Opening Academic Year 2023 - 2024
"We shape the leaders of the future. Leaders who focus on broad societal prosperity for businesses, people, and the planet. Those who are pioneers in the transition. This is how we maintain our position as a leading university."
Rector Prof. Dr. Koen Becking of Nyenrode Business University made it clear during the opening of the academic year that the present world demands 'new leadership,' and Nyenrode aims to be at the forefront.
"These times call for strong, responsible leaders. Those who are not only interested in business but also in people and the Earth we live on," said Becking, who mentioned three concrete focal points.
"We transform students into responsible leaders through our education. We conduct academically impactful research. We aim to educate leaders who make a societal impact, innovate, and pioneer. Those who prioritize 'people' and 'planet' alongside 'profit.' Because there is no success on a failing planet. We lead by example by becoming a B Corp."
Nyenrode joins the global movement that uses 'Business as a force for good.'
Leading companies participating in B Corp include Patagonia, Tony Chocolonely, Unilever, Nespresso, and recently, Albert Heijn.
Koen Becking also outlined a clear profile of the leader of the future.
"A responsible leader transforms not only themselves and the organization they work for but also society. This requires courage, perseverance, and vision. Nobody benefits from lofty research that sits in a drawer. In a world filled with opinions where facts are increasingly devalued, it is important to conduct thorough research that is societally relevant."
Especially in the current turbulent times, according to Professor Becking, it is important for the 'leaders of the future' to contribute to a new world.
"Many people rightly worry about the direction we are heading in. But I believe we are at a crossroads. What we do matters and will contribute to the shaping of a new world. 'We believe in the power of business to connect profit with purpose.' And these two don't really have to clash."
The co-lecture during the opening of the Academic Year was given by Professor Annemieke Roobeek, Professor of Strategy and Transformation Management. She advocated for the alignment of democracy and leadership with ideals and vision. Dissatisfaction should be addressed through 'new leadership,' where those ideals and vision should take center stage.
"There is an urgency for ambitious new leadership rooted in the democratic values of collaboration for the common good. Democratizing is an action word.
It is about elevating democracy to a higher level and securing the democratic freedom of citizens now and in the future."
The final speaker at the opening of the Academic Year was political reporter Leonard Ornstein, who is working on a doctoral research on the ideology of Pim Fortuyn. According to Ornstein, Fortuyn had a finely tuned antenna for what was happening in society. "The societal context today seems very similar to the time when Pim Fortuyn wrote his books," said Leonard Ornstein.
Prof. Dr. Bo van der Rhee concluded the opening of the academic year with a presentation and the launch of the Nyenrode Research Fund. This is an ambitious project because Nyenrode believes in business as a 'force for good,' recognizing that the activities of every company impact people, the environment, and society.
To achieve this, Nyenrode is committed to research that contributes to the sustainability of businesses, the development of a sustainable economy, and the knowledge that empowers leaders to guide their organizations toward a sustainable future. For the research program, Nyenrode collaborates with both its own scholars and young PhD candidates —promising, emerging researchers who can take their first steps in their scientific careers at Nyenrode.
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