Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Alumni event | Debat

Cleveringa Meeting Leiden 2020

Wednesday 25 November 2020

All Leiden alumni, students and anyone else who might be interested is welcome to attend the online Cleveringa Meeting in Leiden entitled:

The Corrosion of International Relations


  • Prof. Maartje van der Woude
  • Prof. Theo Brinkel
  • Prof. Erwin Muller
  • Prof. Rob de Wijk
  • Prof. Alexander Rinnooy Kan

Since 1946, the Leiden University Fund has been holding its annual Cleveringa meetings to commemorate the protest speech given by Professor Rudolph Cleveringa on 26 November 1940.

From the Great Auditorium, in the same place as where Professor Cleveringa delivered his impassioned speech, we will broadcast to all our Leiden alumni around the world a live debate (in English) between five professors from Leiden on the topic: The Corrosion of International Relations.

Program - Registration - Contact

In the 2020 Leiden Cleveringa Meeting, which will be held online rather than in person because of corona measures in the Netherlands and abroad, we want to consider from different perspectives the topical theme of the corrosion of international relations.

We are asking five Leiden professors to give a short address about this corrosion from the perspective of their specialism. They will then debate the matter together.

The following professors have been invited:

As we have international alumni all around the world, we will be holding the meeting in English.

Johnson planning a bill that torpedoes the treaty he himself signed with the EU a year before, Erdogan sending navy and survey ships to look for oil in Greek waters, Netanyahu signing a treaty with Bahrain without informing his minister for foreign affairs, the posturing of leaders such as Trump and Putin, the general tendency to want to protect one’s own economy and close the borders to others… More than 20 years after sociologist and historian Richard Sennett  wrote The Corrosion of Character, it would seem we are now facing the corrosion of international relations and cooperation.

For Sennett, the corrosion of character meant that as the production process and workforce become more flexible, common values begin to lose their meaning. This flexibility clashes with the fundamental human need for stability, reliability and continuity. The corrosion of character may be related in some way to the corrosion of international relations and cooperation. The feelings of uncertainty engendered in part by excessive tendencies toward flexibilisation and globalisation form a breeding ground for fundamentalism and populism – and are these not characteristics that the above leaders share to some extent at least? These characteristics may also inspire high-handed and protectionist behaviour on the international stage and actions that upset international relations.

Date         : Wednesday 25 November
Time        : 20.00 to 21.15 hours (Netherlands time) 
Location : online
Cost         : free
Language: English
Please register here. You will receive a confirmation mail. 

  • Prof. R.B. (Bas) ter Haar Romeny,  Voorzitter (1986 - SSR)
  • Mrs. H.J. (Hanneke) Wiessing, Secretaris (1984 - Quintus)
  • G.V. van Duyneveldt, Penningmeester (1991 - Augustinus)
  • W.R.J. (Wiltfried) Idema, Commissaris Alumnirelaties  (1980 - Minerva)
  • P.G. (Peter) Nederpel, Commissaris Alumnirelaties (1989 - Horus Fonds, Catena)
  • M.J. (Michael) Juffermans, Commissaris Alumnirelaties (1990 -Quintus)
  • Flo Rosenberg,  Commissaris Studentenrelaties (2016- Minerva)

During the Second World War, on 26 November 1940, several professors from Leiden gave protest speeches following the dismissal of their Jewish colleagues. In his protest speech Professor Cleveringa, the dean of the Faculty of Law, explained in precise detail why the measures introduced by the German occupier were in violation of international law.

Professor Van Holk, a professor of theology, also gave a protest speech and devoted his subsequent lecture to the Jewish philosopher Spinoza.

To commemorate these famous protest speeches, the Leiden University Fund, in collaboration with the Cleveringa committees, holds its annual Cleveringa meetings around 26 November (also known as the 26 November Meetings) in which academics from Leiden give lectures all around the world.

Hanneke Wiessing
Cleveringa Committee Leiden

This website uses cookies.  More information.