On Friday 27th September, the third of a series of jubilee alumni events took place, this time in Beijing. This alumni event is part of a series of alumni events being organised in the jubilee year of the 95th Anniversary of Wageningen University. The event took place on the same day as the Wageningen Day at the China Agricultural University where the Strategic Partnership agreement was signed by both presidents of respective universities. A total of 100 alumni from all over China were present at the event which was both a reunion to see former classmates and to meet new Wageningen friends.
The event was kindly hosted at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and all alumni, academics, and staff from Wageningen University received a warm welcome by the Deputy Ambassador Mr. Driessen. Friesland Campina kindly sponsored the event. Our President, Mr. Aalt Dijkhuizen, opened the event by stressing the importance of engaging with alumni worldwide and the fact that so many alumni living in China turned up for this event proved that we should do this on a regular basis. He showed the current developments at Wageningen UR, our growth in MSc and PhD student numbers, and gave insight in our China cooperation both in education and research collaboration. Our China office in Beijing playing a central role in all of this.
The speakers of the evening talked more in-depth about Nutrition Security and its importance in China. Prof. van Boekel gave us a broader view on nutrition security with explaining that it is the integration of food security, food safety, and food quality. Knowledge-intensive technology is needed to reach nutrition security but innovation in food production can only be successful if it has an integrative, multi- and interdisciplinary approach, from a food chain perspective. Cooperation with the industry is also vital, together with the knowledge of Wageningen Alumni to tackle the necessary challenges.
Mr. Schaap, Director Dairy Development China, from Friesland Campina explained that in China, the aspiration of Friesland Campina to export their integrated approach from grass-to-glass chain can only be done with maximum collaboration of local support. Foreign dairy players in China are needed to secure supply and development of local capabilities. The role of Wageningen alumni in better food is to make knowledge work.
The last speaker Dr. Qu Futian, Vice-President Nanjing Agricultural University and Mayor of Huai-An, talked about the necessary collaborations for Chinese institutions with international institutes such as Wageningen University. This will enhance both the education and research developments needed to solve the nutrition security issues in China and also strengthen the regions’ collaboration.
The evening continued with an informal reception where there was plenty of time to further discuss the topic nutrition security. However, many mainly liked to share their Wageningen student memories again, which made them realise that Wageningen still plays a very strong role for most alumni, whether recently graduated or over forty years ago. Ideas about future alumni activities in China were discussed and will be followed up very soon.