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Vote for your candidate student member of the Programme Committee 2021-2022

28 September 2021

A liaison between faculty and students

Dear students in the bachelor’s programmes of the Institute of Political Science,

Your Programme Committee (PC) plays an important role in maintaining and improving the quality of the education offered to you. The PC

  • advises the Institute’s Programme Board with regard to education policy and practice,
  • actively monitors how courses are being organised and taught, and
  • offers advice, both solicited and unsolicited, on all issues regarding education within the programme (education execution, planning of education, study advising, course evaluations, etc.).

Obviously, student representation in the PC is very important. Half of its members are students, to make sure that the PC can operate as a liaison between faculty and students.

The PC’s student members serve a one-year term. There is one PC for all bachelor’s programmes in Political Science (IRO in The Hague, Politicologie and Internationale politiek in Leiden); both ‘cities’ will have at least one representative. At the beginning of the academic year, all students currently enrolled in these programmes can nominate themselves for one of the four seats in the PC. If there are more nominations than seats, elections will be held.

Vote: between 29 September and 3 October 2021

For 2021-2022, the situation is as follows:

  • Political Science: International Relations and Organisations: 15 candidates.
  • Politicologie/Internationale politiek: 3 candidates

These candidates present themselves (1) with a video on the Brightspace platform and (2) with a brief message below.

Please take your time to familiarise yourself with all candidacies; the voting takes place in from 29 September to 3 October 2021. You will receive an email from the SSC on the 29 September with a link to vote. Of course, you may only vote once.

Candidates from the BSc Political Science: International Relations and Organisations

Robin Antonise (IRO, year 3)

As we all know, the covid pandemic changed the way courses were taught and shifted everything away from physical teaching to online classes. While the university managed to quickly make this transition, shifting everything to online class was not without its problems. Even in my first year, which was still largely physical, there were problems with the courses and especially exams. They affected me and many people around me, and together with my friends I often thought of possible improvements or useful additions. These possibilities for improvement have motivated me to engage more actively with the quality of education and the course setup. There is always room for improvement, and I think that I can help find this room. I like listening to other people’s issues and complaints and engaging with discussion in order to help them in the best way I can. And this position on the Programme Committee would allow me to do much more of exactly that. I hope you guys will consider me for the position!

Andreea Chiritoiu (IRO, year 1)

Throughout my highschool years I had the chance to learn the most important values that guided me through great experiences—teamworking and cooperation that brings various ideas together. Not only did they teach me the value of different approaches in order to find solutions to various issues we had to solve at the NATO Conference in Bucharest or The European Youth Parliament sessions, but they also gave me the opportunity to listen to people whose expertise was decisive for the positive outcome of a mission. Moreover, each and every personal story that I got to know during these moments made me realize how precious my colleagues' vision and opinions are and how much change for the better they can bring. These are the values that will continue to guide me through my new journey as your nominee, having always in mind that your commitment and opinions will be respected, considered and, most importantly, part of this great experience, out of which we will make the best.

Franco Consoli (IRO, year 1)

Hello! My name is Franco Consoli, and I’m a 19 year old Peruvian-born student who lived in Spain for most of his life. I think I would be a great candidate to represent the student body in the Programme Committee, considering my past experience in student-governed bodies. Over my high school years, I was an active member of my student council, as well as one of the more prominent communicators with the board of directors in my school. I was part of a student body that spearheaded changes, while being able to respectfully improve the relations between students and teachers, through thorough communication. I can guarantee that I will focus on accurately representing both the students’ concern and their interest to the Programme Committee, in search of a better experience for all of us. Thank you for your time!

Sabrina Daadour (IRO, year 3)

My name is Sabrina Daadour, I am 22 years old and half-German, half-Egyptian. I am a third year IRO student. You might know me from CIROS as I was the external officer of the 2020-2021 board. I am applying to become a member of the Programme Committee as I would like to take part in improving our programs. I believe there is room for improvement in our study. For example, we often talk about the fact that academia is western-centric and mostly emphasizes western academics. Therefore, it is so important that we start decolonizing our study programs and take part in creating a more diverse and inclusive academia. This could be done by starting a conversation between the university and students on what is needed to create academia that is more accessible. I think I am suitable for this position as I already have a good understanding of how the university system works, due to my work in CIROS last year. Moreover, I am an approachable person, easy to talk to and I love connecting people with each other which enables me to represent the interests of students and make their voices heard in front of the university.

Madeleine Lecerf (IRO, year 1)

Dear fellow companions, as an IRO student, I am like you a fervent believer in democracy. As a result, this Programme Committee is essential to the running of this university, including marvellous representative. A trustworthy, strong-opiniated lady is needed to voice your convictions with blood, sweat and tears. My name is Madeleine Lecerf, I am a first year, French by nationality but lived in Dublin for a while. With that said you can be assured that my French heritage (we did cut our king's head off) will be used to defend you guys. So, why should you vote for me? I believe that being taught by doctors, professors and people with many degrees is very cool but sometimes it is hard for knowledge to pass through as we don't have all their diplomas yet and they tend to forget that. My goal is then to make sure the methods and the materials used is appropriate and beneficial for our learning. To recap, vote for me I will defend you and voice your opinions loud and clear.

Victoria Anna Leifer (IRO, year 1)

Dear fellow student, my name is Victoria and I’m running for the Programme Committee because I consider our education to be the groundwork of our future. It determines wether or not we achieve the career we aspire to have, wether or not we reach our goals in live, wether we are happy or not… So, it is extremely crucial that we make sure to maximize the quality of our educational experience at Leiden. In my opinion, Leiden has the potential to even exceed its current educational level. Let’s be honest: Leiden is already among the 100 best universities in four prominent international rankings, but there is always room for improvement. It is a concern of my heart to make sure that your voice, as a student, is being heard. Considering that we, as students, have quite a different perspective on our education than our school board does, it is exceptionally important to uphold & support the Programme Committee. I’m very dedicated to helping preserve & improve our educational experience & to represent every single one of you. I am always happy to listen to your concerns and ideas! So, I would be honoured to make sure your interest is heard & represented within the Institute!

Georgios Malachias (IRO, year 3)

My name is Georgios and I am a candidate for the Programme Committee. I believe that the representation of students within their respective educational institutions is a fundamental aspect of any program. Especially in the tough times we are experiencing due to the pandemic, ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to study and thrive without systemic obstacles should be the priority. This is the reason I am here. My previous experience within Law and Public Affairs, working in legal offices and publishing political articles on behalf of news media, is there to cement and substantiate my efforts towards reducing the distance between the university and its students. Evaluating study quality, representing student interests, fighting for a better future. For Leiden, for us.

Patrycja Matusiak (IRO, year 1)

My name is Patrycja Matusiak. I'm a first-year student of IRO, I'm Polish, living in the UK. I'm running for the Programme Committee, because I want to empower students and give them support they deserve. I've always been interested in education, especially in studying abroad. I currently write for Polish newspaper; my latest article dealt with changes in educational system in Poland. I've been a student in Polish and British educational systems, where I gained insight on teaching, university functioning and ways to improve the quality of education. I participated in many educational conferences and dealt with these matters as youth councillor in Warsaw. We can make uni more accessible to international students and students with special educational needs by providing them with academic English and Dutch classes and raising awareness about ways that university can support them. I want to push for lower drop-out rate during the first year. I have gone through a mental health crisis myself—I know university can be draining. I want to introduce more wellbeing workshops and make course content more balanced to prevent burning out. Pick Patrycja and let me change university for better!

Ignacio Otero (IRO, year 2)

My name is Ignacio Otero and i am an IRO student. I want to apply for the Programme Committee because I am highly passionate about education as the best personal and collective development tool. I understand education as an opportunity—and we, students of Leiden University, have a precious opportunity that undeniably needs to be polished and improved. I am actively involved in the University, and I always try to help my classmates and first-year students. I believe that students have many concerns that have not been heard enough, and I promise to work very hard so that the University Authorities can listen to these requests. I always say that a passion for learning is a passion for life, and I believe so. This passion should be accessible for everyone, no matter your circumstances. Your voice is always crucial, and your concerns are vital for the correct functioning of the academic institution. I am looking forward to representing my fellow students and working towards improving our educational experience.

Esra Sozer (IRO, year 1)

I am Esra Gabriela Sozer, a first-year IRO student from Ankara,Turkey, and I am running to be a part of the Programme Committee. I want to be in charge of my education and help other students to have the education they want. Because of Corona many of us feel disconnected from student life and I would like to play a role as ‘a bridge’ between the students and professor to close the gap. During these uncertain times, mental health is very important and I would like to offer my help to all the students. I believe that I am suitable for this role because I have been in similar positions before and I am always reachable. At the beginning of the programme I set up a Discord for the first-year students and, if I were to be selected I am planning on using the Discord actively, as a way to get feedback from the students. I believe students’ opinions and feedback is essential to maintain quality education.We are all allowed to have a voice in our education because we all deserve a good education and I am here to help you to receive the education you deserve.

João Souza (IRO, year 3)

Hey, my name is João, and I would like to be your representative on the Programme Committee as I believe in student representation in the management of University affairs. As a student at Leiden University for the past years, I have experienced alongside you the need for more transparent and quick contact between the students and the academic staff. I do not have unrealistic expectation about can be accomplished, but I believe that even with limitations, there is space for improvement. For once, inclusivity and diversity should be translated into action, especially in the classroom. This is vital to foster inclusivity among students and staff of different backgrounds in a variety of issues including de-colonising the curriculum and including gender and LGBTQ+ issues. Furthermore, I believe that education should be a two-way process in terms of learning, and as such students might also bring insights that would help our professors. Finally, I can assure you that while I believe in cooperation and respect between us and the University staff, I will not back down from representing the views of the student body that will potentially elect me, and where we meet resistance, we will not shy away from finding a compromise.

Sofia Tamburello (IRO, year 3)

Have you ever felt underrepresented in the university? If yes, I’m the candidate for you. Since high school I felt a profound commitment to represent the students’ interests in the educational system. It has always been in my nature to listen to and represent the students’ rights and complaints to the best of my abilities, while being respectful of the academic staff. I always had to balance my passion for education with having to take care of my large family, due to my single working mom, while managing my numerous extracurricular activities (dancing, acting). I believe that this makes me an understanding representative also for those students that are voluntarily/involuntarily handling responsibilities beyond their academic life. I am an efficient and diplomatic spokesperson. I weigh how to deliver a message in such a way that might reach the best outcome for each party involved. I have always been a sociable and open-minded person by nature, but I also strengthened these features thanks to the challenges I put my-self through. Finally, being an international and third year student, I have studied under several educational systems and witnessed, during a trying time like COVID, both the flaws and qualities of our university.

Michela Todd (IRO, year 1)

Given that education is arguably the greatest asset a person can acquire, it is vital that, when given the opportunity, one truly maximizes its value. As a member of the Programme Committee, I will ensure that every student is able to realize the full value of their education. Not only that, but I will ensure that our education is meaningful in terms of being representative and inclusive of the diversity that constitutes this programme. Making sure that our education is shaped by our interests, global concerns and goals and is reflective of a world which challenges Western norms, colonial legacies and patriarchal constructs (to name a few) is of utmost importance. In order to do so, I will draw on my past experiences in leadership positions which have taught me to communicate effectively and to maintain transparent channels of communication between student and executive bodies. Additionally, these experiences have taught me to listen empathetically, which will enable me to accurately represent our needs and concerns (ranging from that which concerns study material to mental well-being) in order to achieve tangible changes and progress within the academic realm we find ourselves in. I will remain dedicated to and unafraid of advocating for this student body.

Lieke van der Veen (IRO, year 3)

I believe it always to be important that students are not only considered but also involved in the development of educational programs. In times like these, however, as we are slowly getting back to normal student life again by gradually stepping away from online education, it is even more essential that we think critically about the ways our program is designed. Developing educational programs is an ongoing process so we have to make sure that our voices are being heard on a continuous basis. Therefore, I would like to represent your interests in the board meetings by having open conversations with you. As such, you will be able to share your insights and possible concerns with me in an accessible way. I am looking forward to making sure that all of our interests are represented and actively considered. I would be very grateful if you could consider me as your ideal candidate for the Teaching Committee. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about me or my candidacy.

Lena Zentai (IRO, year 1)

Hey fellow students! My name is Lena Zentai and I'm from the beautiful city of Budapest, Hungary. I started my bachelor's as an IRO student and so far it has been such an exciting journey to get to know some of you and to explore what the Hague and Leiden University has to offer. In my 19 years of existence as probably most of you I have seen good and unfortunately bad methods of education and even though this university has hundreds of years of teaching experience there is always room for improvement especially in today’s uncertain setting caused by the pandemic. Now we got to the part where I have to convince you to vote for me:) I'm a person who is easy to approach and talk to, who is a good listener, and has a genuine motivation in creating solutions for study-related problems and making our school a student-friendly environment in terms of education. To reach these goals and to be a better help for you (and also for me because we're all in this together) I'm eager to learn new skills and passionate about solving problems jointly with the Teaching Committee’s team.

Candidates from the BSc Politicologie and the BSc Politicologie: Internationale Politiek

Victor Gudde (Pol, year 1)

Ever since I was younger, I haven’t been afraid to say what I thought. Especially in situations where something wasn’t arranged properly or if something could easily be improved. At my high school, I brought up multiple problems and have I been able to help fix them by getting in a discussion with the board. I have experience with leading and attending meetings and I take my assignments in them very seriously. As a first-year student, I believe my fresh look can have a positive influence in the Programme Committee and that I can think of solutions and help to solve the problems that students encounter. I’m very motivated to improve this Bachelor and solve any problems that occur. I will not fall back if something needs to be done and I will always make sure my fellow students and I will be taken seriously.

Marit van der Heide (Pol, year 2)

My name is Marit van der Heide and I am a second year Political Science student (Specialisation: Politicologie). Maybe some of you already know me, because I am the Commissioner of Education and Politics for SPIL this year. I think I can represent the students really well in the Programme Committee, because I have a lot of contact with students. This means that I know what problems students are facing and what solutions they prefer. Also, you can find me easily in the SPIL common room in Leiden or The Hague if you are facing a problem that you think should be addressed in the Committee. I will make sure that your points of view will be included in the discussion. I am a really good listener, but I also know when to speak up. To me it is really important that all students can enjoy their time studying at Leiden University, both in Leiden and The Hague. It is very important that the voices of students are being heard when it comes to decisions about our education. I would like to ensure that happens through being a member of the Programme Committee. I hope to get your trust and vote!

Elena van der Klok (IP, year 2/3)

I’m Elena and I think you should vote for me as a new member of the Programme Committee! Although we’ve experienced difficulties the past year due to the pandemic, I don’t think we should feel discouraged about improving our education system. We should show Leiden University and everyone outside campus that we’re able to maintain the quality of education that everyone expects from Leiden, even in these difficult times. To cut a long story short, I’m a motivated candidate that wants to give our fellow students and lecturers the education environment that they deserve. However, becoming a member of this committee doesn’t only interest me, it also suits me for several reasons. First, I’m a great communicator. Whenever someone talks to me about their concerns, I try to listen carefully, process it accordingly and respond perfectly. Second, I’m an exceptional counselor. People know me for giving only valuable advice. I won’t let anybody that needed help leave without it. Third, I’m a good leader. I will always make sure to reach a nice consensus for the happiness of all. So, if you want to be heard, vote for me!

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