News - August 18, 2011


Five trillion euros evaporated from stock exchanges worldwide last week. A thirteen-figure sum. Too much to wrap your mind around. What will the consequences of this financial crisis be?

I remember a moment on my ferry crossing from Newcastle to Ijmuiden last week, when I face the choice between a bottle of Heineken or a bottle of Stella Artois. I hesitated. The Heineken cost 40 eurocents more. London is burning, the Libyan and Syrian Springs are a long time coming, and there is catastrophic famine in the Horn of Africa. And on the boat my thought went to our cat Tinto, and I hoped he had come through our four week holiday in one piece.
Big worries, little worries. A place with plenty to worry about right now is Van Hall Larenstein, as Resource reported just before the summer break. Programme director Hans van Rooijen was placed on non-active status after a serious dispute with director Ellen Marks. Van Rooijen, popular with students and staff alike, is the driving force behind the Forest and Nature Management programme. Marks is responsible for the institute's overall policy, which includes aiming for increasingly centralized management.
Board chair Aalt Dijhuizen regrets the present situation and asks for loyalty and professionalism. Hear hear, loyalty and professionalism from all concerned. Let the programme director get on with his job of running his highly successful programme, and let the general director get on with her job of policymaking for the school. For the sake of Van Rooijen, Marks and the Forest and Nature Management programme, I hope they can resolve the conflict in a way that is workable for everyone. And for the sake of Van Hall Larenstein. Then we could strike one worry from the list.