"Companies Need Foreign Talent''
As the academic year drew to a close on Friday, Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences celebrated its latest group of graduates at its 2018 Summer Graduation Ceremony held at the Apeldoorn City Hall. The 44 graduates included three MSc students, one MBA student, and 34 bachelor's degree students. They are from 19 different countries.
Wittenborg celebrated its first graduates from its Amsterdam location, which opened 3 years ago. All of them graduated with a double degree – one from Wittenborg and one from the University of Brighton in the UK. Also receiving diplomas were 5 Foundation Phase students and one exchange student, Weikun Gan, from the Shanghai Lixin University of Accounting and Finance, who took part in a student exchange programme with Wittenborg.
"From Now on, You will Always Be a Little Dutch''
The guest speakers for the day were local councilor, Alderman Nathan Stukker, who is a member of the Apeldoorn city council, and the deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Brighton, Prof Chris Pole. Wittenborg's chair of the executive board, Peter Birdsall, made the final remarks. Stukker said he was proud of the fact that Wittenborg had chosen Apeldoorn to establish its programme and to start a Doctoral College in the city, together with the University of Brighton. He told Wittenborg’s international graduates: “From now on, you will always be a little Dutch – even if you choose to go home.
“All education is important to any community, large or small, and higher education is especially important to a municipality like Apeldoorn. It brings with it livelihood, youth and enterprise, and graduates, such as yourselves, can act as ambassadors for the city and its companies and organisations. Some of you may even remain or return to live and work in Apeldoorn.
“Since Wittenborg arrived in our community in 2010, we have seen the institute working with companies and organisations in the region, developing degree programmes and starting research projects that are in line with the themes of our region, whilst working with local and reginal government to achieve this. It’s what is called the ‘triple helix’ – higher education, industry and government working together for the same goals.
"Companies Need Foreign Talent to Stay Competitive"
“We are extremely happy to hear that Wittenborg, together with the University of Brighton is to start a doctoral college in Apeldoorn, which will attract PhD researchers and research projects to the region. We look forward to the impact that this will have.” Stukker added that in a globalised economy, companies need to recruit foreign talent in order to stay competitive. “The Dutch minister of higher education herself recently acknowledged this in her recent letter to parliament, listing the many reasons why the Netherlands needs international students.”
Pole said Wittenborg is one of the finest and most respected institutions of its kind. "You will become part of a 30-year track record which has seen thousands of highly employable graduates step from Wittenborg onto gainful career paths in the Netherlands and around the world. Critics sometimes question the value of a university education, but what they cannot deny is that universities create jobs that every community relies on – teachers, doctors, business leaders, scientists, etc. - we are all the products of our universities.
"The University of Brighton Values its Association with Wittenborg''
"The University of Brighton highly values its association with this university. Our long-standing partnership has proved enormously rewarding, especially between our respective Business, and Sport and Service Mangement Schools, and I would like to express my gratitude to all at Wittenborg University for your continuing goodwill and support."
''Universities more Inclusive than Ever''
Pole added that universities are more inclusive than ever, giving people from many backgrounds the opportunity to transform their lives and prospects. "Universities attract valuable income and investment, including the income and jobs that students bring. University research changes the world and improves people's everyday lives in all sorts of ways.
Impact of Brexit
''Brexit may be clouding the future at the moment, but we at the University of Brighton are clear about our ambition – we will strive to maintain our close relationship with our European partners and, indeed, grow them further where we can."
Birdsall expressed his pride at seeing so many graduates at this year's ceremony and made special mention of Amsterdam IBA graduates who are the first to graduate with a double degree. ''In addition, we have two graduates from Amsterdam who are receiving first-class honours degrees from Brighton – Tatiana Nesterenko from Belarus and Maria Lizarrago from Mexico.
''Limiting International Students and English Programmes in the Netherlands would be Madness''
''The world is in a strange situation right now. You have the US president Donald Trump making all these statements and you have Brexit. It is a bit like England playing in the semi-finals of the football World Cup – you hope it will turn out all right. Let's hope the English play better Brexit than football.'' Birdsall also spoke about recent debates in the Netherlands around the number of international students and English programmes. ''It would be total madness to stop international students from coming to the Netherlands or not teach university programmes in English. It would be detrimental to the country.''
by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press