We held the closing ceremony for our Master’s in Public Policy and Human Development (MPP) on 10 June 2021 to commemorate the past academic year and to celebrate the success of the cohort. After a year of COVID-19, this event brought many students and faculty together for the first time, and was a memorable event on many fronts.
The event was moderated by Academic Programme Director Julieta Marotta and Professor Franziska Gassmann, and included talks from the MPP student ambassador, student government members, teaching staff, study advisor, and an alumna. The ceremony started with a word of welcome by our Director Bartel Van de Walle, who then handed over to our Academic Programme Director. She in turn highlighted our motto for this past academic year: “In distance or in person, education unites us”.
Student representative Lisa Farber and Demos President Ashleigh Bicker Caarten reflected on the experience of completing the MPP during a unique year and 2012 alumna Maite Smet discussed the importance of finding a job that aligns with your values. The audience heard from two exceptional keynote speakers – study advisor Bo Nuis and Professor Shyama Ramani – who discussed how COVID touched us all in the education sector in different ways and how to make the best of unexpected situations. Each specialisation coordinator addressed their students and wished them well as they move into the last months of their degree.
The ceremony was a testimony to the success of both dedicated faculty and resilient students. This year saw faculty and students working and studying from home, and the ceremony offered a rare moment for both parties to meet each other in person. We are proud of the excellent degree in Public Policy and Human Development, and applaud the diligence and hard work of our 2020-2021 cohort and staff. What this year showed was how versatile education can be and that furthering one’s education is possible even in a pandemic. We are excited for our graduating life-long learners and wish them well as they enter the field as policymakers of cooperation, good governance, and valuing diversity – the three values of the MPP.
The opinions expressed here are the authors’ own; they do not necessarily reflect the views of UNU.