Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science Hosted at UCLA

Vice Chancellor Anna Spain Bradley presents Dutch Minister Robbert  Dijkgraaf with a Bruin bear memento of his visit to UCLA. Photo by Oliver Chien.


As part of the ongoing effort to strengthen collaborations between UCLA and Dutch universities, Jo Anne and Johannes Van Tilburg hosted Robbert Dijkgraaf, the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science during his visit to UCLA on September 9, 2022.


The event, which was the culmination of a two-week trip to visit universities, major corporations, and governmental agencies in the United States, was co-sponsored by the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA  and the Center for European and Russian Studies (CERS) at the UCLA International Institute. UCLA Dutch Studies, under the direction of CERS, is the largest program in the United States that focuses on the study of The Netherlands and Belgium in a global perspective, promoting student and faculty exchanges and scholarship in Dutch language and culture. The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA is a premier research organization dedicated to the creation, dissemination, and conservation of archaeological knowledge and heritage. It also houses the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program which educates and trains students in the highest standards of the conservation of material culture.


The Minister and his delegation were welcomed by UCLA Executive Vice Chancellor Darnell Hunt; Vice Chancellor of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Anna Spain Bradley; and other campus leaders and faculty, including the Director of CERS, Laurie Kain Hart. “In keeping with UCLA’s mission of global reach, it was a great honor to welcome Minister Dijkgraaf and his delegation to UCLA for a rich exchange of knowledge across cultures and nations,” Spain Bradley said. “The Minister’s deep commitment to the power of education to advance inclusive societies in which all peoples can thrive is a vision that UCLA and I share. We look forward to continued cooperation with the Minister and the government of The Netherlands in years to come,” she added.


Alex Swart, board member of the Netherland-America Foundation, Southern California Chapter, attended the luncheon with several NAF colleagues and explained that “our organization supports meaningful exchanges between The Netherlands and Southern California in the science, commerce, culture and education spaces, which, of course, include Dutch Studies and the annual Van Tilburg lecture at UCLA - a highlight in the intellectual life of the Dutch community in Los Angeles.”. The Johannes Van Tilburg Lecture in Dutch Studies was established in 2005 by a generous gift from Johannes and Jo Anne Van Tilburg for the establishment in perpetuity of an annual lecture in Dutch studies, as part of the exchange program between UCLA and the University of Utrecht in The Netherlands.


Johannes Van Tilburg has served for over a decade as honorary consul of The Netherlands for Los Angeles. Jo Anne Van Tilburg is Director of the Rock Art Archive at UCLA and Associated Researcher at the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, as well as Principal Investigator of the Easter Island Statue Project. She noted that “the Van Tilburg family is proud and very pleased to support the Johannes Van Tilburg Lecture in Dutch Studies within the UCLA International Institute. The important watchword inclusion, which is inherent in the approach of UCLA to higher education and a shared goal with the Dutch Ministry of Education, tends to suggest the generosity of sharing something already established. Perhaps at UCLA it could be amended to expansion, which better describes growth in cooperation with the community as a whole and within the long-established UCLA tradition of diversity.”


Willeke Wendrich, Director of the Cotsen Institute, welcomed the visitors via Zoom from Budapest (Hungary), where she was attending a conference. Herself an alumnus of Leiden University in The Netherlands, Wendrich noted that “the push by UCLA for equity and diversity is extremely important, and I am delighted that we have been able to hire a diverse faculty. It is also important to put in the minds of all young students that UCLA is something they can aim for. The combination of having a role model and being told ‘this is for you’ is very powerful,” she explained.


At the conclusion of the meeting, Minister Dijkgraaf reported that “this isn’t just the end of the trip; this is a grand finale. UCLA made sure we finished our visit to the Unites States on a very high note.”



Published on September 26, 2022.