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Graduating at a 'crucial' point in time for humanity

‘You are the last generation that will have an effective influence on the future of the world.' This was the message given by guest speaker Maurits Groen to the 135 students who graduated at Leiden University College in The Hague on 6 July.

They had been working towards this moment for three years, which was clear from their faces: the students of Leiden University College (LUC) were grinning from ear to ear as they mounted the podium in cap and gown. No fewer than 135 students received their diploma in the World Forum in The Hague.

Foundation on which to build

‘This may well be the end of your study time at LUC, but that doesn't mean that you will stop learning,' Dean Judi Mesman said during the ceremony. 'LUC is the foundation on which you will build your future because all your future growth will be on top of the knowledge you now have. I hope that your study time here in The Hague will contribute to the direction you choose to take in the future.' 

Who knows, maybe these students will decide to apply their knowledge to address one of the important societal challenges that we are currently facing, such as climate change or the loss of biodiversity. 'You are graduating at a crucial point in time in world history,' keynote speaker Maurits Groen told the students. Groen is founder of WakaWaka, a company that provides many people in poor countries with light and electricity powered by solar energy. 'You are the last generation that will have an effective influence on the future of the world.' 

Global challenges

There is a high chance that a considerable proportion of the students will actually be working on these global challenges after graduating. At LUC The Hague the focus of the programme is on global chalenges: complex global issues are studied from the perspective of different disciplines. Students consider the challenges from the humanities, social sciences and exact sciences.  LUC educates world citizens who can work anywhere in the world.   

‘But we don't work only on global challenges, but also on the challenges within ourselves,' said Janna van Wermeskerken, who was nominated by her fellow students as class representative for her year group. 'Myself, I conquered my fear of failure, but each of us has learned more about ourselves. Our shared experiences probably count even more than our individual performances. Even though we are unlikely to remember all we learned in the lectures, I know for sure we will carry our shared emotions with us for the rest of our lives.' 

Global Citizenship Award

This was a special award ceremony for Joeri Reinders, who was presented with the Global Citizenship Award. During his studies he played an active part in organising the Dies Natalis and the annual gala, and was one of the most committed and enterprising students in his year. 

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