MPP Closing Ceremony 2024: Celebrating the end of an academic journey

Students from our current MPP cohort and a number of our teaching staff (front row) at the MPP Closing Ceremony 2024.

On Tuesday 25 June, we held our annual MPP Closing Ceremony event, celebrating the achievements of our 2023-24 Master’s in Public Policy and Human Development (MPP) cohort.

UNU-MERIT’s Interim Director Clemens Kool addressing the audience. Left: Cleo Heyen

Following a brief introduction from our MPP programme’s Education Coordinator Cleo Heyen, UNU-MERIT Interim Director Clemens Kool welcomed our students and their visiting family and friends, stating ”We are proud of our students; we are proud of our programme. We know that you come from all over the world, and then of course you travel out again across all corners of the earth to develop your career. … I wish you a great day, but also a very great future.”

Next, we heard from our MPP Acting Academic Programme Director Julieta Marotta, who praised this year’s cohort, citing two presentations that students voluntarily prepared and delivered to inform their peers and UNU-MERIT staff about the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza: “You give us hope that it is possible to dream of a better world, ruled by open, peaceful, constructive and inclusive conversations. Know that you have made us feel very proud this year: you showed us that you have the human skills needed to be the drivers of positive change. Continue to build the best version of yourselves, to serve the community that you will be part of.”

MPP alumna Alissar Al-Hassan, Social Security Policy Officer at the municipality of Maastricht, delivered a short speech about how the MPP has prepared her for the line of work she is in, explaining that despite her role’s seemingly local focus, the international insights from the MPP have been incredibly useful, since her work involves creating policies and projects with funding from the EU. “I hope my position shows you that wherever you end up, you will be able to apply the knowledge and the skills that the MPP has taught you.”

MPP alumna Alissar Al-Hassan

UNU-MERIT Assistant Professor Fabiana Visentin echoed Steve Jobs’ famous words: “Stay hungry, stay foolish”













The keynote speaker of this year’s ceremony was Fabiana Visentin, UNU-MERIT Assistant Professor and coordinator of the Governance of Innovation MPP specialisation, who encouraged students to dare to make unconventional decisions that are right for them: “Each of us is different; don’t live the dreams of others and don’t constrain your choices to the expectations of others. I invite you to pick the road that fits best with your interests and your dreams, because this road will make all the difference.”

The seven board members of the MPP student association Demos. Front: Shuddha Das; L-R: Lorenz Bokari, Louis Géneau de Lamarlière, Noor Heijmans, Julia Stoop, Paul Mulready and Natalia Olguin Montemayor.

Shuddha Das, president of the MPP student association Demos, spoke on behalf of the Demos board: “Today marks the end of a year full of hard work, a year filled with outstanding highs … Here we are now, a group of individuals who have grown and supported each other continuously, striving in collective determination, a fine example of what unity can achieve. In our time together, we’ve pulled off conferences in Budapest, seminars in Geneva, workshops in Brussels and of course presentations in Maastricht. This year really is one that we will carry for the rest of our lives.”

The ceremony closed with cheers, photos and an afternoon of celebration for this cohort’s success!

Students of the Global Governance for Development specialisation, one of the MPP’s five tracks in the spring semester.






Students who chose a selection of courses from various specialisations (free electives).


Missed out on the MPP Closing Ceremony?

Watch the recording of the event below!



    Please share your thoughts on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & LinkedIn accounts.


    Photos: H. Pijpers / UNU-MERIT | Maastricht University