On Friday the 3rd of September 2021, the graduation ceremony of KIT’s master’s students took place in the Queen Maxima Hall, with 69 students from 27 countries receiving their master’s degree in Public or International Health.
After another very different year, the graduation ceremony took place with only students and KIT staff present, but family and friends from all over the world watched via the live stream.
Representatives from KIT, VU, alumni and graduates gave speeches on stage and via video link.
An unusual year
This year was again an unusual year. The academic year started with in-person classes at KIT, albeit with restrictions and smaller groups. It was hoped that the situation would improve, but the opposite happened, as from December 2020 onwards, all classes had to convert to virtual lessons until Spring 2021 due to the lockdown. For months the KIT building, which normally houses a vibrant international community with classes full of students from all over the world, went quiet again.
Marjolein Zweekhorst, Professor Innovation and Education, VU Vrije Universiteit, addressed the students: “Corona influenced your programme and your studies tremendously. I very much respect your achievements. It was challenging being away from home, have husbands, children. You could not come to class, and most of you were worried about your family far from home. You are now prepared to contribute to address complex health problems. Those health problems become increasingly concerning. It is not only diseases we are talking about but also the context. The social, economic, political context which you need to take into account. You will return home or find some other place in the world where you can apply your knowledge and competencies. Because the world really needs you!”
Make the world a better place
Alhadi Khogali Elfaki Osman, a graduate from Sudan spoke on behalf of all graduating students:
“Resilience, passion, thriving, adaptation, warmth, community, and hard work are some of the words that I would use to describe this year at KIT. Online classes and not having the opportunity of coming to this very school building often and interacting with the class in person, was difficult, but these hurdles did not stop us from successfully finishing the master’s program and becoming public health professionals. This day marks the end of a year and the commencement of a new era. Today more than ever, we don’t carry just a degree, but a moral contract to making the world a better place. We now have an obligation to put the acquired knowledge and skills into action and provide better health to those who do not have it.”
Today more than ever, we don’t carry just a degree, but a moral contract to making the world a better place. We now have an obligation to put the acquired knowledge and skills into action and provide better health to those who do not have it.
Lindy van Vliet, head of the Health knowledge unit at KIT:”The world faces many shocks ranging from COVID-19, climate changes, continued conflicts intersecting with inequality and the lack of equal opportunities for all. We have to use these shocks to transform health systems and structurally change them for the better. We need capable people like you to make that change. Combining individual power with collective power: together we move from undergoing shocks to actively rocking the system. You have all the skills, the experience and the power within you to be a health leader! We look forward to keeping connected with all of you and working together to improve healthcare worldwide!”
KIT organises the Master’s in International Health (MIH) and Master’s in Public Health (MPH) in cooperation with the VU Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. Our graduates come from 27 different countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America. They came from different corners of the world, from Bangladesh to Zimbabwe, from Yemen to Canada. The majority of the students came from low-income countries and received a scholarship from Nuffic, Orange Knowledge Programme. Other students received scholarships and financial support from KIT Scholarship Fund, Joint Japan/Worldbank scholarship, employers and other funding organisations.
Recording of the graduation ceremony
Graduation Ceremony in Press
Oost-online: Studenten klaargestoomd in KIT om Gezondheidssystemen in eigen land te verbeteren
Please find a few photos of the graduation below. Photos by Susan Huider – KopiSusu Photography.