Jacqueline Pieters new chair of University Fund Wageningen

ir. Jacqueline Pieters - Zetsma (WUR - Agricultural Economics 1992) will be the new chair of the Wageningen University Fund as of 1 March 2022. She takes over from Jan Karel Mak, who has held the presidency since 2010. Who is Jacqueline?

Let us introduce Jacqueline

My name is Jacqueline, I live in Utrecht, I am married and I have three daughters. I wanted to study economics from an early age, but I quickly said: I want to relate that to food and agribusiness. I find it fascinating how this industry works: how many links there are, how dependent you are on nature and also on the changes in nature. After my studies I enjoyed working at Rabobank for 28 years, in the role of financial and strategic advisor to clients worldwide who are active in the food industry and agricultural sector. Now I work as a supervisory director at young companies that want to make the food chain more sustainable.

I come from a family of Wageningen engineers. My father and my mother studied in Wageningen, and my mother was even the first female dairy engineer in The Netherlands. My brother and I also studied here, as did my uncle and my niece. And now my nephew has registered. My parents always donated to the Anne van den Ban Fund, Dr. Van den Ban was also a fellow student of theirs.

In my spare time I cycle a lot; last year I cycled 9000 km on my road bike. I also play tennis, do yoga, serve on the board of a charity in Dominica, and enjoy spending time with my family and friends.

What does WUR mean to you?

WUR means a lot to me. I had a great time as a student. Most of my friends are from my university days and I still see them often. WUR also offered connections abroad, where I traveled a lot for my work. When you meet an alumnus in another country, it's always good and there's always a connection. And when you say abroad, especially in China and India, that you come from The Netherlands, they say 'Wageningen'! It's so well known there. That also makes you proud. I consider it a privilege to have been able to study at this university.

Why did you step into this role as chair?

First and foremost, I'm a "Wageninger". In addition, I have worked as a consultant for the food industry worldwide my entire life, and during that time I learned more and more how important it is to deal with food more sustainably in terms of production, logistics and consumption. And I am convinced that with the University Fund we can contribute to making food chains more sustainable. I would like to use my work experience and my contacts to make a positive contribution to this.

How can the University Fund Wageningen (UFW) contribute to sustainable food systems?

I see the UFW as the link between donors and philanthropic institutions, and WUR. As a result, research that is not or only partially eligible for regular funding can be supported and accelerated - research that can have a significant impact on our food system in the long run. In this way we can also offer students who cannot finance their studies themselves the opportunity to acquire knowledge in Wageningen. It is good to export this Wageningen knowledge, so that we can realise a sustainable food system worldwide. I really hope that with UFW we can accelerate and strengthen connections between donors and WUR.

So I call on everyone: Donate! This can be done in money, but also in knowledge, for example by helping Wageningen students and start-ups with your network and experience.