Mid-September, the German Universität Duisburg-Essen (UDE) invited the Dutch Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VUA) giving an opportunity for staff members from both universities to meet their counterparts and to discuss current challenges for universities and internationalization in an informal and relaxed setting. All staff members had in common: a shared mission of matching academic excellence with societal relevance, and are part of the AURORA network which aims to support its members in precisely the mission described above.
The International Office of UDE organized a two-day-program (13.09/14.09.) at the campus in Duisburg which included a series of presentations by different UDE staff members who work in management and administration. More specifically, those presentations addressed management information, valorization, operational management, diversity and community service – topics which the Dutch staff members had expressed particular interest in. The presentations led to intense and vivid discussions and gave an impression of how things work at UDE. The staff from the VUA could relate this to their work in the Netherlands and discussed similarities and differences.
Furthermore, the two-day-program included a campus tour which gave an impression of the architectural beauty at the Duisburg campus. There, a brick tower caught their attention – and in hindsight (and after some research, admittedly) turned out to be a former chimney of the municipal utility services. This was a moment where they all learned something new about the German university– thanks to the interest of their Dutch colleagues.
On Friday morning, after three exciting presentations, it was sadly time for the Dutch colleagues to return to Amsterdam. All staff members bade each other farewell with the sense that fostering a mutual understanding on a professional – as well as personal – level had been a success!
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam thanks the University of Duisberg-Essen
The Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in return appreciated visiting the University of Duisberg-Essen. They really enjoyed exchanging knowledge and experience on management information, valorization, operational management, diversity, and community service. In their words: “Our universities have a quite similar focus on diversity, community services, and social impact. The exchange with our UDE colleagues confirmed that we need to persevere, but also to be patient. Often changes are made over a longer period of time. We thank the UDE staff for an inspiring visit. We returned to Amsterdam with positive energy. The University of Duisburg-Essen is very welcome to visit the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.”