Over 60 alumni living and working in China attended the relaunch of the Alumni chapter in China on 2 December 2014 in Beijing. The enthusiasm of meeting fellow alumni from Wageningen University was surely there. Alumni who recently graduated, Chinese alumni working in institutes who already have strong ties with Wageningen and Dutch alumni living in China shared the common ground of being a 'Wageningen alumnus'.
After a warm welcome address by the deputy Ambassador Mr. André Driessen of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Prof. Louise O. Fresco, President of the Executive Board of Wageningen UR (University & Research centre) shared her views on what Wageningen UR needs to focus on in the years to come.
Fresco: “In order to feed the world population in a sustainable way, Wageningen UR will have to focus on: 1) interdisciplinary research and co-operation amongst the five knowledge domains, even more so than we do already, an example: One Health, areas where expertise is needed from all knowledge domains within Wageningen UR, 2) to strengthen the organisation and realise One Wageningen, not a separation between Wageningen University and our Research Institutes. Applied research needs fundamental research in order to blossom and vice versa, and 3) we as an organisation have to realise that society has a view on important issues nowadays, such as genetic modification or organic agriculture and intensive agriculture. We have to start the dialogue with society, not only to communicate facts and figures but also to realise that a lot has to do with emotion. Wageningen Dialogue with society becomes more and more important in the future.”
Prof. Fresco stressed the importance of continuing the dialogue with alumni in China and elsewhere. An alumni chapter is a very good means to re-establish the relationships now and in the future. To commemorate the launch, the signing of the declaration was done by the three speakers and they were given the first pins which were especially designed for the chapter in China.
To conclude, the President of the Supervisory Board and Professor in Food Sciences, Prof. Han Bei-Zhong gave an overview on the mission of the chapter, the role of the executive board and supervisory board and shared ideas on activities to organise in 2015. During the dinner, more discussion took place amongst alumni on what activities should be organised in the future.