Resilient cities and societies for future generations were the focus of Erasmus University Rotterdam's 109th Dies Natalis on Tuesday 8 November 2022. Children and young people are an important research topic at our university. We want to talk not only about them, but also with them. That is why young people also had their say during this celebration.
True to tradition, rector magnificus Annelien Bredenoord delivered the graduation speech. Two top scientists also received honorary doctorates from our university and awards were presented for exceptional achievements in our academic community. Music came from Ukrainian artist INOYSON and host was Mpanzu Bamenga.
Luca Milcoveanu (16), a pupil from Rotterdam's Wolfert Bilingual, opened the 109th anniversary celebrations. He represented children and young people from all over the world with his story. Then, several children - from Korea to Mexico, Bahrain to New Zealand - told what they expect from the future in a video.
How do we as Erasmus University Rotterdam contribute to a resilient future? In her graduation speech, Rector Annelien Bredenoord advocated long-term thinking. She stressed the importance of cooperation both inside and outside the university to achieve optimal results, and thus be good ancestors for future generations. To illustrate this, every attendee received a Lego brick to symbolically build the figurative Erasmus cathedral together.
EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Mariya Gabriel stressed the importance of good education through a video message. She expressed appreciation for our university's role in transforming cities towards a greener and more inclusive future.
Traditionally, two scientists from outside our university were awarded honorary doctorates during the Dies Natalis. The first was professor Ann Masten, professor at the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota. Her honorary supervisor professor Loes Keijsers (ESSB) praised Masten for her very valuable contributions to the scientific research on resilience in adolescents and families and the policy that emerges from it. Her work calls on adults to take responsibility for the future of youth.
The second honorary doctor is professor Ien Ang, professor of Cultural Studies at Western Sydney University. Her pioneering research on fans of popular culture has ensured that they are taken seriously at the academic level. Honorary supervisor professor Susanne Janssen (ESHCC) called her an inspiring role model and mentor for younger scholars.
A lot of awards
The EUR anniversary celebrations are also the time when several awards are presented. Else-Marie van den Herik (ESE and ESL) and Nyota Kanyemesha (ESHCC) received the Lambers Student Excellence Award 2022 from the hands of Alexander Rinnooy Kan. Michelle Achterberg won the Research Prize 2022 for her research on the development of social behaviour in children.
The jury of the FAME Athena Award 2022 concluded that two candidates were equally suitable as winners and therefore decided to award not one, but two prizes this year. The laureates are Corine van der Sande and Hanan el Marroun. Both are praised for their leadership and have long been committed to recognising female talent within their institutions.
This article was first published on 9 November by Erasmus University Rotterdam.