The latest group of graduates from Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences were urged to be “ambassadors of internationalism and tolerance” during the 2017 Winter Graduation ceremony on Friday.
Wittenborg’s chair of the executive board, Peter Birdsall, told graduates that, considering what’s happening in the world and the anti-reaction to internationalism, they were a beacon of hope. “It is important that you are ambassadors of internationalism in a world where people seem to struggle in coping with the concept.”
Almost 40 bachelor's and master's students, from some 13 different nationalities, graduated from Wittenborg on Friday.
Guest speaker, Alderman Johan Kruithof from the Apeldoorn city council, said students are living in challenging times, but urged them to not let themselves be defined by others. “As international students you have already been brave enough, in a manner of speaking, to ‘cross the water’ and study in a different country, and thereby proving to yourself that fear does not define you. To the Dutch students: You have had the courage and curiosity to study at an international university and leave your comfort zone behind and expose yourself to different cultures.”
He also said he believed in the concept of life-long learning, and hoped that the international students found the city stimulating and welcoming.
Wittenborg’s interim Academic Dean, Dr Regina Kecht, who was also in attendance from Vienna, told the graduates that Wittenborg took pride in having created a completely international environment at the level of students, staff and faculty. “I’m sure you have discovered lots of fascinating things about other cultures, countries and perspectives inside and outside the classroom at Wittenborg. And due to this you have become more open-minded and tolerant. You can accept differences and appreciate diversity.
“I would like you to make a conscious effort at disseminating this spirit and contribute to a more peaceful, more cooperative and more understanding world.”
The graduates were also congratulated by Birdsall, who reminded students that they will henceforth be considered Wittenborg alumni. “It is like that song (by the Eagles), Hotel California: You may enter, but you will never leave,” he joked.
“As Wittenborg grows and develop, that will add to your CV, because people will always be interested to know where you studied. Our promise to you is that we will continue to improve the quality and diversity at Wittenborg, and increase its reputation as an international Dutch institute of higher education.”
by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press