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The Power of Dialogue

30 April 2024
On Saturday, 13 April 2024, around 60 alumni of Political Science and Public Administration came together to discuss 'Democratic and governance issues in times of polarisation'. It was an informative afternoon full of presentations and discussions, where they had the opportunity to catch up with former classmates and fellow professionals.

Photos: Daniëlle Roeleveld / Drawings: Danibal

Gregor Halff, dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, and Leonie Heres, director of the Public Administration programme, opened the meeting with a warm welcome and immediately set the tone with the latest information about the current study programme. 

Faiza Oulahsen, alumna of the Political Science program and Head of Climate and Energy at Greenpeace Netherlands, delivered an impressive keynote on the question: What does the right to protest really mean on a personal level? Covering topics such as open spaces and intimidation, she urged the audience: 'Go outside and protest, it is our duty'. 

Democracy and Polarisation 

Next, it was time for the panel discussion, moderated by Gregor Halff and Benjamin Leidorf-Tidå. The speakers discussed various propositions, actively involving the audience. 

Samuel Ornstein, a junior lecturer of Political Science, raised the issue of tolerating violence during protests. Leonie Heres took the stage again and addressed activist civil servants and the relationship between policy and bureaucracy. Finally, assistant professor Sinan Çankaya centered the themes of polarity and democracy. 

The audience was very engaged, and many were eager to continue the conversation even as the panel discussion was nearing the end.  

Striving for a Better World 

To conclude the meeting, cartoonist Danibal brought the discussions to life with a series of illustrations. Outside the theater room, there were tables with snacks and beverages for the reception. People of all ages gathered to chat, share experiences, and swap ideas.

VU Amsterdam regularly organises alumni events for various studies and faculties. Stay informed through our alumni newsletter or our LinkedIn page VU Amsterdam Alumni.



See the photos and drawings of the event

Photo album