Graduation MIRD Class of 2021
On Friday 9 July 2021 the graduation of the two-year Advanced MSc International Relations and Diplomacy (MIRD) programme took place in the Academy Building in Leiden. The ceremony was opened by Professor Madeleine Hosli.
The graduation ceremony was in four groups this year. This was the only way the graduates could all be there in person with some family members. Family and friends who couldn’t travel joined the ceremony via the livestream.
Most of the students who graduated began the MIRD programme in fall 2019. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the transition from in-person teaching and learning to many online courses and activities had to take place. The programme offered as many sessions as possible in-person, whenever that was possible and allowed within the applicable regulations. But notably the thesis-writing phase was during lockdown and supervision was remote.
Hosli: ‘The fact that, during these difficult circumstances, you managed to complete the programme and notably in the last couple of months, to intensively write your Master’s thesis, is a true achievement.’
The Future of Multilateralism
Another big achievement was the ‘internship alternative’. Many students had their internship cancelled last year because of the pandemic. As an alternative, together with Professor of International Relations Madeleine Hosli, they wrote a book: The Future of Multilateralism. It is published by the international publisher Rowman and Littlefield this month. Hosli: ‘This demonstrates what our students are capable of doing – to produce high-quality research that can compete with the work of academics across the globe. Such achievements, students, in challenging times, are something that makes one feel proud – thanks for all your motivation, dedication and hard work.’
Crisis released creativity
Prof. Melissen also welcomes the graduating students and their families and emphasizes how the ongoing crisis seems to also have made the students more creative and, paradoxically perhaps, more productive. ‘During the pandemic our students showed a greater drive to publish and, in that way, leave their mark on the world. I am amazed that the crises released so much creativity and excellent work, including publications based on course work. Students and staff collaborated on a variety of projects and I would not be surprised if the students' achievements, in general, exceed those of normal times.'
Study association IRSA
After the speech by Jan Melissen, a member of the International Relations Study Association (IRSA) gave a short speech. For example, Sonja Niedecken recited a self-written poem about the graduates. Niedecken concluded ‘We still managed to graduate, this group is passionate, likes to discuss politics, learn about each other’s languages, cultures. And we had a lot of fun together.’
After the speech by a member of IRSA, all students got their diploma with a personal speech by Madeleine Hosli.
Class of 2021
Instead of throwing their caps into the air in a group, they moved their tassle collectively, from right to left; this symbolized that they are graduated. And of course they, in groups of four, put their signature in the famous ‘zweetkamertje’.
About the MIRD programme
The two-year Advanced MSc IRD programme offers you a unique blend of academic education in international relations and political science with practical graduate education and training in international negotiation and diplomacy. You attend a wide range of courses, develop your analytical and research skills, take on an internship, write your master’s thesis, and build your network with experts in relevant fields. Upon graduation you are prepared to take on positions in international organisations, politics, and diplomacy; or for PhD research.