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Festive Graduation Ceremony at the Institute of Public Administration in The Hague

On Thursday 31 October 2019 several graduation ceremonies for study programmes of the Institute of Public Administration were held. It was the first time these festivities took place at Campus The Hague.

No less than three graduation ceremonies were held in the Auditorium at Wijnhaven: the Bachelor Public Administration, the Master Public Administration, and the Master Management van de Publieke Sector.

Bachelor Public Administration

Brexit

Professor Steunenberg and Alumna Marlou Grobben opened the graduation ceremony with a few positive and inspiring words of welcome. Professor Steunenberg, for instance, said: 'You've worked hard for this, it's only right that we're here today to celebrate'. Steunenberg also made the connection between Brexit and Public Administration by saying:  ‘Brexit isn't just an exiting topic to discuss over coffee but also of interest for the Public Administration study programme'.

Idealists

Alumna Marlou Grobben started by asking the graduants how long it had taken them to finish their studies. Although the responses differed, the common denominator was that everybody deserved it and everybody has shown that they 'had been committed to finishing their studies, well done!'. She also told the granduants: 'you’re all idealists' and finished by saying: 'you're all about to start to contribute to making the world a more beautiful place, because that's part of who you are.'

The ceremony was brought to an end by Professor Steunenberg and a video message in which Rector Magnificus Carel Stolker and Beadle Erick van Zuijlen addressed the graduants. After the ceremony, there was plenty of opportunity to congratulate the granduants during the borrel.

Master Management van de Publieke Sector

Frits van der Meer opened the ceremony by emphasising the connection between this master and public administration. He was followed by keynote speaker Roel Bekker. Who, after briefly discussing his own work, continued with a behind-the-scenes story of modern day public administrators.

The '80s
During the '80s the concept of management grew, priorities had to be made in order to cut costs. Bekker discussed how the concept of the core task of the government also came into being, something that had not existed previously. Questions were asked such as 'should the government deal with each societal problem on its own, or is it possible to privatise part of the process?', This was when public administrators emerged who also started working for the central government.

Bekker mentioned that the '80s were followed by more deregulation and more ideas about the free market. From 2000 and onwards new developments in insurance systems and health care started to emerge. Bekker also mentioned that the increased role of the media and the European Union gave room to the idea that perception has become important.

Public Administrators
Bekker discussed how the government's main problem seems to be the fact that it can't seem to get a handle on problems. In order to cooperate other skills are needed, skills that can be provided by public administrators. He said that many of these master students will end up working for the government, where they will encounter problems which require 1) expertise and practical know-how, 2) commitment and 3) enthusiasm. Bekker concluded his lecture by saying that it was time for society to start reaping the benefits of the knowledge these graduants have accumulated.

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