On Friday the 4th of September 2020 the graduation ceremony of KIT’s master’s students took place in the Maxima Hall, where 62 students from 29 countries received their master’s degree in Public or International Health.
After a very different year, the graduation ceremony was a very different occasion to normal. This time only students were sitting in the Maxima Hall at a safe distance from one another, and family and friends from all over the world watched via the live stream.
A different year
The world changed drastically this year and the daily life of our students with it. After lockdown due to Covid-19, students could no longer come to KIT for classes, or interact and exchange experiences with their fellow students and others. However, thanks to the power of modern technology, all of the course modules were changed to online courses and could be followed safely from home. With the support of education staff, the students adapted fantastically to the new forms of learning, but it was not easy. This makes their – already remarkable achievement – even more special this year.
Be the agents of change
Representatives from KIT, VU, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, alumni and graduates gave speeches both on stage and via video link.
Tijmen Roosenboom, Youth Ambassador from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stressed the importance of strong health systems and the role of education in reaching this, with a focus on mental health and youth.
Itopa Jimoh, a graduate from Nigeria said: “Studying at KIT gave us the best of both worlds: the best master’s degree in public health, and the best city to study in. We are grateful for keeping us safe and making us feel at home far from home, for friendships, networks, memories and inspirations. We gained so much valuable knowledge and skills. We have learned how to do public health problem analysis, draw objective trees, understand the determinants of health, allocate limited health resources for optimal impact. To my fellow graduates, congratulations on this well-deserved milestone. Though every beautiful story has an end, for us, this ending is just a new beginning. I know the challenges of health systems back home are daunting. We may not be able to change the whole world, but we can change the little corner where we are, and if we all do that as a team, in time we will make the world a healthier place than we met it. So be the light, be the salt, be the agent of change and above all, do not forget to pass the knowledge on.”
We may not be able to change the whole world, but we can change the little corner where we are, and if we all do that as a team, in time we will make the world a healthier place than we met it.
Lindy van Vliet, head of the KIT’s Knowledge Unit said: “I believe in the power within ourselves and thus in you. This crisis shows how interconnected we all are and that strong health systems are of utmost importance to all. This should translate into more collaboration and more solidarity. There are also positive consequences, our (virtual) interconnectedness and the urgency felt to really go for more systemic changes to address persisting inequalities in our health and socio-economic systems have increased. Where there is change, there is hope. You are part of the change, ready to make the difference. Ultimately you learned so much from each other, and a little bit from us. You have all the power within you to be a health leader! We look forward to staying connected with all of you and working together to improve health and well-being worldwide.“
KIT organises the Master’s in International Health (MIH) and Master’s in Public Health/International Course in Health Development (MPH/ICHD) in cooperation with the VU Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. Our graduates come from 29 different countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America. They came from different corners of the world, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, from Yemen to Colombia. 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, employers and other funding organisations.
Recording of the graduation ceremony
Graduation ceremony in press
Oost-Online: Gezondheidsprofessionals uit de hele wereld met diploma KIT terug naar huis
de Brug: Afstuderen bij KIT: Diploma Master of Public en international health voor 62 studenten uit 29 landen
Advalvas VU Vrije Universiteit: Toch nog een feestelijke afstudeerceremonie voor groep internationale studenten
Please find a few photos of the graduation below. Photos by Susan Huider – KopiSusu Photography.