On Thursday, 1 October, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) held a special certificate ceremony to honour this year’s UvA scholarship recipients. The ceremony took place in the Maagdenhuis and was officially opened with a speech by the UvA’s Rector Magnificus Dymph van den Boom.
As in 2014, the ceremony was an occasion to honour recipients of the Amsterdam Merit Scholarship and Amsterdam Excellence Scholarship. This year the ceremony also welcomed students who received the Amsterdam Science Talent Scholarship, Holland Scholarship and Orange Tulip Scholarship. Approximately 100 students attended the ceremony, representing nearly 50 nationalities.
Prof. van den Boom congratulated the scholarship recipients and welcomed them to the UvA and to Amsterdam, ‘a city with a proud tradition of openness, tolerance and an international outlook’. She highlighted several historical examples of individuals who came to Amsterdam for its liberalism. Van den Boom also noted the inextricable link between the city and the UvA, which ‘has a long tradition of open-mindedness and engagement with social issues’. Concluding her speech, Van den Boom emphasised the important role that students play in shaping the future of the University and society, and their role as ‘ambassadors’ for the University.
Patrick Decowski, professor of Experimental Astroparticle Physics, then offered the students some advice. In his speech, Decowski encouraged the students to be curious, inquisitive and grateful, and to realise their integral role in making the University better. He also invited the students to make the most of being in a foreign country and to value that learning experience. His final piece of advice – to get a bike – elicited much laughter from the students.
Following Decowki’s speech, Naida Hadziomerovic, a Research Master’s student in Public International Law and recipient of the Amsterdam Merit Scholarship, shaped her address around the theme of gratitude. Hadziomerovic shared moments from her past, her childhood in a turbulent Bosnia Herzegovina and the transition of moving to the Netherlands, that have shaped her and taught her gratitude. Hadziomerovic concluded her speech by encouraging her fellow scholarship recipients to ‘take the opportunity with both hands and make the most of it’.
The speeches were followed by the handover of the certificates, which were presented to the students in groups. The ceremony concluded with a festive drinks reception.
Each year, the University of Amsterdam awards scholarships to outstanding students in various disciplines. The scholarships offered at the UvA are the Amsterdam Excellence Scholarship, Amsterdam Merit Scholarship, Amsterdam Science Talent Scholarship, Holland Scholarship and Orange Tulip Scholarship.