The Board of Evolucio was very honoured to have been invited to the third Dies Natalis of Leiden University College. This year, it was celebrated two days prior to the actual event, as the 29th of September falls on a Sunday. Students, staff, and special guests gathered in an informal setting, in LUC’s own auditorium in the Anna van Buerenplein building. We were welcomed by Jos Schaekens, the new dean of LUC, who spoke about LUC 2.0, and how this year LUC would grow, with the necessary changes (such as himself, Freya Baetens, the new Director of Studies, a new Managing Director, and so on). He sounded very enthusiastic, and he definitely showed his dedication to LUC.
The next thing ‘on the menu,’ to quote Jos, was the book launch of Yih-Jye Hwang’s Global Challenges: Peace and War. For all alumni who haven’t heard about this book: make sure you either get a copy, or borrow one, and read the dedication, because Jay and Lucie Cerna (now back at Oxford) thank all the people who have contributed to this edited volume, but ends with thanking the students of the classes of 2013, 2014 and 2015. They dedicate the book to the students. The purpose of this book is to provide 1st years of LUC a comprehensive overview of the disciplinary theory of peace and war (in that order!), and an elaboration of the case studies. Many people at LUC whom we know have written a chapter, such as Laurens van Apeldoorn, Ann Wilson, Francesco Ragazzi, Patsy Haccou, Corina Stan, but also Eric Storm and Niels van Willigen, and of course Yih-Jye Hwang and Lucie Cerna. After the book was officially launched, by a quick, but excellent improvised speech by Freya Baetens, members of the LUC faculty were invited on stage for a panel discussion about teaching peace and way in a liberal arts college.
This panel discussion, led by Freya, led us to the next element of the Dies Natalis, namely the launch of the ICC multimedia exhibition: ‘Justice Matters’. The registrar of the ICC, Herman von Hebel, introduced the LUC students and staff to the role of the ICC, and why justice does indeed matter. For anyone who wants to see this multimedia exhibition, make sure to visit the Anna van Buerenplein sometime soon, because the exhibition will still be there on the 2nd floor!
It was then time for some common aspects of a Dies Natalis, namely the inauguration of the Fortuna Board and the awards for best teacher, best admissions essay, and best academic performance. The three present members of the old Fortuna Board, Miika Korja, who delivered a speech passing on the gavel to the new board, Georgina Kuipers, and Christine Everaars received their engraved LUC watches. Then the new Fortuna Board members were invited on stage, after which Christine, the chair, thanked the old board, and spoke with excitement about the coming year. She then also presented the LUC Best Teacher Award, which went out to Bríd Walsh! Sophie Starrenburg, who will be graduating this year, received the Dean’s Prize for Best Academic Performance. Normally at a Dies Natalis, the event ends with a performance of the LUC Choir, and so it happened this year as well. Congratulations to Anna-Liisa Springham for organising and leading the choir, who performed their Gospel Project, which sounded really good!
As Jos ended the Dies Natalis, ‘let’s go and grab a beer,’ the LUC students and staff went down to the 2nd floor, where the student bar would now officially be opened. The Evolucio board enjoyed a drink, but most of all, enjoyed the company of LUC staff and students, whilst celebrating three years of LUC. Cheers!