Hitchhicking Competition to Paris
It all started, little before six o clock on a Thursday morning, at the Grote Markt in Groningen were our 18 members showed up to start the day early. A striking contrast appeared between the students that were almost at the end of their night out and our members that had just stepped out of bed.
The city of love, Paris, was the destination of this adventure. Some say, hitchhiking from highway gas station to highway gas station and staying on your route is the best way of getting there and getting there quickly. Though not all members held on to this saying, everybody arrived safe and well at the Woodstock Hostel before one o clock at night. While Stefan, once called “Hitchhiking Legend”, arrived first with his team, others were still stuck near a cemetery near Rotterdam. More than 12.500 kilometres were hitchhiked by SIB-Groningen that beautiful sunny day in March.
After we had spent the Thursday travelling and relaxing afterwards, the big day had come. Scheduled were an exclusive tour in the French parliament, the Assemblée Nationale, and several lectures at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Using the most important way of transport in Paris again, we then headed for the Palais Bourbon, where the National Assembly is seated. This prestigious building on the left bank of the Seine, across from the Place de la Concorde, was shown to us by a courteous, friendly guide in fluent English. So modest, he even kept apologising for the level of his English. The visit we payed to the French parliament was sublime.
We devoured our dinner at a restaurant near the hostel and enjoyed ourselves in the nightlife areas of Paris. The Saturday was completely free for our members, as they themselves know best what they would prefer to visit or to do in la Villes des Lumière.
The Hitchhiking Contest Committee of this year are thankful towards the people that joined us on this adventure and proud of this trip to the city of love and light. We hope you are as inspired as we are and will continue to live your lives guided by the memories we have created together. Remember and cherish this experience, guard and nurture it as you would your precious first born child. We know that you certainly will.
The 67th Dies Natalis of SIB-Groningen took place on the 24th of November 2014. More than a hundred people showed up for the conference, with the theme ‘The different dimensions of Modern Warfare’. The day was opened by the chair of the organizing committee, Ms. Wildschut, and our chair of the day, Katinka Baehr. After that, the former Dutch minister of Defence, Hans Hillen, gave a very interesting speech. When he was done, the participants had the chance to go to a first round of masterclasses. The second plenary lecture was given by the Dutch major-general Dennis Luyt, who talked about the changing security landscape for the army. The day was finalized by a second round of masterclasses and a final debate.
Conference ‘After Immense Disaster’
For over a year the AID-Projectgroup worked towards this one date: the 28th of November 2011. Taking in account all the work and effort put in the conference, it was no surprise that it turned out to be a great succes. Entitled ‘After Immense Disaster’ the conference took place in Het Kasteel, a location for conference which is becoming more familiar by the year. With lecturers as Cees Breederveld, CEO of the Dutch Red Cross, Leonie Barnes, Linda Polman, Thea Hilhorst, Oxfam Novib, the ministries of Defence and Foreign Affairs, Doctors Without Borders and Cordaid the arena was literally filled with experts on every aspect of emergency aid. The role of Honorary Chairman assigned to Frénk van der Linden, a journalist working for the NRC-Handelsbald and well-known for his Tv-appearances.
The day started with two general lectures by Cees Breederveld and Leonie Barnes, who laid down a very firm foundation for the rest of the day. After the lunch the day continued with several master classes in several shifts. You could for example think about what path to follow during emergency-aid during the master-class of the Red Cross, or think about the question marks that Linda Polman posed at the expense of the present-day form of this emergency-aid. Eventually the day ended with a concluding lecture of Joost Herman, head of the well-known NOHA master of the University of Groningen, followed by the opportunity to speak to the lecturers in person during a drink.
From the 7th to the 12th of November, the SIB has visited Vienna with a group of 16 people, for a week full of visits and activities. After traveling for 12 hours with train, another train, another train, a really short flight and yet another train, we arrived in Vienna at Monday evening really tired, but not too tired to have diner and our first Austrian beer – which didn’t taste as good as we’d hoped.
After that, there followed three days with lectures at 9 o’clock each morning – tough, but definitely interesting. We have visited the United Nations Headquarters, where we got lectures from among others the International Atom Energy Agency, the Office for Drugs and Crime, and the Organisation for Industrial Development. We also got to enjoy a taxfree lunch in between all the diplomats from all around the world, which was a small highlight of the week.
We have also visited the Dutch Embassy, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe where we could enjoy a bit of the plenary meeting, and the OPEC headquarters, where we ended up in a heated discussion about Sustainable Development and the future of oil.
Two evenings we spend with AFA Wien, the SIB in Austria. These evenings were filled with talks and drinks and learning about and from each other. One evening we entered into a debate with them, in which Wessel and Eva managed to keep safe the Dutch honor.
In the limited free time we enjoyed in between all this, we set out to discover Vienna. From Schloss Schönbrunn to the Stefansdom, everything was discovered and photographed, as is expected from good tourists. Everything considered it was an amazing week, with lots of new impressions and good stories to take home!
Millennium Development Goals
On the 17th of February 2011 the SIB organized a large conference on the Millennium Development Goals of the UN. Five years earlier the SIB hosted a similar conference on the same topic. The conference in 2011 therefore provided a great opportunity to catch up with what had happened in the meanwhile and to what extent there was any progress noticeable towards the final Goals. Would these Goals ever be realized? The conference turned out to be a very interactive one, consisting of lectures, master classes and country-groups. Christiaan Rebergen, special ambassador towards the Millennium Development Goals, lead the day with a short introduction and the progress that had been made. After the lunch there was the opportunity to participate in the master classes: geopolitics, Human Rights and the world economy. At the end of the day the main event took place, which was a live video-connection with Jeffrey Sachs, development economist and special advisor of the Secretary General of the United Nations. During this live connection he shared his vision on these Goals en the future of them with us. Eventually the day was closed by a debate with several lecturers of the country-groups and master classes.
Drinks with the Prime Minister
On the 21st of May 2010 Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkende visited Groningen to set the mood for the upcoming elections. In collaboration with GSV and Yir’ at ‘Adonay, SIB created the oppurtunity for students to shoot their questions at premier while enjoying a drink. Piet Hein Donner, the former Minister of Social Affairs and Employment, also joined in.
Trip to Geneva
In the fall of 2009 Projectgroup Geneva took a group of 15 SIB-members to NGO capital of Europe. The central theme of the trip was ‘Energy’, the numerous aspects of this theme were highlighted by visits to several of the international organisations based in Geneva. The NGO’s visited during this week include the World Health Organisation, the World Trade Organisation, CERN and the Palace of Nations (HQ of the UN in Geneva). The insights gained during the trip, were used in a grand debate back in Groningen.