Value in Diversity
Opening Academic Year 2018-2019

Opening Academic Year 2018-2019

The official Opening of the Academic Year 2018-2019 on 3 September marked the start of Erasmus University's 105th anniversary celebrations. The university is celebrating this anniversary together with the city of Rotterdam and its residents on the theme of ‘Science Meets City’. The location chosen for the Opening - the Laurenskerk Church in Rotterdam city centre - was a special one for this very reason.

Festive start of 2018

View the photos of the Opening of the Academic Year 2018-2019.

Kristel Baele bij Opening Academisch Jaar 2018

Strategy 2024

Kristel Baele, President of the Executive Board, presented the framework for Erasmus University’s new strategy during the Opening in a talk entitled "Imagining tomorrow's university - Strategy 2024". This framework comprises 7 priorities and a new mission: creating positive societal impact. ‘Our mission will serve as our compass: it will focus our attention, inspire us in our daily activities and provide direction when we are faced with strategic choices.’ 

Among other things, these 7 priorities concern future-oriented education, interdisciplinary approach, sustainability and investing in talent.

During the next few months, students, staff and stakeholders will be giving substance to the framework. The new strategy for the coming five years will be presented during the Opening of the 2019 Academic Year.


In his speech 'Mirroring the diversity of Rotterdam', Rector Magnificus Rutger Engels emphasised the impact that our university could have - and already does have - on Rotterdam. He wants the student population to be a more accurate representation of the people of Rotterdam.

The theme of this year’s Opening of the Academic Year was ‘Value in diversity’. Guest speaker Natalia Goncharova (ABN Amro, Women in Financial Services) gave a speech entitled 'Complementarity is the power of diversity' and said: "Diversity and talent create power and profit.” She commented on the best possible balance between male and female values and needs, as well as how to achieve this balance:

This year's Student in the Spotlight was Kenyan ISS student Levis Maina Nderitu. He was given the opportunity to tell everyone present about his Sullivan Reed Society, which provides support to the LGBT+ community in respect of businesses, particularly in Kenya. And finally, the academic awards were presented during the Opening of the Academic Year as well.

Interested in one of the speeches? Download the text below.

Student hosts

Student hosts

Students Sonia Shvets and Themis Rallis were the hosts of the Opening Academic Year on Monday 3 September. The two students were selected from the nearly thirty students who had registered.