Opening of the Academic Year

Wageningen UR annually celebrates the Opening of the Academic Year in style. At this public event, in the first week of September, renowned speakers address current issues concerning food, health and the environment.

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Opening Academic Year 2014/2015

On Monday 1 September 2014 Wageningen UR will celebrate the Opening of its Academic Year 2014/2015. This year, the programme will include an address by Professor Louise Fresco, the new Chair of the Executive Board, as well as contributions by students and researchers. 

"Dutch food production methods are in the international spotlight. Thanks to firm scientific and technical foundations, progress in food production has been made almost everywhere in the world. But the strategy has not always been devoid of criticism. Society is making demands in the areas of animal welfare, health, taste and sustainability. New knowledge and expertise are needed to deal with these issues. We need new strategies that will evoke social and political support. There is a growing tendency to see scientific research as ‘just another opinion’, despite science being an essential step along the path towards sustainable production systems.

In my first formal appearance as President of Wageningen UR, at the opening of the Academic Year I will give my views on these challenges. As I stated at the 200th anniversary celebration of the Swedish Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences: ‘It is now our task to respond. To new generations, new challenges and new expectations; to promote an understanding of what options exist for the future of our food production’."

Prof. dr. ir. Louise O. Fresco

The Opening of the Academic Year will take place in the Orion building in the afternoon, starting at 3.30 pm.

Programme
14:30 Welcoming reception and registration
15:30 Welcome Prof. dr. ir. Louise O. Fresco
Musical interlude by The Sound of Science
Reactions from representatives of Wageningen University, students, DLO
Prof. dr. Martin J. Kropff: Official opening of the Academic Year 2014-2015

Please feel free to browse through our archive for an overview of previous editions of the Opening Celebrations.

More about the speakers

Louise O. Fresco

Louise O. Fresco is chair of the Executive Board of Wageningen University and Research centre. Her exciting career has involved decades of fieldwork in tropical countries, travels to over 80 countries, a PhD cum laude in tropical agronomy (Wageningen), chairs and lectureships at prestigious universities such as Wageningen, Uppsala, Louvain and Stanford and the membership of four scientific academies. She held several leading positions within the FAO of the UN. The permanent theme of her life is a strong commitment to international development, agriculture and food.

She also published eight books (of which three acclaimed novels) and over one hundred scientific articles. Science Magazine recently published her editorial The GMO Stalemate in Europe. She writes a syndicated newspaper column, is an advisor to the Dutch government on socio-economic policy, science and sustainability, including sea level rise. She serves as a non-executive director of Unilever and is a member of the Trilateral Commission. In October 2012 she published her book Hamburgers in Paradise, food in times of scarcity and abundance. She is involved in a large number of cultural and social activities. She appears regularly in the media and talked at TED 2009. In 1993 she was co-founder of the C.T. de Wit graduate school.

Martin Kropff

Martin Kropff is Rector Magnificus of Wageningen University and Vice-president of Wageningen University and Research Centre.

He completed his Master’s in biology at Utrecht University and his PhD at Wageningen University, both cum laude.

After his PhD, he went to the Philippines to lead the international programme on systems analysis and simulation of the International Rice Research Institute for a period of four years.

He returned to Wageningen University to become professor in, what is now called, the chair group of Crop and Weed Ecology.

From 1998 to 2002 he was scientific director of the C.T. de Wit graduate school.


Previous renowned speakers and special guests

Speakers at the Academic Year Openings of Wageningen UR include former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, President of the French research institute INRA Marion Guillou, Chairman of the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW) Bernard Wientjes, World Wildlife Fund’s Senior Vice-President Jason Clay and various Dutch Ministers of Agriculture and Economic Affairs. Special guests of the Opening of the Academic Year include Queen Máxima, who at the 2013/2014 ceremony officially opened the Orion education building on Wageningen Campus.