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4 questions for Daan Weggemans, new programme director for bachelor Security Studies

As of 1 January 2020 Daan Weggemans has succeeded Ruth Prins as programme director of the bachelor Security Studies. We asked him several questions about himself and his new position.

Can you tell us a little about your background and how you ended up in your new position?

I have been working for Leiden University since 2011. For the past few years, I have been conducting research into the Anders Breivik attacks in Norway, into foreign jihad-fighters in Syria and their families, but also into the reintegration of jihadist offenders and the use of digital technologies within the security domain. During the same period, I have also taught a large variety of classes, for instance on the war in Syria and on how to conduct research within the security domain. 

What does your new position actually involve?

As of 1 January 2020, I have been appointed as director of the bachelor's programme Security Studies, a unique and developing programme aimed at analysing and understanding contemporary security issues. As such, I am responsible for the content and execution of the programme. It means, for instance, having to think about the curriculum, developing strategies for staff deployment and trying to establish links with organisations working in the field.

What are your goals for your new position?

The bachelor Security Studies is a fairly new programme. The first cohort of students started in 2017 and will graduate this year. In a short period of time the programme has developed its own identity. Now we are about the enter the second phase in which we no longer are having to build things from scratch but have a bit more time to reflect. I hope to contribute to the further development of the programme in the next few years. In doing so, I am roughly focussing on three areas: the quality of our research and education, the safety of our students and staff and the social embedding of our programme. This way, I eventually hope to contribute to the quality of our education and the development of our students in the long run. It would be wonderful if our alumni would find their way to worthwhile positions inside and outside academia, from government to intelligence agencies and from consultants to journalists. 

What are you looking forward to most in your new position?

The interaction with both colleagues and students. As well as collaborating on such an interesting and exciting programme that focusses on state-of-the-art research as well as on trend issues. 

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