Last week we celebrated our 70th birthday. Congratulations to all of us!!
Established in 1952, ISS moved from providing capacity building for civil servants to offering a master programme in development studies; from training the trainers into a research-intensive university institute conducting high quality, socially relevant research with a strong PhD programme. Yet our key aspects remained the same: our core values of Social Justice and Equity, our critical social science approach and our strong ideology to make the world a better place.
The theme of our 70th anniversary is Reconnecting: with each other at ISS, with our alumni around the world, with our partners in the global South and with the city of The Hague. The pictures on the windows around our building of us holding hands nicely symbolize this theme. All those hands reaching out to each other feel like a warm embrace. The same hands are on the ISS flags on the Hofvijver near the Binnenhof and with them we send a great ISS message to all inhabitants and politicians in The Hague.
The Dies celebration on 13 October was one big feast of reconnecting with each other. The high tea for retired staff, the alumni lunch and visit from a group of alumni who graduated 50 years ago, and hence studied at Palace Noordeinde, greatly contributed to our festivities.
It was particularly nice to celebrate our Dies with current staff at Panorama Mesdag. For many colleagues who joined ISS during the pandemic this was their first opportunity to participate in such a celebration. It’s wonderful that we can now build our relationship with these colleagues in person!
We celebrated the Dies itself by reconnecting to the past. We travelled through time, from Palace Noordeinde to Hotel Wittebrug and Kortenaerkade, and took a peek into our future. It was about looking backwards in order to be able to move forwards. With the world in turmoil on many fronts, the shifting powers from global North to the global South, the importance of decolonizing knowledge and aid all make ISS’ knowledge and expertise even more relevant.
Our strong academic team has recently been augmented by three professorial promotions: Rosalba Icaza (the first woman full professor of colour at ISS), Lorenzo Pellegrini and Andrew Fischer. And two new professors joined ISS this autumn: Professor Arul Chib arrived from Singapore to become professor of Technology and Global Development; Professor Shuaib Lwasa, originally from Uganda but resident in the Netherlands for some time, joined ISS as professor of Urban Resilience and Global Development. The professional staff that have joined us recently will ensure that ISS can continue to offer top-notch services to aspiring development professionals well into the future.