Martijn has completed a bachelor’s Biology and master’s Forest and Nature Conservation in Wageningen. During his master’s he was elected Dutch UN Youth Representative. He recently graduated and will remain representative for the coming months.
Can you tell us something about your job as UN Youth Representative
“During my Master I applied for the position ‘Dutch UN Youth Representative’. It is not really a job, as I don’t get paid and it is officially part time. I just graduated, and my mandate is for two years. So for the coming months I will still be active within this position. You can read more about my experiences as representative in this article from Resource.”
Have you always wanted to have a job like this?
“No, as a child I always thought I was going to become a nature photographer or a behavioural biologist studying wild animals. But during my studies I developed a drive to fight for the protection of nature, next to my fascination. There are many global challenges related to food, water, climate, migration and poverty that all have their roots in ecosystem disruption. I am really motivated to tackle those challenges.”
What have you done as a student that helped you to get where you are now?
“I was active at my student association Ceres in different part-time and full-time positions. I was a finalist in the 1% club studentbattle. This resulted in the REEFolution Foundation of which I have been a board member of from the start till last year. My thesis on deep sea ecosystems was super interesting and exciting. In a small submarine I descended to 300 meter down the surface to study the interactions with deep sea ecosystems and surface ecosystems.”
How has Wageningen University & Research helped you in your career path?
“Wageningen University & Research has provided me the space to develop myself on personal and professional level beside my regular study programme. They really supported me in all my extracurricular activities by being really flexible with planning. Without that flexibility it would have been difficult to combine. Many teachers have amazed me. Not only during inspiring lectures and excursions, but also as partners in setting up projects like the REEFolution Foundation.”
What are your future goals?
“After two years of United Nations with a lot of talking and policy, I want to work more on the implementation of those policies. But besides that I have no future goals yet.”