Toespraak minister Van Engelshoven bij University College Roosevelt

Ter ere van de opening van een gerenoveerd gebouw sprak minister Van Engelshoven (OCW) op 3 november 2021 bij University College Roosevelt, in Middelburg. De toespraak is alleen in het Engels beschikbaar.

[Let op: het gesproken woord geldt!]

©Liam McClain

Good afternoon everyone,

Leading up to today, I was reminded of the last time I visited University College Roosevelt. It was 3 years ago, in December 2018. During my visit then I spoke with students about human rights. I can still vividly remember what 1 of them, a transgender student, shared that afternoon. For that student, UCR was “1 of the safest places in the world.”

These words impressed me. They underscore how important schools and universities are in the lives of young people. For their future. And in my opinion, they also illustrate the value of thís university, and its close-knit community.

Today, we underline the importance of cooperation, and of looking across the boundaries of disciplines.

So I am very honoured to visit UCR again, right here in the heart of beautiful Middelburg. Today we celebrate the opening of a newly renovated building, as well as UCR’s new Engineering major. In doing so, we also underline the importance of cooperation, and of looking across the boundaries of disciplines, sectors and countries.

Just look at everyone gathered here today. I see students and teachers from around the world. I see colleagues from all parts of the government. I see partners from businesses and civil society in Zeeland.

Your cooperation over the past years is why we are able to celebrate all of this today. It all fits seamlessly with the idea behind the so-called “Regio Deals” that the government has struck throughout the Netherlands. An idea that Eleanor Roosevelt, Anne’s grandmother, already expressed 50 years ago in her final book Tomorrow is Now. She wrote that “the world cannot be understood from a single point of view.”

I would venture to say the “Regio Deals” are in keeping with the spirit of this quote. Because with the “Regio Deals”, we first looked at the challenges and opportunities in a particular region, together with governments, businesses and civil society. We did this from multiple perspectives. And by now, a large number of regions are actively working together on solutions to boost the general level of wellbeing throughout the country. And they are doing this using multiple disciplines.

We are doing the exact same thing here, with the “Regio Deal Zeeland”. The central and local governments are investing a total of 70 million euros to boost prosperity and the economic power of Zeeland. And here too, we are working together and across borders, with many parties from many different fields.

The expansion of UCR will also provide benefits beyond the borders of Zeeland.

Today, we are witnessing the results of this effort: a new major and a newly renovated building for UCR. What a wonderful achievement.

In the first place, of course, for the province of Zeeland. The new facilities and courses will attract even more talent to Middelburg, both from the Netherlands and abroad. And without a doubt, graduates will then find their way to organizations throughout Zeeland.

Moreover, I am sure that the expansion of UCR will also provide benefits beyond the borders of Zeeland. After all, engineering is, as Anne Roosevelt herself puts it, “ultimately necessary to humanity”.

In my view, the same applies to UCR’s philosophy and working method: looking outwards, beyond disciplines, and outside of our own individual boxes. Focused on cooperation, and on solutions that come from all possible directions. Thís is the way of working that we need to face up to the major challenges of our time.

Engineering is, as Anne Roosevelt herself puts it, “ultimately necessary to humanity”.

Dear friends,

UCR has been a unique university for over fifteen years. A safe haven, in the heart of a beautiful province.

The arrival of the Engineering major and the renovated building offers even more students and teachers the opportunity to make the most of their time here. This is a wonderful accomplishment, and something to be very proud of.

©Liam McClain

It is therefore a great honour for me to conduct the official opening of this building in a few moments. For now, I wish all of you a day filled with inspiration, and I look forward to all the wonderful things that will continue to come out of Zeeland.

Thank you for your kind attention.