Thirty top students from a variety of disciplines at every university in the Netherlands have been selected for the Netherlands – Asia Honours Summer School 2012. This is the first group of students to attend two four-week summer school courses at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. This summer school was funded and organised by a unique public-private partnership between Dutch universities, companies and government ministries. The partners acknowledge China’s increasing importance and the urgency of acting together immediately to benefit from China’s growth.
The selection committee included Yvonne van Rooy (Utrecht University), Dirk Jan van den Berg (TU Delft), Alexander Rinnooy Kan (SER), Marjan Oudeman (AkzoNobel) and Wiebe Draijer (McKinsey).
A recent recommendation by the Advisory Council for Science and Technology Policy stated that Asia, and China in particular, is increasingly important to the Netherlands in a variety of areas. Universities and the business community in the Netherlands have joined together with the government in order to introduce the younger generation to the dynamics of Asia and the opportunities that the continent presents to the Netherlands. Yvonne van Rooy, President of the Executive Board of Utrecht University: “In a period defined by budget cuts, it is wonderful to see that all of the universities in the Netherlands, 16 major companies and four government ministries can work so well together to support this initiative.”
Meeting companies and entrepreneurs
The first group of students will attend two four-week courses at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The courses will vary from the introductory level course International Business to Chinese Culture and Society. The students will also visit Shanghai upon completion of the course, where they will meet Dutch companies and entrepreneurs located in China. In Shanghai they will stay at the campus of Tongji University. They will also attend two master classes prior to the summer school course. "The goal of the summer school is to interest talented Dutch students in Asia in order to learn more about the continent”, according to Wiebe Draijer of McKinsey.
The Netherlands – Asia Honours Summer School is not a holiday trip for the students: in addition to the summer school courses, they will also be given an assignment to formulate concrete recommendations as to how the partners can increase Dutch students’ exposure to China and how the Netherlands – Asia Honours Summer School can best contribute to that goal.
The Netherlands – Asia Honours Summer School will be organised for the first time this year, with 30 students going to China. The goal is to eventually have hundreds of students become acquainted with Asia each year. This concrete form of public-private partnership, in which the participating companies, universities and ministries all invest together, is unique in the Netherlands. The initiative is a co-production of Utrecht University, TU Delft and McKinsey&Company, in cooperation with programme partners such as the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, KLM, DSM, ING and Unilever. The full list of participating companies can be found on the website www.summerinasia.nl.