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Opening of the Academic Year

This year's theme was 'Art and science of leadership'.

Economist and psychoanalyst Manfred Kets de Vries knows better than anyone how leaders and teams, with their different backgrounds and qualities, can achieve excellent performance together. He has coached countless leaders over the past 40 years and inspired many with his teaching from renowned business schools. He is also internationally renowned for his research into leadership styles.  

During this Opening Academic Year, we joined him in looking at inspiring leadership and team performance within our academic community and beyond. 

Opening Academic Year is made possible by VUvereniging

Livestream OAY 2022

Livestream OAY 2022

Missed the Opening of the Academic Year? Or would you like to watch it again? You can! Watch the livestream.


  • 5 September 2022, Aula, VU Main building

    15.00 Welcome

    15.10 Cortège walks around the campus

    15.30 Opening and speech by Mirjam van Praag

    15.45 Interview with Manfred Kets de Vries by Andrew Makkinga

    16.05 Musical intermezzo by an ensemble of the VU Orchestra

    16.10 Talkshow led by Andrew Makkinga on examples from the VU community of the Art and Science of leadership. Guests: Manfred Kets de Vries, Kilian Wawoe, Mark van Vugt, Michel Scholte, Noor Fons, Svetlana Khapova

    16.40 Honorary Doctorate Ceremony Manfred Kets de Vries. Svetlana Khapova, Mark van Vugt and Sierk Ybema will perform as honorary supervisors.

    17.05 Column by Vrije Schrijver Gustaaf Peek

    17.10 Closure by Mirjam van Praag

    17.15 Toast to the new academic year


  • Noor Fons

    Noor Fons is VU-alumna (MSc Business Administration: Leaderschip and change management) and works as a Management Trainee (Randstad Groep Nederland). She finds the most pleasure in working team based. Combining various talents leads to the optimal result. This is what she believes in.

  • Manfred Kets de Vries

    Manfred Kets de Vries is a management scholar and psychoanalyst, consultant, and professor of leadership development and organizational change at INSEAD. His research focuses on leadership and the dynamics of individual and organizational change, exploring the interface between management theory, psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, evolutionary psychology, and executive coaching. He created a group coaching intervention method which is used in business schools and consulting firms. He has written more than 50 books, 400 articles and book chapters on leadership, and organizational and personal change.

    Kets de Vries has also won awards for his work in the leadership field, including the Harry and Miriam Levinson Award from the American Psychological Association in 2001. In 2010, he was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Management.

  • Svetlana Khapova

    Svetlana Khapova is a full-professor of Organisational Behaviour (specialisation Careers and Organisation Studies). Her research focuses on the link between careers and institutions. She studies individual careers as a resource upon which both individuals and organizations draw to innovate. For example, her studies concern employees, who take initiative to make change in their work environment; nascent entrepreneurs, who draw on their past career experiences, to make their ventures successful; board members, who guided by their career aspirations, define future of their firms; and knowledge workers, who through enacting their careers, develop regional economies. 

  • Mirjam van Praag

    Mirjam van Praag is chair of the VU Amsterdam Executive Board and professor of entrepreneurship. One of her achievements is the foundation of the Amsterdam Centre for Entrepreneurship, which offers support to start-ups and scale-ups. 

  • Michel Scholte

    Michel Scholte is an expert in the field of leadership, entrepreneurship, sustainability and climate. He has been director and co-founder of True Price since 2012. He inspires with his vision on impact measurement and impact valuation. In January 2021, Michel was elected 'Minister of the New Economy'. 

  • Mark van Vugt

    Mark van Vugt is Professor in Evolutionary Psychology, Work and Organizational Psychology. He is director of the Amsterdam Leadership Lab.

    His particular expertise lies in the field of evolutionary and biological approaches to social and organizational behavior. He is interested in how evolutionary theory can be applied to understand group dynamics, organziational behavior, leadership, status, power, conflict and cooperation, and intergroup relations.

  • Kilian Wawoe

    Kilian Wawoe is an organisational psychologist. He teaches Human Resources Management and advises companies on HR in general, and assessment and remuneration in particular.

  • Sierk Ybema

    Sierk Ybema is Associate Professor in the department of Organization Sciences at VU Amsterdam and Professor in Organization Studies at Anglia Ruskin University. His research interests are in culture, identity, power and the politics of sensemaking in (inter)organizational settings. For the last couple of years he has focused on analysis of culture, power and identity in multinational companies, the Amsterdam municipality, the National Police, and health care organizations, public organizations and industry partners. 

  • Moderator Andrew Makkinga

    Andrew Makkinga was only 17 when he started to stand out in Het (jongeren) Lagerhuis (VARA) as a smiling, eloquent boy who was able to convey his perspectives in a nuanced way.

    Since then, he has developed into a versatile presenter and interviewer, working for (public) radio and television. Behind the scenes, Andrew is active as a member of the Supervisory Board of the Fonds Podiumkunsten, alongside other board positions that he holds, particularly in the cultural sector.

    Music plays a leading role in his work (with two programmes on NPO Radio Soul & Jazz and as the regular host of the North Sea Jazz Festival) but those who think that's all there is to it are mistaken. Andrew is at least as well informed about numerous political and social issues and is regularly asked by the various talk shows to talk about them. As a former participant in Het Lagerhuis, host of youth debate programme DeBattle and radio programme De Bus, he is a strong debater.

Writer in Residence

  • Gustaaf Peek

    Gustaaf Peek made his debut as a poet after studying English language and literature at the University of Leiden. In 2006 his debut novel Armin was published, about a young SS man who works as a midwife. His third novel Ik was Amerika (I was America) was awarded the BNG New Literature Prize and the F. Bordewijk Prize.

    In 2017, Peck's pamphlet Verzet. Pleidooi voor communisme (Resistance. A Plea for Communism) appeared in 2017. Drawing on the intellectual and historical legacy of Karl Marx and Rosa Luxemburg, Peek examines what he sees as the inevitable failure of capitalism and argues for a just redistribution of knowledge, power and income.

    His novel A.D. appeared in 2021. This historical novel is set in 1597 and deals with one of the first ships of the Republic of the Netherlands which sails to the East in search of spices and other loot.