ing research can be interesting in

are extremely helpful and interest-

satisfying and rewarding. There is,

I knew that I wanted to pursue a

itself, but being able to answer fun-

ing when we have to work on group

of course, a downside to being at a

career in this field, but was not yet

damental questions in cognitive sci-

projects for class. I can also say that

top-tier school: it sometimes seems

certain about the type of higher de-

ence through the research we do is

I have never been this intellectually

as though everyone is perfect and

gree I wanted. I was fortunate to get

particularly satisfying. The way the

challenged before in my life. I am

on a fast-track path to success. It’s

a job at the MGH neuropsycholo-

program is set up, we are required

sure this has to do with the level of

sort of like UC, but even more in-

gy clinic in Boston, where I worked

to do two research projects before

coursework in part, but even at the

tense. I am still working on finding a

with patients with a wide range of

starting our dissertation work. For

undergraduate level a lot is expect-

balance in all of this. I do, however,

neurological disorders. While work-

these two projects we are expect-

ed from students.

feel as though UC has prepared me

ing in this clinic I realized that I was

ed to work with at least two faculty

specifically interested in clinical re-

members from different subfields,

Besides doing research and taking

search. Though University College

using different methodologies (i.e.

classes, all graduate students are re-

Marieke Obdeyn ‘05

They can obtain course credit by do-

as much as possible.

Peatswamp forests are home to hundreds of different tree species

Due to logistical problems large amounts of timber remain unused in logging concession areas

From idealism to reality

A tale of transition1

Adinda Ceelen ‘07 In May 2007 I graduated from UCU.

struck by the devastating tsunami of December 2004 to assist in the devel-

Instead of directly enrolling in a Mas-

opment of a rights-based approach training manual,.

ter program I felt it was time to cast aside the academic books and theories

On the whole, this internship was a great experience because it served as an

and to gain some practical experience

introduction to the humanitarian domain. Within two months after I start-

in the field. Equipped with the knowl-

ed at CARE I had gained substantial insight into the reality of development

edge acquired in UCU’s development

work. In Locke’s classrooms we may have spent hours debating various

courses and the idealism that is char-

theories, but we hardly touched upon the real practicalities. My internship

acteristic of a fresh college graduate, I

was incredibly valuable in this regard as it allowed me to gain a more realis-

was ready to be engaged in real devel-

tic perception of development work and its complexities. At an institutional

opment projects.

level, I acquired a better understanding of the context in which development (I)NGOs function. As an idealistic college student I was oblivious to the mul-

In August I started a four-month in-

tiple constraints and corollary repercussions. One such critical constraint

ternship in Jakarta at CARE International Indonesia, an international non-

is donor-dependency, which has limiting impacts both quantitatively and

governmental organization (INGO) active in the fields of emergency relief,

qualitatively. I now realize that while projects naturally link to the vision and

community development, and health. My internship comprised three main

mission of an (I)NGO, the design of the project ultimately conforms more

tasks. Firstly, I was involved in the Central Kalimantan Peat-lands Project

to the desires of the donor than to that of the implementing body. This links

(CKPP) which is concerned with the exacerbating environmental degradation

directly to the fact that (I)NGOs are essentially like any other business, oblig-

in Central Kalimantan and the increasing risks it poses to the livelihoods of

ing them to establish survival as their prime objective. Meanwhile, the prolif-

the poor. Secondly, I researched the possibilities of mainstreaming the latest

eration of humanitarian and development organizations has led to increased

development paradigm: the rights-based approach. Lastly, I assisted in rou-

competition and altered project acquisition strategies. Many development

tine tasks such as the writing of proposals and progress reports.

organizations feel necessitated to try to appeal and appease donors by em-

My internship at CARE offered me numerous wonderful opportunities, including the chance to travel to unique destinations. In September I visited Dusun Mangkutup (Central Kalimantan), a hamlet participating in CKPP. It took six hours by car and two hours by boat to reach the isolated community. In Dusun Mangkutup I was reminded of the ever-increasing gap between rich and poor. There is no electricity and no access to clean water in the hamlet. The people use the mercury-ridden river as a latrine, and its water for washing, showering, and in some cases even for drinking. I spent one week in Central Kalimantan and it was one of the most incredible experiences of

‘Many development organizations feel necessitated to try to appeal and appease donors by employing fashionable concepts such as community empowerment, community-based, participatory, and rightsbased approaches.’ 2

my life. In October I had the opportunity to visit Aceh, the province that was


The Central Kalimantan Peatland Project (CKPP) >

Peatswamp forest fire in Berbak National Park, Sumatra

Huge quantities of easily combustible materials remain in many fire degraded peatlands

‘Donor-dependency and the lack of coordination and cooperation combined with other complexities certainly undermine the overall quality and sustainability of humanitarian and development efforts.’ ploying fashionable concepts such as community empowerment, communi-

erlands Red Cross Society (NLRC) in Jakarta I am directly involved in a di-

ty-based, participatory, and rights-based approaches.2 Likewise they venture

saster risk reduction program in East and West Jakarta – two areas that are

into areas that donors are prioritizing, such as climate change adaptation

annually struck by flooding of up to 2 meters high. In our project we seek

and disaster risk reduction. Unfortunately, these entities do not always pos-

to reduce communities’ vulnerability to disaster and enhance their capacity

sess the expertise needed for such endeavors, nor do they receive the time

to cope and recover. A central component of the strategy was the establish-

reasonably required for successful implementation. Similarly, I also gained

ment of Community Based Action Teams, which have been trained in evacu-

awareness of field-level complexities in development work. The case of post-

ation skills, emergency management and disaster risk reduction activities.

tsunami Aceh uncovered numerous imperfections the emergency relief and

During a training session last week I sensed the genuine enthusiasm of the

development world suffers from. In the first months of rehabilitation, relief

community-members who eagerly shared their experiences in helping each

and development organizations were frantically “flagging” their territories

other during flooding last December. These communities want to learn how

and activities, instead of cooperating and coordinating their efforts. Although

they can enhance their own capacity in relation to disasters and disaster risk

today one finds an increasing number of partnerships, such lack of coordina-

reduction. The local ownership of the efforts seems to contribute to a certain

tion and cooperation still persists throughout the country. Similarly, we are

level of sustainability. Meanwhile, at a greater scale the relief and develop-

currently living in a development era in which much emphasis is placed on

ment world is aware of its flaws and commendable efforts are being made to

new concepts (e.g. accountability and transparency) and new areas of prior-

address the shortcomings. Retrospectively, I am more than content with my

ity (e.g. climate change mitigation and disaster risk reduction). Various orga-

decision to become an intern. Firstly, I have had numerous interesting expe-

nizations are struggling in designing appropriate guidelines and tools. This

riences visiting Kalimantan and Aceh, attending workshops and conferences,

is a challenging process, but unfortunately organizations have the tendency

and meeting different people from all walks of life. Secondly, my internships

to reinvent the wheel, rather than to cooperate by sharing successes, failures

served as excellent opportunities to gain practical skills relevant to develop-

and lessons learnt.

ment work, including better knowledge of the approaches and frameworks, lay-outs of proposals, reports and manuals, and facilitation techniques used

Donor-dependency and the lack of coordination and cooperation combined

during workshops and trainings. Lastly, both internships are extremely valu-

with other complexities certainly undermine the overall quality and sustain-

able in that they provide me with enhanced insight into the reality of devel-

ability of humanitarian and development efforts. Of course not all imper-

opment work. I believe the knowledge and understanding gained in the field

fections in the development domain are attributable to the implementing

will boost the quality of my future academic endeavors. Similarly, I have ob-

entities or their relationship with donors. The conditions in which develop-

tained a better-defined vision of the career that I aspire to have. All in all, my

ment organizations work are oftentimes also unfavorable. In Central Kali-

experiences at CARE and NLRC have been highly fruitful for my personal as

mantan limited availability of electricity (let alone mobile phone signal and

well as professional development.

internet) complicates implementation. In some ways these realizations have rendered me pessimistic. Yet the present imperfections validate our desires to continue working in the development domain. Moreover, note must be made that the situation is not as bleak as I may have portrayed it. Not all of our efforts have been without result. For my current internship at the Neth-

The views expressed in this article form the personal opinion of the author. They do not represent the positions of CARE International Indonesia or the Netherlands Red Cross Society. 2 Though note must be made that not all the concepts are donor priorities and that some, such as participatory approaches, have been advocated by various INGOs and NGOs for decades. 1

Sustainability: Your responsibility UCU Career Conference Agnes Venema ‘06 After almost a year of brainstorming sessions, preparations, seeking con-

For us, the UCU Career Conference has proven to be an enormous success,

tact with businesses, guest speakers and deciding upon a general theme,

not in the least demonstrated by the number of applicants. With companies

the first annual Career Conference, jointly organized by the UCSA, UCAA and

such as YER and BCG, but also the Dutch ministry of Foreign Affairs, De Oost

University College Utrecht took place on Friday, April 11th 2008. Needless to

Tailors and guest speakers providing food for thought from different angles

say, the organizing team was excited, but most of all curious to see how this

and different fields of work in several round table discussions, the conference

event would be received by the critical UCU student and alumni population.

proved to be diverse and appealing to a large number of students.

All expectations were met and more when a week before the conference, double the amount of expected participants had applied. But, back to where it all began: the big black hole that any UC student will eventually fall into, which is the big bad world outside of the green gates. Some have a very clear picture of what they want to do, be it a master, work, or take a sabbatical. Others came to UCU with a broad interest and leave with even more options and careers to pursue in life. This problem has not only been recognized by the UCAA, but also by College Hall, which is why they have appointed a Career Development Officer, Bas Defize – PhD in biology and extremely enthusiastic to organize anything that will help students draw out their plan for their respective careers. The keynote speaker, Drs. J. Kortenhorst (MBA) opened the conference by

‘Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a way of working which can be found throughout all branches and occupations and almost every company in the world and which is closely linked to sustainability and ‘fair’ products’

providing an interesting speech informing the public on the general trend surrounding CSR and innovations that have been made by corporations. After the plenary address, all participants broke up into groups to participate in the workshop or round table discussions that they had been assigned to, ranging from a workshop teaching you to dress to impress, to a workshop inspiring participants to create a CSR partnership between a company and – for instance – an NGO. The day ended with an Italian buffet in order to provide some food for our stomachs, as well as time to reflect upon the various workshops and – where possible – do some networking.

Whilst preparing this conference, there were a number of issues the organizing

We – the organizing team for this year’s Career Conference – thoroughly

team wished to tackle: it had to be appealing to all majors – from mathemat-

enjoyed putting in long hours, Monday nights filled with discussions, tem-

ics to literature, from psychology to development studies – in order to guaran-

plates, lists of phone numbers, participants and workshops, topped off with

tee that students and alumni would actually show up. Furthermore, we wanted

a slice of pizza. We hope that for those of you who participated, it was a fruit-

this career conference to be different – different from what you get at the UU,

ful and fun day and for those of you who should be jealous of all the stories,

at the National Career Fair, different in the sense that it’s not another recruiter

that you will join the next edition. We would hereby also like to thank all the

telling the same story he always tells. This is the reason why we decided to

volunteers that helped make this event become a success.

have a core theme which would overarch the conference: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). CSR is a way of working which can be found throughout all

Should you have become so enthusiastic that you wish to participate in orga-

branches and occupations and almost every company in the world and which

nizing next year’s Career Conference, please drop us a line at:

is closely linked to sustainability and ‘fair’ products.


University College: Take two do you say when you’ve been in this

and sharing my experiences with my

am I teaching ten interesting indi-

position before, not looking down,

students, watching them experience

viduals and ten motivated students,

As I stepped off the plane, through

but looking up? How do you tell the

campus life and academic pressure,

I am also educating myself. While

the corridor and into the arrival ter-

students you understand their in-

and listening to them complain

they receive an education in the fine

minal of Schiphol, I knew I would be

trepid eagerness, that you’ve been

about Dining Hall and neglectful,

art of writing and presenting in Eng-

rushing home to prepare for tomor-

there too? You simply tell them: I’m

non-toilet-cleaning, tosti-making

lish, I am receiving an education in

row’s class. With a sense of purpose

a UC alumna. And then the ner-

unitmates. I even find myself hav-

the fine art of educating. I think I

heightened by the six-hour jetlag, I

vous weight gently evaporates from

ing to suppress the occasional grin

may just have found what I’m good

set to it. I’d seen this reader before,

where it has been resting on your

when another lecturer, formerly-

at. Time for take two.

had internalized it.

shoulders and in your head.

teacher-now-esteemed-colleague, is

Getting up the next morning after a

Currently in my second semester of

restless sleep, the chaos in my head

teaching English for Academic Pur-

So tomorrow, when I go to cam-

ated from UCU in May of 2005

ranged free. The train ride from The

poses at UC, I’ve grown more com-

pus to teach my class an optional

with a major in Humanities and

Hague to Utrecht was spent yawn-

fortable in my role as an instructor.

grammar section, at the request of

a minor in Social Sciences. Af-

ing, trying to focus on my book and

I know that I can be friendly with my

my students, I won’t mind that I’m

ter completing a Research Mas-

contain my nerves. At this point,

students, that I am close enough

dragging along ten journals in a

ter in Literary Studies, she was

considering pursuing a PhD in the

to them in age and experience to

Laura Ashley shopping bag. I won’t

hired by the English department

United States, I had brought along

be able to offer counsel and make

mind that I have an extra round-trip

at Utrecht University. She is cur-

Milton’s Paradise Lost, in prepara-

jokes, but that this doesn’t need to

on the bus on a Friday afternoon,

rently teaching courses for the

tion for the GRE Literature in Eng-

compromise my authority as a lec-

and another four hours until my

English department and UCU.

lish subject test.

turer. I enjoy going back to campus

weekend begins. Because not only

Vivianne Doens-Knoppert ‘05

gently reprimanded by my students.

As I walked out to bus four, I remembered making the trek from home (or where my parents lived) to campus: Kromhout, G, and the Wall, in that order. This time, I headed through the gates and straight for College Hall, to pick up my keys. I received a brand-new, tiny XS-card, which seemed to have shrunk since the last time I was handed one. On my way to Descartes, I took the materials out of the envelop I had been trusted with: a student list, a student photo list, and a course schedule. I unlocked the door to my office – my office – and dropped my bag on the desk. At ten minutes to class, I set up my reader, notebook, and pen on the desk at the front of the room. It was a deja vu, but backwards. Instead of facing the whiteboard, I was facing the window. The first students began trickling in, anxious hellos and mumbled greetings, each too afraid to address the other. As twenty-six (yes, more than the UC-approved limit) faces looked up expectantly, I readied myself for the inevitable introduction. What

Vivianne Doens-Knoppert gradu-

‘How do you tell the students you understand their intrepid eagerness, that you’ve been there too? You simply tell them: I’m a UC alumna. And then the nervous weight gently evaporates from where it has been resting on your shoulders and in your head.‘

Answering 5 questions 5 Questions 1) Who (or what) would you like to trade places with for one day? 2) Who is going to be the next president of the US? 3) God or Darwin? 4) What is the best Dinglish (Dutchification of English or vice versa) sentence you’ve heard at UC? 5) Beer, wine or soda?

Steven Dijkhuizen ‘02 I am running my own media and publishing agency in Malaysia for the past two years. I try to see as much as possible of Asia during weekends and will be moving to tiny Brunei for a project. 1) Jose Mourinho, get fired by your boss and he sends you a 25 million pound cheque, why not? 2) John McCain 3) We’re monkeys, just less hairy (mostly) 4) Hi what do you do? Oh me, I fok paarden PARDON!? Yes that’s right, paarden... OR Hi how do you do? and how do you do your wife? 5) Beer before wine, then beer, wine, soda, wine, beer, wine, beer... taxi!


Olivier Valk ‘06 After UCU I wanted to go abroad for a year so I accepted an offer from Durham University (UK) to study European Law (LLM). Durham is not that well known on the continent, but it is a great place to study Mark Chapman ‘06

and has a great academic standing (at least the Law Department does).

Since leaving UCU I moved to Rot-

Currently I’m combining a bach-

terdam and am studying Interna-

elor and a master in Dutch law in

tional Law at Leiden University.

Utrecht. Besides this, I was selected

Last time I was randomly selected I

Right now I am working on my the-

for the USR Triton Freshmen light-

was snorkelling at the Perhentian Is-

sis about the broadening of Article

weight 8+. With the varsity coming

lands in Malaysia (it’s such a good

39 (concerning threats to the peace)

up, I can be found training on the

thing about marriage; the honey-

of the U.N. charter to include hu-

water on a daily basis.

moon), hence I couldn’t participate.

manitarian crises and where future

The second time I was “randomly”

threats may emerge from and the

1) Nelie Kroes, European Commis-

selected, I was working, so no excuses

practice of the Security Council. Its

sioner for Competition. In terms of

this time. Besides being (of course)

fun...! Aside from my thesis I’m not

legal developments in the area of

a tótally dedicated wife for half a year

doing much, no job yet, but have

Competition law, the Microsoft case

Wietske Pijpers ‘02

Emilie Wijers ‘02

now, I’m working at the largest non-

been travelling around, mostly to

is the leading case, so I would love

I live in Amsterdam with Bart-Jan,

academic hospital in the Netherlands,

the UK to catch up with the latest

to be involved.

also a UCU alumnus. We are get-

try to play the flute in an orchestra,

additions to my family, you know;

ting married this summer. I work

exercise a couple of times a week, but

dogs, nieces etc. And of course

2) I guess Ohio and Texas are going

for the Provincial government of

most of all I’m counting the days till

hanging out with my awesome UC

to be decisive for the democrats,

Noord-Holland in Haarlem. (bele-

we get the keys of our grown-up-house


but my feeling says that the word


with a large garden. So no worries I might get bored this spring/summer!

1) My dog! She has the best life, no

‘change’ as used by Obama is just 1) My thesis coordinator, so I could

going to be too much for Hillary. I

finally get in contact with him!

would vote for Hillary given here experience in politics, but given that

chores, preparing food or work. Just

1) I would love to trade places with a

a lazy day in the sun; A nice walk

man, just because I’m curious how

2) Ralph Nader! But seriously, I

Obama becomes the candidate for

outside in the morning, food, sleep

different life is when you’re a man.

reckon it’ll be a close one between

the Democrats, the Republicans

in sun, 2 hours of fun with other

And to have an even better day, I

Clinton and McCain. My crystal ball

are going to win. They are going to

dogs, food, sleep in sun, walk out-

would choose to be Robbie Williams

says...McCain, you heard it here

dig up so much gossip and dirt on

side, food, play with nice owner and

and give another wonderful concert

first. In a perfect world it would be

Obama that they are going to win


at The Royal Albert Hall.

Ed O’Neil (Al Bundy)!

in the end.

2) I guess it is going to be Obama,

2) Barack Obama will be the next

3) That’s a tough one, although I’m

3) Darwin, just got to respect the

Clinton showed too much emotion

president; who dares to contradict

not as militant as Richard Dawkins I

guy for coming up with his theory

for the male half of the population

Oprah? And because Honolulu is

probably would have to go with Dar-

in a time where the general tension

to still have trust in her abilities.

such a great place of birth.

win. But at the same time the duck-

was to believe the complete op-

billed platypus is proof that God has


3) Darwin; his theory leaves room

3) Darwin; take a good look at Bush

for a bit of wonder, while God leaves

and you know for sure we originate

no room for Darwin.

from apes.

a sense of humour. 4) In the UC Bar they seem to serve 4) I don’t remember any specifics

a drink called: spaffel (apfelkorn and

but I had a Methods and Statistics

soda) which seems to be odd translation of Swaffel.

4) An assistant teacher asking his

4) I don’t think I heard it at UC, but

lecturer who couldn’t pronounce

class: So.. I assume you all wrote

rather read it in “I always get my sin”:

my last name or ‘chapter’ properly;

the book?

“Don’t break me the back open”,

“Mister Schjepman, pleasssh open

5) Normally, I would go for beer, but

meaning “It’s better for me not to

de boek to schjapter scheven.” I

as a competitive rower you prom-

start talking about it” (bek=mouth)

think he had a bit of a lisp as well!

ise not to drink for half a year so I

Wine; my favourite

5) I still don’t like alcohol (it burns


Soda; most of the time.

and it’s bitter), so I opt for the soda!


5) Beer; only with Mexican or Indo-

would have to go for soda.

nesian food


Bad Santa?

How Humanity in Action challenged my image of Black Pete Laure Heilbron ‘06 Everyone knows the Dutch tradition of

noon ended with a discussion which was led by three Dutch Antillean girls.

St. Nicholas. The good old man has

You already guessed the topic.

brought us presents when we were still kids. Probably most of us are still

What they told us made as much sense to me as claiming that the pope con-

excited when December fifth is ap-

verted himself to Islam. My great heroes, the Black Petes, were not innocent

proaching. At least I am. Naturally,

good helpers, but an evil racist remnant of our slavery past, they argued.

the good holy man cannot do the job

Off course I knew that they went too far. How could they possibly say such a

by himself alone. Otherwise no one

thing of one of the finest old Dutch traditions that was about exactly the op-

would believe that it was really St.

posite of doing harm? For most Americans it was the first time they heard of

Nicholas who gives us presents. And

the phenomenon of an old white male who is in charge of hundreds of black

we all know he does. The Black Petes

servants. In their view it was an absurd tradition. Even my chimney argument

are his faithful helpers, his eyes and

could not convince them that it made complete sense. Even though the

ears, so dedicated to their noble task that they turned black from climbing

Dutch fellows kept arguing that St. Nicholas is not more than an innocent

down chimneys all the time. This was as clear to me as the fact that our dear

tradition, we could not come to an agreement. The event I always considered

Queen Beatrix has dedicated herself to entertaining us by finding an even

to be innocent became the subject of one of our most heated discussions.

more ridiculous hat than the year before for her yearly speech. St. Nicholas is a good man. He might, in fact, even be the most unselfish person I know. So

In the last week of the program the fellows of all five countries came together

when I was in Berlin this summer, as part of the summer program Humanity

in Berlin for the closing ceremony. We were asked to prepare a skit in which

in Action (HIA), and ready to get on stage to perform a skit dressed as Black

we played out some of the issues that we thought were most important.

Pete at the closing ceremony, it surprised me when one of our American fel-

Since Black Pete turned out to be so controversial we decided to shock the

lows started crying and refused to continue. She was too afraid that our in-

audience with his special appearance. Our audience could not have been

nocent skit about St. Nicholas and Black Petes would hurt others. The Dutch

better prepared. What could possibly shock them after the holocaust, gay

fellows, including myself, were stunned. How could anyone dislike my (child-

discrimination and racism? The Dutch fellows thought it would be a great

hood) heroes so much?

controversial moment, but the American fellows believed that Black Pete crossed moral boundaries and would really hurt others. At the very last mo-

In order to understand why this happened we have to go back in time. In

ment we decided not to continue. Once again what others thought of Black

June I was selected as one of the new fellows of HIA. This summer program

Pete turned out to be completely different from what I had always believed.

aims to stimulate its participants to explore minority issues and human rights and to become responsible future leaders. Fifty European and fifty

Have I changed my mind about my hero? I don’t know. It is hard to say. It

American fellows simultaneously followed an intensive program in Denmark,

is still really difficult to see him as a forgotten symbol of our slavery past in-

France, Germany, Poland and the Netherlands. During the whole month we

stead of a children’s friend. Nevertheless, I realize that others can have a

met with a large group of academics, professionals and organizations, and

completely different view. It is a view that actually does make sense. This sto-

discussed a wide range of topics to challenge our beliefs. We talked about

ry about Black Pete is just an example to show that what we believe is right

having sex with minorities, the integration of Asylum seekers, as well as why

may not always be an undisputed truth. There are others who could be hurt

Moroccans are more criminal than Turks, and the Dutch slavery past. The

by what we consider to be normal. The month of HIA made me realize that

program focused on three interrelated areas of historic and contemporary

many of my beliefs were usually never challenged. And that is a pity because

importance: examples of resistance to the Holocaust; the development of

it turned out to be quite interesting.

international human rights institutions and doctrines, through the establishment of new standards, rules and procedures in the aftermath of World War

For more information check

II; and current minority issues and their relationship to human rights. One of the most heated discussions we had took place during a visit of the Dutch Slavery Museum in Amsterdam. We had first listened to a speech about our slavery past. Although we have benefitted greatly from the lucrative slave trade, relatively little of its cruel implications have made it into our history books. After this speech we watched a documentary in which the presenter traced back his slavery roots. He visited the fortress in Africa that was used as the take off point. Its small cells, which were about the same size as UC’s average Wall rooms, were used to hold over thirty people. They could not use any lavatory, so within a week the floor changed color. On the floor above this hell was a comfortable room; on its wall a small tile with a prayer on it was still in place. A greater contrast would be hard to find. The after-


‘The Black Petes are his faithful helpers, his eyes and ears, so dedicated to their noble task that they turned black from climbing down chimneys all the time.’

‘Het Blanke Zwart’ Wouter Helders ‘05 In 2005 studeerde ik af van University College Utrecht. Onzeker van wat ik nu

In 2005 I graduated from University College Utrecht. Unsure of what I was

moest gaan doen, en gedreven door een stukje idealisme en avontuurdrang,

going to do, and driven by a bit of idealism and the need for adventure, I en-

begon ik aan een MSc International Development Studies. Gedurende deze

rolled in the MSc International Development Studies. During the course of

opleiding, die zich bezighield met ontwikkelingsproblematiek, bracht ik een

this study, concerning development issues, I spent half a year in Uganda,

half jaar in Oeganda door, waar ik onderzoek deed voor een organisatie die mi-

conducting research for an organization that offers microcredit. The time I

crokredieten verstrekte. Tijdens het veldwerk en de daaruit voortvloeiende con-

spent in the field and the contact I had with the local people, businesses and

tacten met de lokale bevolking, het bedrijfsleven en andere gouvermentele en

other governmental and non-governemental organizations fed my already

non-gouvermentele organisaties begon mijn toch al cynische kijk op ontwikkeling-

cynical view on development work.

swerk steeds grotere proporties aan te nemen. Filled with new ideas and impressions I returned to the Netherlands, receivUiteindelijk keerde ik vol ideeën en indrukken terug naar Nederland, haalde mijn

ing my diploma and starting a career with a multinational, while I was con-

diploma en begon, gestoeld op de overtuiging dat een betere wereld alleen tot

vinced that a better world could only be brought about by the initiatives of

stand kan komen op initiatief, of ten minste in hechte samenwerking met, het

international businesses, or at least in close cooperation with them. This

internationale bedrijfleven, een carrière bij een multinational. Deze overtuiging

conviction turned out to be overstated, although the decision to work in this

bleek achterhaald, maar toch was mijn stap naar het bedrijfsleven niet verkeerd.

line of business wasn’t a mistake. During my traineeship with the ABN AM-

Afgelopen jaar, tijdens mijn traineeship bij de ABN AMRO, had ik een aantal

RO the past year I had a number of confronting group lessons about ‘dream

confronterende groepslessen over de droommethodiek en zelfleiderschap. Tijdens

methodology’ and ‘self-leadership’. It was during one of these inspiring ses-

de laatste van deze inspirerende sessie viel eindelijk het kwartje: ik wilde gaan

sions that I had a moment of realization: I wanted to write.

schrijven. Now that I had a clear goal for myself it wasn’t hard to start taking action. In Nu ik mijn doel helder had, was het niet moeilijk actie te ondernemen. In de avonduren

the evenings I took a pen and just started writing. The result is a fictive travel

nam ik de pen ter hand begon te schrijven. Het resultaat is een fictief reisverhaal in een

tale that takes place in a topsy-turvy world, in which two main characters go

omgekeerde wereld, waarin twee hoofdpersonen een reis maken die hun perceptie van

on a journey that alters their perception of the world. Below is a excerpt from

de wereld veranderd. Hieronder is een fragment te lezen.

the text.

De volgende stap is natuurlijk publicatie en daar wordt aan gewerkt. En als het

Naturally the next step is to publish the book. If it doesn’t work this time

deze keer niet lukt dan misschien met het volgende boek wel. Als ik een ding gel-

maybe for the next book it will. One thing I have learnt the passed few years

eerd heb de afgelopen jaren is het dat afwachten geen zin heeft. Je moet zelf aan

is that waiting has no use. You have to work and take initiative to make your

de bak om je dromen waar te maken.

dreams become reality.

Nadrukkelijk aanwijzend en langzaam, doch iets te

Europeaan met donkere wallen onder zijn wateri-

hard pratend, drukt Mo voor de derde keer zijn vin-

ge grijze ogen. De kraag van zijn hemd is gera-

ger op het nog net zichtbare sterretje dat het cen-

feld en zijn verschoten uniform is groezelig. Mo

trum van Berlijn voorstelt op de smerige kaart die

kan de verleiding niet weerstaan over de balie heen

hij in zijn handen houdt.

te leunen om te kijken wat de man aan zijn voeten heeft. Een paar afgetrapte schoenen, waar aan

“Hoe kom ik daar?,” vraagt hij.

weerszijden trots een grote teen doorheen steekt, staren hem aan.

Het is zijn eerste ochtend in Europa. Zijn maag is

onrustig en ondanks de kilte die het hotel in zijn

Als het Europese continent in dezelfde staat ver-

greep heeft loopt het zweet aan de binnenkant van

keert als de schoenen van zijn inwoners ziet het er

zijn overhemd naar beneden.

in de nabije toekomst niet rooskleurig uit, denkt hij

als hij de deur uitloopt. Hij voelt hoe er een vage

Hij staat in de receptie van het Tourist Inn Hotel.

onrust in hem groeit door alle kapotte schoenen die

Aan de andere kant van de balie staat een oude

hij heeft gezien.

09 | ‘Het Blanke Zwart’

‘Het Blanke Zwart’ | 10

Excerpt from ‘Het Blanke Zwart’




Impressions of Uganda

People Pim Meeus ‘04 People spending all their money

Science is the new religion

Laughing thinking they are funny

Internet replaced the pigeon

They feel better than the neighbours

Egoism is the key word

Disregard their recent favours

Disregard the ones that we hurt

Right and wrong have left their system Hell and heaven do not fit them

People drinking, people moving

Care for clothing and equipment

But their lives are not improving

Waiting for the latest shipment

Drinking more, suppress that feeling Dancing more will do the healing

People lonely eating plenty

Right or left it doesn’t matter

To suppress that they feel empty

Any pleasure to feel better

Disagree with that assumption

Strangers fucking, strangers kissing

While they think of more consumption

Still the feeling something’s missing

Right and left, bad food surrounds them Chips and candy, it sure bounds them

People stealing from each other

T.V. on, they are fixated

They don’t care, they can’t be bothered

Deep inside they know they hate it

If you ask then they will offer Stealing’s fine if no one suffers

People getting educated

Right and wrong, it’s just a picture

More and more they feel frustrated

In real life it’s all a mixture

Realising while they’re learning

Politician, priest and plumber

Understanding deepens yearning

Everyone is getting dumber

On my way

From a UCU bachelor’s degree to becoming a psychologist

Lisa Numann ‘06 Last month, after the Quaquaversal appeared in my mailbox, I plopped down on the couch with a cup of tea by my side, curious to see what my fellow UC alumni were up to. Such a broadly oriented degree, so many possibilities… I am always surprised by whatever positive spin students have managed to put on their Bachelors’, and which institutions they have convinced to accept or employ them! This little introduction brings me to the point of the article I have been asked to write for the upcoming Quaquaversal: a little update on what I have been up to, for those of you who are curious. When I graduated from UC in June 2006, no acceptance letters had arrived in the mail. Friends around me had been accepted to Master’s degree programmes in medicine, criminology, political science. Their future was a lot clearer and I was still waiting for a reply from several Dutch universities. As it turned out, no acceptance letter ever really arrived. I had applied to Master’s degree programmes in the Netherlands in the field of clinical psychology and in the past very few UC students had succeeded in getting in. Eventually, the responses I received entailed long lists of pre-master requirements, some understandable and some unfounded as they covered content I had covered in my UC career. Additionally, Utrecht University informed me that I would not even be able to fulfil their requirements within their university, due to the limited number of enrolments, also known as the numerus fixus in Dutch; I would have to find a way to enrol in those courses at another university. Frustrated with the premaster requirements, I wrote several lengthy emails and letters contesting these requirements. Eventually, Leiden University’s Faculty of Social Sciences decided to waive the majority of the requirements. They offered me a conditional acceptance: I could start my Master’s the following fall (which turned

I was a long way away from the bleak prospect of ever becoming a psycholo-

out to be one month away) and I would have to enrol as a part-time Bachelor

gist, I also discovered that those supposedly knowledgeable on the post doc-

student in a second year Bachelor’s degree courses, offered at night twice a

toral training all seemed unclear on the exact details, and I puzzled my way


through several websites in order to find out all of the above information. At this point I shall stop myself from continuing on a lengthy rant about all that

Relieved that I could start and aware that this was the best offer I was go-

is lacking and wrong regarding the training of clinical psychologists in the

ing to get, I accepted their offer. In the first weeks, the post-doctoral training,

Netherlands. I hope it is merely sufficient to say that it is a long process with

also known as the Gezondheidszorg (GZ) opleiding, was mentioned several

a lot of uncertainty and no guarantee you will get there; it would not hurt to

times. In the Netherlands, as it turned out, a Master’s degree in clinical psy-

instil selection earlier in the process than after completion of your Master’s

chology does not in fact mean you are anywhere near becoming a psycholo-

degree, in order to avoid the large amount of disappointment for students

gist. Quite the revelation as you can imagine. This is why they are so strin-

at that point in the process. Even more frustrating is the demand for clini-

gent in regard to the Bachelor’s degree courses: these are all requirements

cal psychologists, as determined by the abundance of job vacancies for GZ-

to pursue your training. In the Netherlands, after your Master’s degree, in

certified psychologists and the long waiting-lists for patients in need of care.

which you must have had approximately 100 work days of practical experi-

According to the universities, the ultimate goal is to improve the system at

ence (obviously not achievable in a one-year programme), you have to apply

some point in the near future, such that selection occurs post-Bachelor’s de-

to the GZ opleiding if you want to treat patients in any known establishment


or have any insurance company reimburse its patients for your services. Acceptance to this program is difficult; there are approximately 400 spots in

Despite the very large course load I was saddled with during my Master’s,

the entire country. The standard rule of thumb is apparently that you are ac-

I thoroughly enjoyed the courses offered as part of the degree, particularly

cepted approximately the third or fourth time. In the mean time applicants

the practically oriented ones I had missed at UC. In one course we practised

enhance their applications with unpaid or poorly paid internships, volunteer

therapeutic skills within our classes, creating an odd atmosphere in which

work, or work in diagnostics. In order to start the training, during which you

we knew everything about one another’s families and relationships while

work four days for an institution and attend classes on the fifth day, you must

having surpassed the superficial levels of conversation we usually engaged

fulfil a long list of requirements. As it turned out, I also needed to take op-

in. In another course we had weekly seminars with actors who depicted a va-

tional Master’s degree classes in addition to the eight standard ones and an-

riety of psychiatric disorders and personal histories, which we as students

other Bachelor’s degree course. In addition to the frustration of discovering

then struggled to pose all the questions necessary to ascertain the informa-


tion necessary for a diagnosis during an interview in order to establish a di-

healthcare professionals who have entirely different priorities, I accepted that

agnosis in our case report. These courses focused on the establishment of

I would need to dedicate the following autumn to my research. Simultane-

practical skills provided quite the balance with the focus on theory and re-

ously I discovered that convincing a healthcare establishment to select mine

search I had experienced at UC.

among the piles of application letters for an internship was also going to be a lot harder than it seemed. Yet again I realised that in order to become a

I discovered that convincing a healthcare establishment to select mine among the piles of application letters for an internship was also going to be a lot harder than it seemed. Yet again I realised that in order to become a clinical psychologist, the process demanded yet more patience and determination.

clinical psychologist, the process demanded yet more patience and determination. That being said, seven months later I have successfully completed my thesis with significant and exciting results and have started my clinical year-long internship in the Paediatrics ward of the St. Lucas Andreas hospital in Amsterdam. During my time here I will be focusing on children and teenagers who have physical symptoms that lack a medical explanation. These problems are wide-ranging, varying from feeding and sleeping problems to unexplained headaches and from stomach aches to bedwetting. While I realise I am still a long way from being a psychologist, I have also accepted that it will be a long path. While frustrating at times, I should also remember to enjoy the experiences I encounter along the way. Particularly my

Towards the end of spring, I had completed all nine Master’s degree cours-

clinical internship is very exciting: I can finally interact with these patients I

es and two Bachelor’s degree courses and began to focus my attention on

have read so much about and practised for so often. I am so eager and curi-

my Master’s thesis. I had been offered the chance to conduct research with

ous about every opportunity I get to talk to a patient. As cheesy as it sounds,

a paediatrician at the Academich Medisch Centrum (AMC) at the Univer-

I also continue to embrace every opportunity I can in preparation for the next

sity of Amsterdam, regarding the dysfunctional parent – child relationship

phase when I will apply to the infamous GZ opleiding, as UC taught me; ex-

in children between 0 and 3 years of age with feeding disorders. The aim of

tracurricular activities can never hurt. I volunteer for the well-established chil-

the study was to examine the diagnostic psychometric instruments current-

dren’s hotline the Kindertelefoon and last spring I accepted the exciting offer

ly used to establish where the parent-child relationship is dysfunctional, as

to participate in an evening class for already practising healthcare practitio-

these dysfunctional interactions are often found to play a considerable role

ners in infant-parent therapy skills.

in these feeding disorders. Convinced that as a well-equipped UC student I would easily complete a clinical empirical study in a few months, I discov-

I hope my story was at least somewhat interesting and eagerly look forward

ered that most students do not, nor are they realistically expected to fin-

to the rest of the Quaquaversal I will be contributing to, to see what career

ish the Master’s degree programme in one year as promised. Working with

paths other UC alumni have chosen.


Events team & the philosophy of post-UC life Hannah van der Deijl ‘04 We UC people, we love the smell of success in the morning. As a tribe, we tend to be over-achievers. We learn to work, to bluff, to perform our way through the university system. When school stops, we continue to seek challenges and teach ourselves the tricks of the trade, following examples and opportunities. We’ll work hard, we’ll play hard. Success stories of fellow alumni magically travel from mouth to mouth, in part overwhelming us, in part giving us the fuel to make our own contribution, sooner or later. Stories of doubt, stories of searching in various directions, stories of not being so sure somehow don’t travel quite as quickly. Life is a game, and we’d like to think we’re on the right track, if such a thing exists.

And when I write ‘we’, I definitely mean ‘I’. But I also mean ‘we’. ‘We’ sounds so much nicer.

hand, when we’d ask people who did not come for feedback, we kept hearing things like: “Hmm, yeah. I don’t know. I still see the people I want to see. I don’t really see the point of going to alumni drinks.” Or: “I thought the alumni association would be about career events.” What should we conclude from these opposite points of view? Think about it. Have a beer. Philosophize with me for a second.

Over the past year or so, our little “Events Team” has tried to think of common denominators among the UC alumni crowd, coming up with many generalizations of the above kind. We’d have some dinner by the Utrecht canals.

UC is a blast, craziness, an intense experience for the three-or-so years that

We’d discuss our own lives first, and then turn our attention to this com-

it lasts. It generates lasting friendships and a lot of common ground with a

munity that consists of the UC alumni, trying to think of events that alumni

lot of people. But it’s intense; it’s close; there are walls and gates. There is

might want to attend. We had some beers. We wanted to move on to big-

work to do, and in all truth, there is competition and pressure. We want to

ger things, better things, or perhaps just new things. We declared a year of

be good, really good; we want to apply to all kinds of schools and internships

experiments. We had our second round of beers. We aspired to be the yup-

when this is over. There is the nightmare of dining hall; and the vague mem-

pie version of the UCSA (if only UCYA didn’t sound like YMCA so much).

ory of the outside world. We love UC, and then we don’t. We’ve signed up for

We wanted professional band nights (celebrating the creativity of some of

the package deal. So we stick around. But three years is enough. After three

our alumni) and drama group reunions (surely, if the lama’s could do it, we

years, the world beyond the gates is calling once more.

could do it too!) and real beach parties (just to show off). We had another drink. We wanted a cocktail party instead of another gala, and a UCSA-UCAAjoint-venture party and sponsoring! and regional drinks! in every country of the world!!! True to our UC upbringing, we did not suffer from a shortage of aspirations.

Ultimately, despite this great enthusiasm, we were also just wondering whether we were heading in the right direction with our plans. Is there a demand for alumni activities?

We decide to find out whether there is more to life than we can find on campus grounds. We leave; we move on; we don’t look back. We miss the safety of campus for a second or two and call it the post-campus blues, but mostly we’re happy to be out on our own. It turns out life is not as structured, linear and unidimensional as a school system. And if life no longer has a clear roadmap, does that mean we can write our own secret treasure map leading to a deserted island? We go to Laos, we start work at a consultancy firm, we think about writing a book. For some years at least, we’d like to be on our own path, without being reminded of the hectic UC days and the eternal promise and demand of excellence contained within the campus walls, within fellow alumni, and really, within ourselves.

On the one hand, our alumni bar nights and parties worked out, leading to

Am I getting close? What I am trying to say is this: it makes sense that there

new late nights, new friends, new Facebook picture series; rather than nights

is ambiguity about meeting up with campus people. After all, we love cam-

of reminiscence of the olden days. Just what we had hoped for. On the other

pus, and we hate it. That’s just how it is.


And when I write ‘you’, I mean ‘you’. What should we do about alumni events, though? This spring, we had our

Come have a beer. We are looking for big ideas and small ideas, for fair as

first “input drink”, inviting some alumni who’d shown interest and some

well as unfair criticism, for organization skills and definitely also for chaos

third-year campus students to share their ideas and think along with us

skills. We are looking at all those philosopher-kings and future presidents

about how to go about these events. One strong idea that came up was the

and movie directors that we saw at UC to get this party started.

need to focus on just one really exciting event a year; and build a tradition around this event. It sounds exciting. But that’s just me. So, I am inviting

Thinking big,

you to think along with us about organizing this chaos we’ve been creating.


Closed Doors >

‘The House of the Báb in Shiraz, one of the most holy sites in the Bahá’í world, was destroyed by Revolutionary Guardsman in 1979 and later razed by the government.’

‘In April 2004, in Babol, the house-like gravesite of Quddus, an historic figure of the Bahá’í Faith, was destroyed.’

Human rights violation of Baha’is in Iran

Denial of higher education to Baha’i students preventing their enrollment at a university. In comparison, in 2006 none of the

Nasrin Azarkadeh ‘03

900 Baha’is who completed the exam received such a notice. According to DiWhen I was asked whether I could write an article for this year’s edition, I be-

ane Ala’i, the Baha’i International Community’s representative to the United

gan to reflect about my time at UCU. While thinking about the things that I

Nations in Geneva, this is a clear indication that the government is escalating

valued about UCU – such as its international outlook and emphasis on inde-

their tactics to actively prevent Baha’i young people from entering higher edu-

pendent, critical thought – a topic came to my mind and struck me as both im-

cation institutions.

portant and possibly insightful to fellow alumni. An official letter dating from 2 November 2006 from the ‘Central Protection Although human rights violations are by no means a novel topic to UCU stu-

Office’ of Payame Noor University, printed on the letterhead of Iran’s Minis-

dents, I am not sure how many of us have heard about the denial of higher

try of Science, Research and Technology, states that its official policy is that

education to Baha’i students in Iran. As alumni, we can all appreciate the value

“Bahá’ís cannot enroll in universities and higher education centers” and “if

of the many years of education we have received which has helped us reach

they are already enrolled they should be expelled.” This university is the larg-

our goals and expand our horizons. As someone who has always had access to

est state university with about 467,000 students located in 257 study centres

education and a member of the Baha’i community, I find the denial of higher

around the country.

education to a minority population of a grave concern. Considering that education is a crucial element in the development of a country, deAlthough the deprivation of education might not strike as a fundamental as-

priving a segment of a population is not only leading to the despair of that communi-

pect of the denial of human rights, it is used as a part of a larger strategy in

ty but also to the stagnation of the wider development of the entire population.

Iran with the aim to undermine and destroy the Baha’i community. This strategy includes arbitrary imprisonment, denial of employment, destruction of

Though by no means a sufficient remedy, raising awareness is a small but es-

property, and even the harassment of Baha’i children at school.

sential first step to help improve the lives of people around the world who face discrimination and persecution. I hope that if nothing else, this article might

This denial of education is in clear violation of one of the articles of the UN’s

prove to be thought-provoking and perhaps stimulate discussion amongst

Declaration of Human Rights, which was also signed by Iran.

peers who are involved in these issues. And perhaps it might help us to value the benefits we have received from having had access to a good education.

An excerpt from the Baha’i International Community document entitled Closed Doors: Iran’s Campaign to Deny Higher Education to Baha’is states that: Since

Baha’is comprise the largest religious

1979, the government of Iran has systematically sought to deprive its largest

minority in Iran and have been system-

religious minority of the right to a full education. Specifically, the Islamic Re-

atically persecuted against since the

public of Iran has for more than 25 years blocked the 300,000-member Bahá’í

1979 Islamic Revolution. Since then,

community from higher education, refusing young Bahá’ís entry into university

more than 200 Baha’is have been killed,

and college. The government has also sought to close down Bahá’í efforts to

hundreds have been put in prison, and

establish their own institutions of higher learning.

thousands have had their property and businesses removed.

In the most recent university entrance exams in June 2007, more than 1,000 Baha’i pupils sat for the exam and correctly completed the exam. Of these

More information about this issue can

nearly 800 have been notified that their documents are ‘incomplete’, effectively

be found at:


Hanna Idema ‘01 “Every hour of every day, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs promotes the interests of the Kingdom abroad. As a country that looks beyond its borders, the Netherlands is committed to promoting the international legal

UCU young diplomats

order and building a safe, stable and


prosperous world. We are dedicated to

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Af-

eliminating conflict, poverty and in-

fairs advertises that it does not offer

justice. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs

a job, but it offers a career. You start

works with the other ministries to help

as a policy officer at the Ministry in

shape the Europe of the future and to

The Hague, but during the course

Young diplomats training or Klasje

ensure that the Netherlands speaks

of your career you are very likely to

If you are recruited by the Minis-

with one voice in the European Union.

work in one or more of the many

try you will go through three-month

Our expert staff serves Dutch citizens,

Dutch embassies and consulates

training before you start work. This

businesses and institutions in over 150

all over the world. The maximum

is the so-called ‘klasje’ or ‘little

cities all over the world and in The

time spent on a job is 4 years, after

class’, literally translated, as it has

Hague. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs

which you switch again. Some of

been known in the Netherlands for

- at home all over the world.”

these young policy officers will even-

years. Nowadays it is a basic educa-

(Mission statement of the Dutch

tually end up as Her Royal Majesty’s

tion for policy officers.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Ambassadors somewhere around the globe.

For many UCU students - interna-

This is a very lively period – along with 20 other peers, you spend 90

tionally oriented, ambitious, looking

According to the website, successful

days going through not only classes

for challenges, committed to mak-

candidates for the junior Policy Of-

on general topics like development

ing the world a little better - the for-

ficer positions are Dutch nationals,

cooperation and international poli-

eign service offers an ideal working

with a master’s degree. Moreover,

tics but also on basic protocol do’s

environment. Here, you can bring

they have 1 to 3 years of relevant

and don’ts, media-relations and

all those acquired skills into prac-

work experience. They master the

skills training. It is an intensive train-

tice: intercultural sensitivity, a broad

English and French language and

ing that gives you a broad overview

orientation, writing academically

preferably have work- or study expe-

of many of the aspects of Dutch for-

and fast at the same time, deliver-

rience abroad. They possess initia-

eign relations. What is even more

ing presentations, as well as inter-

tive, are flexible, results-oriented,

important is the bond that you estab-

national negotiation skills. How-

and empathic, have good commu-

lish with your peers during this pe-

ever, this time for real and not in a

nication skills and are sensitive to

riod. Many days are prone to end up

simulation game. Seven years ago

other cultures.

with a beer in a bar and the network

the first edition of UCU students

that is being formed is likely to last

completed their full three years of

The selection procedure lasts 5

for years during your career. This is

studies, and now around 10 alumni

months and consists of a written

not only fun and comfortable when

are working at the Dutch Ministry of

application and selection, an inter-

you start working for a big organisa-

Foreign Affairs. In 2007, the training

view, language tests (French and

tion, but it’s also a worthy asset as

class for young Dutch diplomats,

English) a full-day assessment and

networking is essential to the work-

which recruits around 20 young pro-

finally a formal interview with the

ing in a bureaucracy and in interna-

fessionals yearly, consisted of 25%

Selection Committee.

tional diplomacy.


Hanna Idema ’01

Heleen Baartmans ’03

Meline Arakelian ’02, via the European Parliament to “Klasje” 2007, Policy Advisor Human Rights Having worked in Brussels for two

Lisa Bakels ’03

years, as policy adviser to a Dutch Member of the European Parliament, I decided to apply to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After being selected for the “klasje” of the MFA, I was thrilled to discover that four other UC alumni were among the 21 who would complete the diplomatic training course in 2007! After finishing the course, I started working at the Human Rights and Peacebuilding Department, as human rights policy adviser, focussing on the Gulf region and North Africa. One year down the road, I can say that it has been a

Sjoerd Wiemer Sjoerdsma ’02, via

really special experience!

Rijkstrainneeship, short term contract at MFA to “Klasje” 2007, Pol-

Heleen Baartmans, ’03, via UN mis-

icy Advisor Belgium, Luxembourg

sion in Kosovo to “Klasje” 2007,

and Benelux

Policy Advisor Bosnia-Herzegovina at the Western Balkans division.

Becoming the Dutch coordinator for all Benelux affairs was hardly a

I turn 76, people will ask me: “did

When people ask me how I spend

no-brainer. After all, compared to

you foresee that the Benelux would

my days at work, I often enumer-

my previous Sudan-related activi-

be doing so and so?” So now I find

ate the various tasks that I had that

ties, the Benelux does not seem very

myself part of the Dutch delegation

particular day, after which I realise it

sexy. Some would argue that the fif-

in charge of negotiating a new Ben-

sounds much like an ordinary office-

ty-year old cooperation between Bel-

elux-treaty. Learning about policies

job. But, by serving three Ministers

gium, the Netherlands and Luxem-

to establish an internal energy mar-

I actually work on really fascinating

burg (hence the name) has outlived

ket, how to ensure ambulances can

topics, like working out the Dutch

its usefulness. Sure, the Benelux

cross borders in order to help out

position on the integration into the

was first to abolish its internal bor-

and how to stimulate cooperation

EU of the region, bilateral relations,

der controls. But that was then and

between the respective national po-

development cooperation, function-

now is now. However, what drew me

lice forces. Now don’t start thinking

ing as the focal-point for the Bos-

to the Benelux was the chance to re-

I do this on my own. I merely assist

nian embassy in The Hague and our

shape an old brand, to re-create an

Carlo Trojan. But considering that

embassy in Sarajevo. Like this I get

institution that matters in the daily

he is a former Secretary-General of

my regular (Rakia) shots of compli-

lives of Benelux citizens. I like to

the European Commission, I guess

cated but cozy Balkan time.

daydream that in fifty years, when

that’s pretty cool too.


Dirk Jan Koch ’01

colonial history, a special one. The strong bonds between both countries are reflected in the fact that even today, the Netherlands spends a more of its annual budget on development-aid in Indonesia than on any other country. To be able to work towards the further strengthening of these bonds is a privilege. UCU was as good a preparation as Lisa Bakels ’03, via Amnesty Interna-

minister for Development Coopera-

possible for the nature of this job,

tional to “Klasje 2007”, Policy Advi-

tion, etc… All considered, I’m very

which, not unlike campus-life, of-

sor Egypt and Jordan

happy with this varied, internation-

ten consists of meeting many dead-

al, and challenging job; although I

lines. Still, an Indonesian language-

After the international UCU and HEI

can’t wait to be placed at one of our

course in the UCU-curriculum

in Geneva, my future goals were set:

embassies somewhere far away…

would have come in useful these days.

an international career with lots of travelling and learning about dif-

Hanna Idema ’01, via consultancy

ferent cultures. After internation-

to “Klasje”2007, Policy Advisor Ethi-

Dirk Jan Koch ’01, via a traineeship

al work experiences with OHCHR,

opia and Somalia

for the Delegation of the European Commission to Nigeria to “Klasje”

Amnesty International and el Tribunal Latinoamericano del Agua

To me, this job combines various

2004, now a 1-year PhD research

in Costa Rica, I decided to apply to

aspects of foreign relations that fas-


the foreign ministry. Surprise after

cinate me: politics, peace and secu-

surprise I made it through the se-

rity issues and development cooper-

lection procedure, suddenly finding

ation. The Horn of Africa is a region

myself in “klasje 2007”, reuniting

with many conflicts that are often

gives me a broad overview of many

at the NGO unit, which deals with

with quite a number of UCU friends.

interlinked. Ethiopia is “partner

aspects of international diplomacy

all contracts with the nongovern-

I was placed in the North Africa and

country” of the Netherlands, where

and offers me opportunities to trav-

mental development organisations.

Middle East Department, working

a development program is executed.

el to parts of the world I had never

This summer I will start a three year

mainly on relations between the

As a desk officer, I am working on

imagined I would go to. All in all, it

posting in the Democratic Republic

Netherlands and Egypt and Jordan.

the relationships between the Neth-

is a challenging and exciting envi-

of the Congo, with my UC-wife An-

This involves many aspects such

erlands and Ethiopia and Somalia.

ronment to work in!

nelies Claessens (and the first 100%

as keeping in touch with the Dutch

I am responsible for many of the

embassies in these countries and

contacts with our embassy in Addis

Michiel Hendrix ’04, via an intern-

I will contribute to the Dutch re-

their embassies in The Hague, an-

Abeba and Nairobi (for Somalia), I

ship, Policy Advisor Indonesia

construction efforts. This academic

swering parliamentary questions on

write instructions for European and

the situation of Christians in Jordan,

international fora when these coun-

The relationship between Indone-

search leave by the Ministry of For-

discussing the development cooper-

tries are on the agenda and I pre-

sia and the Netherlands is, if only

eign Affairs, to complete my PhD

ation programme for Egypt with our

pare debates in parliament. The job

because of more than 300 years of


My first three-year placement at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was

UC-baby, as far as I know!), where

year, I was granted a one-year re-

Change Dear alumni,

Lustrum To many dilemmas’ arising in daily life, relationships or in a working environ-

As of next year, UCU will be guided by a new captain, and is faced with the

ment, change will ultimately provide the solution. Sometimes by taking just

challenge to compete and distinguish itself from several UCU copycats

a slightly different approach to people, in other instances by using your cre-

emerging all over the Netherlands. This increasingly competitive educational

ativity and thinking outside the box, and on occasion by drastically altering

arena will necessitate taking an explicit stance on what makes UCU unique

things you’ve been doing for years.

and the values it stands for. Part of UCU’s recently implemented strategic plan for the coming years is devoted to these issues, and they will be ad-

Challenges faced

dressed prominently during UCU’s second Lustrum.

Recently the UCAA faced many of these challenges, each of which has been handled by one or a combination of the aforementioned approaches. Al-

Indeed, the college is progressing into its second decade and has let the pio-

though dissatisfaction with the status quo is often a reason for change, in

neering phase behind. The Lustrum is of course a cause for celebration, but

most cases I think it’s a natural consequence of development and matura-

provides opportunities for reflection and change at the same time. For years,

tion. This is true, without a doubt, for UCUniverse, the interactive platform

UCU has pampered us with the slogan ‘eager to excel’, promoting leader-

for alumni, students and faculty that you have hopefully joined by now. In-

ship. However, the definition of leadership as UCU wishes to employ has

spired by the wish to facilitate a professional networking environment, now

moved to a higher level. Leadership is considered as actively taking responsi-

and in the future, UCU and UCAA joined forces. UCU provided financial

bility to commit ones talents for a better community – or world, if you prefer.

resources, UCAA the data. Although UCUniverse is an example of a major

Besides idealistic and altruistic endeavours, taking responsibility by being a

change, smaller alterations can do the trick as well.

diplomat, teacher, doctor, researcher and so on, falls within this framework as well. In fact, sharing some of your knowledge and experience with current

Inherent to a growing alumni population is an increasing percentage of peo-

students and your fellow alumni fits the description just as nicely. Although

ple you do not know personally. In trying to reach these individuals and en-

actual events have not been planned yet at the time of writing, we anticipate

couraging them to attend events or provide input, a couple of alumni from

your active participation in the year to come!

each year have been asked to become class representative or regional repreOn behalf of the UCAA,

sentatives. One of our goals for the coming years is to increase the involvement of alumni outside the Netherlands, and even just outside Utrecht. A few successful attempts have been made by organising drinks in The Hague

Claire Stramrood ‘04

and London, and we’d like to expand this further. Another positive change


taking place is our closer cooperation with both UCSA and UCU, examples of which are the UCSA/UCAA party and the Career conference.


Who is who? Chair / Claire Stramrood ‘04 Organising Lustrum and Career conference Almost finished SUMMA (medical school) Vice chair / Milla Paalanen ‘07 Coordinating Events and the UCUniverse content team Completing a PhD in Cell biology Secretary / Danielle Langeveld ’03 Making the newsletters and Quaquaversal, as well as answering your emails Completing a PhD in Pathology Treasurer / René Janssen ’06 Technical brain behind UCUniverse, and organising Career conference Almost done with Masters history & philosophy of science

Thank you! * Mark Ruitenbeek ’07, Marten Lammertink ’06, Agnes Venema ’06, Thijs van Himbergen ’04, as well as Eelke Kraak ’08 and Jeroen Claus ’08 from the UCSA Board, and not to forget career development officer Bas Defize, for the pleasant cooperation in organizing the Career Conference * Hannah van der Deijl ’04 and Tabe Dwinger ’06, for organising the Arabian Night’s party and beach party; Joost Sneller ’03 and Philippe Rutten ’03, for organising alumni drinks in the Hague and London, respectively. * Laurens Hebly ’01 for once again making sure the Quaquaversal looks fabulous :-) * Marilyn Verkleij, UCU’s alumni officer, and many others in College Hall, for the pleasant and fruitful cooperation! … and, last but not least: Nancy Deelstra ’03, UCAA’s vice-chair in 2006 and 2007, thanks for all your hard work.

Colophon Editorial Board

Heleen Baartmans ’03

Shanna Schreuder ‘04

Danielle Langeveld ‘03

Lisa Bakels ‘03

Joost Sneller ‘03

Milla Paalanen ‘07

Adinda Ceelen ‘07

Olivier Valk ‘06

Mark Chapman ‘06

Agnes Venema ‘06


Hannah van der Deijl ‘04

Annelies Vredeveldt ‘07

Laurens Hebly ‘01

Steven Dijkhuizen ‘02

Sjoerd Wiemer-Sjoerdsma ‘02

Laure Heilbron ‘06

Emilie Wijers ‘02


Wouter Helders ‘05

Irene v. Gaalen ‘04

Michiel Hendrikx ’04

Many thanks to:

Sergej Muravjov ‘02

Hanna Idema ‘01

Dean Hans van Himbergen

Tim Nicolaye ‘05

Vivianne Doens-Knoppert ‘05

Claire Stramrood ‘04

Joost Stassen ‘05

Dirk-Jan Koch ‘01

René Janssen ‘06

Pim Meeus ‘04

Thijs van Himbergen ‘04


Lisa Numann ‘06

Meline Arakelian ’02

Marieke Obdeyn ‘05

Printed by:

Nasrin Azarkadeh ‘03

Wietske Pijpers ‘02

Drukkerij Zuidam & Uithof B.V.

Congratulations class of 2008

Lieneke Abma

Bianca van Kemenade Iris Groeneveld

Nikki Bakker

Floris Jan Donders

Stijn van Osch Neles van Raalten Gerjanneke Walvoort Saskia de Melker

Sjoerd van der Zande

Katrine Smiet

Amira Gad

Tessa Robins

Suzanne Brink

Dave van Hooijdonk

Toon Coenen Jozef Pijnenburg

Sabine Vuik Moritz Knapp

Bouke Grijseels

Marina Alexandrova Sophie Giles Vanya Vulperhorst Anna Joy Drury Eliav Shtull-Trauring Charlotte Rosalie Emily Meyer Tim Goudsmid

Sebastian Bota

Mike Nicolaije Nicole Grunstra Wouter Kruithof

Orr Shomroni

Edward Perry Samantha Melis

Stela Encheva

Stefan Groen Laurens Speelman

Hasan Çaylak

Maud van Enkhuizen

Berend Schrijver

Rik van Lieshout

David van Damme Maria Martens Serrano

Charlotte Lie-Piang Sanne Kamps

Yolande van der Heide

Victoria Elema

Nienke Palstra

Nien-Chieh Liu

Boaz Zaionce

Bryley Jackson

Hein-Jan ter Meulen Robin Blijde Sanne Nolet Mark van Kessel

Guillaume Pradier

Michiel Blommestijn Linda Brinke Rosanne Klop

Krit Zeegers Pieter Konings

Krijn Dijkstra

Hinde Haest

Henrieke Prins

Sander Werkhoven

Jori Keijsper

Zuzanna Rucinska Tamar van Gelderen

Leanthe van Harten

Anna Zmerzlaya

Stefanie Kolk Laurens Bistervels Eva Hartog

Olubukola Okunnuga

Tessel Boerma

Eelke Kraak Max Meijer

Milou van Gaans Maartje Melse

Irina Buga Tea Pemovska Quirijn den Rooijen Anke Marit Albers

Sanne Vogels

Anouk van den Brink

Urte Kurmanskyte

Sera Visser

Gabriëlla Vogelaar Meike Post

Ursula Beer

Lisa Ott de Bruin

Gwendolyn Vincent

Natalia Voronova

Petulia Fung

Maarten Musch Vida Terzic

Iva Savic Elias Khalil Diederick Niehorster

Charlotte Groffen

Emiko Payton

Diana Bene

Io Flament

Emma Rutten

Julia Gunkel

Gijs van der Schot

Yonah Houwers

Joyce Browne

Remigiusz Piwowarski

Michiel Hoogeveen

Yi Wen Hsia

Linda van der Horst

Daniel Salole

Winnie Gonsu Magoum

Veronika Boskova

Jascha van de Bunt Rebekka Tselms

Myrthe Soer

Anja Srienc

Frerk Froböse

Maurits Dewina

Evelien de Hoop

Andrea Scharmga

Brechtje Wissink Frederique Schut

Rony Calo Sanne de Vries

Samantha Scholte Mirjam Büttner

Moniek Boonk Sharon Koenen

Jeanette Mostert

Michelle Dekker Anna van den Breemer David Hofmeijer Johanneke Tummers

Frans Schutgens Suzanne Veen

Jette Hoog Antink Sander Diederen Amber Ruigrok

Ermina Strutinschi

Rosalie Hans

Jinon Kupferstein

Maayan Silanikove

Ge Song

Marijtje Koolschijn

Gitanjali Singh

Jona Walk

Hanna Streng

Marjolein Janmaat

Susan Tielkemeijer Hannah Bonten

Laura Hamerslag

Katie Linstra

Aseel Moussa

Cecile Post

Romi Lepetska

Caroline Rosenthal

Aislinn Hettyey de Makkoshettye

Olga Muravjova

Eva Traa

Leonie Hussaarts

Laurens Miserus Vincent van Halsema

Lotte Berk

Loes Hoogenboom

Ruben van Genderen

Aansan Yeh

Danny in ‘t Veld

Gijs Stevers

Janna Ter Meer

Vincent Tedjakusuma

Atalia Reznik

Jannis Visser

Annemarie Borghuis

Esther Glotzbach

Michelle Tigchelaar Barbara Dismore Dias de Lima Monteiro

University College Alumni Association

QQV Magazine 2008 / UCAA  

the University College Alumni Association magazine 2008

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