Trip to Geneva

Great insights into many international organisations, but also sightseeing and lots of fun group activities: The trip to Geneva from February 10 to 13, 2016, was a great success!

Nearly 50 students went on the trip that was organized by a committee of students from our cohort. The programme started off with visits to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Further organizations included the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). On our final day, we attended much anticipated presentations at the International Labour Organization (ILO) and at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Next to our appointments with the organizations, we also had time for some sightseeing. Thursday afternoon included a visit to the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) which operates the biggest machine in the world, the impressive Large Hadron Collider. Afterwards, there was time for a short tour through the old town, followed by a delicious fondue by the lakeside.

We’d like to thank the organizing committee for putting together this great trip: Marta Arbinolo, Laura Bosch, Gayathri Iyer, Puck Jeekel, Naomi Leweck, Lea Löbel, Anh Tran – thank you! A big thank you also to the organizations that welcomed us and gave us great insights into their work. Finally, thank you to the staff at UNU who provided contacts and helped with the organization of the event.

Photo: On the terrace of the WTO (Timmy Clay)

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Cycling Trip to Hoge Kempen National Park

In order to take advantage of the last dry days of November, the Demos Board organized a cycling trip for the cohort on November 24, 2015. The destination of choice was the Hoge Kempen National Park.

The Hoge Kempen National Park lies just across the border, in Belgium, between Genk and the Meuse River Valley. Within half an hour of cycling from the UNU building, we reached the park renowned for its beautiful landscape. After a tour through the park we took a well deserved break at a local restaurant before heading back home. Experiencing the nature at the park was definitely a nice break from studying!

Picture: Fanny Trang

International Student Dinner

The International Student Dinners have, from the beginning of the programme, been a favourite amongst cohorts. These events are an opportunity to break bread with your peers and at the same time introduce them to your own culture. You wouldn’t believe how much of a talking point some local cuisines can be! The first international student dinner of the academic year took place on November 13.

The diversity within the cohort (MPPers come from 40 different countries!) was reflected by the wide range of meals that were on offer: They included Quiche, Greek Salad, Chicken Tikka Massala, Indian Rice Pudding, Tiramisu and many others!

The night finished off with a spontaneous sing and music session, leading us to the discovery of some amazing talents in our own cohort!

Photo: Timmy Clay

Sustainable Development Goals Brainstorming Event

We took the release 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda as an opportunity to exchange ideas on future goals for development work. The event gave us a sense of the diversity of opinions from people from around the world, which are shaped by different experiences.

During the event we focused on the goals of Quality Education, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Peace Justice and Strong Institutions and Climate Change.

This was an event well needed to reflect on global issues of today, and it gave fresh motivation for diving back into the programme the following Monday. We expect many more events like this that push us to formulate strong, defensible responses to the today’s most pressing policy issues.


Photo: Timmy Clay

Master’s Open Day

On October 10, 2015, prospective MPP students came to Maastricht for the Master’s Open Day. Next to presentations by Lutz Krebs, Education Director of our programme, the Demos Board had the opportunity to share important insights on student life in Maastricht and in the MPP.

Some of the things that were discussed at the event: the diverse composition of the cohort, who come from various countries and have background in a wide range of disciplines; secondly, the quality of the tutors, who are not only competent teachers of the course content but also researchers on fascinating topics; finally, the learning environment – the MPP being a relatively new programme, the room for flexibility is huge, and the course is constantly adapting to the needs of the students. The event was also a great opportunity to showcase our new home, the UNU-MERIT building.

The Master’s Open Day was a great event, where current and prospective MPP students exchanged ideas and information. It was great to see potential future MPPers keen on taking over!

Photo: Sueli Kyomi Brodin

MPP Pub Quiz

A Pub Quiz with a twist! We decided to take a break from our classes with testing our worldly knowledge. A questionable idea – but well enjoyed by all. The quiz featured questions ranging from history and politics to world culture and other trivia – and there even was a public economics round. All teams finished within a few points from each other – showing we’re either all geniuses or all… well something else.  The teams were randomly assigned to make for interesting group dynamics – we love that!

Many thanks to Ma Van Sloun for providing us with an amazing venue!

Photo: Timmy Clay

Tour of the Caves under St. Pietersberg Hill

Taking the opportunity to get to know Maastricht is always a priority for such a diverse and international cohort as ours. The Demos Board therefore decided to organize a trip to the Sint Pietersberg in the outskirts of the town and to visit the caves underneath the hill on October 3, 2015.

The caves under St Pietersberg Hill span an impressive 200 Kilometres. In the subterranean caves, there’s still evidence of limestone mining and the tools used by those who were working there. The tour guide had a variety of fascinating anecdotes to tell: Stories of farmers hiding deep in the caves from approaching armies with their livestock, of fossils of prehistoric creatures and the murals depicting their discovery.

This was a real adventure and definitely a unique experience – we won’t forget it!

Photo: Fanny Trang