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Vote for your candidate student member of the Programme Committee 2022-2023

4 October 2022

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: from 6 to 11 October 2022

For 2022-2023, the situation is as follows:

  • Political Science: International Relations and Organisations: 8 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 6 to 11 October 2022. You will receive an email from the SSC with a link to vote. Of course, you may only vote once.


Ioannis Avtzoglou, 1st year IRO

Hello Future of IRO... My name is Ioannis Avtzoglou and I am an international Student from Germany. Would you like to be represented by someone that stands for our diversity and talks about common concerns? Would you like to have a strong voice regarding your personal and academic wellbeing? Better call Ioannis! My goal is to be a bridge between our institution and our student community. In the past I had the opportunity to be an active part of local, national and international political representation. I have gained experience through participation in my local town hall and have even reached the doors of the German parliament. As school president I ensured that everybody was represented equally, and no issue was too trivial. Not only am I good with international relations but with personal ones too ;)

In terms of education, my goal is to put forward students concerns and work out mutually beneficial solutions to achieve a better study environment for all! In the past I was a member of students committee of education on different subjects and that’s whyI had insights into the field of educational initiatives. Did you know that you have rights? Ioannis says you do!

João Delfim de Almeida Aleluia Bazelga, 2nd year IRO

My name is João and I am a second-year IRO student. I consider myself to be an outspoken person that is always ready to connect and learn with others. In my first year, coming from Portugal, I struggled to adapt to a new country and a new educational system like loads of you. This year, inspired by the experiences and challenges I had, I ought to make this program more dynamic, practical, and internationally oriented. I plan to ask for more diverse study methods, less Eurocentric content, and more distributed grades. However, this is just a starting point. My main focus will be on approaching and taking into consideration all the insights I get from my peers. I plan to hear all opinions, complaints, and ideas that students have and make them heard in the Programme Committee.

During high school, I was a part of the student association and the student council of my school. This made me value the importance that these positions have in allowing students to actively participate in their education. Additionally, it made me more passionate about learning not only through the education system, but also the people that are a part of it.

Victor Gudde, 2nd year Politicologie

My name is Victor and I’m a second year Political Science student (Politicologie). I have plenty of experience with evaluating school policy and school programs and at my high school I’ve had plenty conversations with the schoolboard about things that could be improved upon. I have accomplished a lot doing this and I made sure the board did the things we’ve agreed on.

I’m a good listener and I’m open to any ideas, complaints or suggestions from my fellow students. I’m also no stranger to joining meetings and making clear what I think is important and which tasks I can take on. I’m self-confident and can stand my ground, because of that I can make sure the voice of the students will be heard and listened to. I’m motivated to improve our curriculum for all its current students and for everyone that’s going to take on our specialization of Political Science.

Marit van der Heide, 3rd year Politicologie

Hi everyone, my name is Marit van der Heide and I am a third year political science student (Specialisation: Politicologie). I have been one of the student members of the Programme Committee the past year, and I would like to continue representing you this year. I think it is really important that you have the opportunity to give your opinion about your education. Because of that, together with the other student members, I set up Feedback Fridays. These events were organized so that all students had the opportunity to talk to the student representatives about the quality of education, besides the regular option to email us. I hope I can keep creating opportunities like this the upcoming year!

I am a 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 OLC. I hope to get your trust and votes!

Jan Alois Hotovy, 2nd year IRO

My name is Honza and some of you may already know me from IRO classes. I believe it to be extremely important to ensure we get excellent quality education backed by international academic standards. I want to make sure, that when we as students, pay for education, we will be adequately treated and not handed pre-recorded material akin to a YouTube video that not only deprives us of our academic life but poses emotional and learning challenges! The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us all that nothing can substitute for real human interaction and I consider it disrespectful to all of us when the university conforms to what is the easiest way for them, rather than what is the best for us.

We, the students are the utmost priority and I believe we need a change. And with your help, I am here to make it happen as a member of the progamme committee.

Elena van der Klok, 4th year Internationale Politiek

Hello, I’m Elena van der Klok, and I would love it if you’d vote for me, as student representative of the OLC! The reason why? Give me the opportunity to clarify:

I’m approachable, always ready to help and a great listening ear. And wouldn't you agree that the student representative also needs to have these qualities this upcoming year? Besides that, I’m on the 42nd SPIL board as Commissioner Education & Politics. Being part of the OLC would thus be a perfect mix! Moreover, I was a member of the last Programme Committee, which would make me a nice element of consistency. And, as a fourth year IP student I’m familiar with all the expectations of the bachelor’s programme. That’s why I’m entirely aware of what the necessities are of students before and after their exam.

Thus, I hope I’ve gained some trust and support with this poetic little story, because I can’t come up with any more rhyme words, I’m sorry. So without further ado, I think you know what you should do. Vote for me, to optimize the quality of this bachelor’s degree!

Victoria Anna Leifer, 2nd year IRO

I’m Victoria Leifer and I’m running for the OLC 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, wether we are happy or not... So, it is extremely important 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 students have a different perspective on our education than our school board does, it is exceptionally important to uphold & support the OLC.

I’m 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! As a 2nd year, I also know how IRO works. So, I would be honoured to make sure your interest is heard & represented within the Institute!

Patrycja Matusiak, 2nd year IRO

Hoi! I'm Pat, second-year student of IRO. I would love to become your representative at the Teaching Committee! I believe in better information and education – university should strive to be more transparent and accessible. I want to improve the curriculum and lobby for more manageable workload in particularly difficult subjects. I've been experiencing three different educational systems, have a vast experience as an academic mentor, I am currently a peer mentor – these experiences in education will help me in better cooperation with staff and other students. I want to give all students an opportunity to gain a valuable, well-ranked degree, as well as strongly support first year students on the way to getting their BSA.

During my first year I have been studying online and had an extensive procedural contact with university – I fought for my rights, I want to put that experience to use and fight for your rights! Better university is possible.

Max van Opstal, 1st year IRO

I’m Max, a 19-year-old IRO first year student. I’m a born and raised Dutch guy from Leiden. Some of my fellow first-years might recognize me from my presence at the Introduction weeks of Leiden and The Hague.

On that note, I can assure that if I get elected as student representative, I will fulfill the position of member of the program committee similar to how I was during those weeks: listening to everyone and taking everyone their interests into consideration. Furthermore, I will make sure my actions speak as loud as my words in the Program committee. So, vote for me if you want a student representative that listens to you!

Nithusha Pansaratnam, 2nd year IRO

As Nelson Mandela said, education is the most powerful weapon one can use to change the world. It especially applies to students of political science and international relations as they yearn to make a difference. It is therefore crucial that the individuals who get the opportunity to use the weapon of academia, maximize its utility. However, to speak of good quality education, it must serve the students and represent their interests. It is of paramount importance that we are not only considered but that we are also involved in the development of our educational program.

With your permission, I, Nithusha Pansaratnam, can accomplish this. As a second-year IRO student, I have seen how many of our concerns have been ignored or gone unheard of, and I promise to work to my utmost capabilities to make the University listen to our requests. As the next generation to rule the world, our sound is crucial, and we deserve to have a prominent voice in the educational process that prepares us for this leadership. I would be immensely honored if I were allowed to make this possible and I look forward to representing my fellow students in improving our valuable time as undergraduates.

Mihnea Turcitu, 1st year IRO

Since the very second that I stepped foot into a classroom, I have experienced a constant wave of change. It so happened that, once every two years I would transfer from schools or even countries. This has given me a unique opportunity, that of seeing how I react to a variety of systems and approaches. You could say that for 12 years I’ve been part of a very thorough research study where I was able to see how environment, teachers, and academic structures impact a human being. On a more personal level, I have grown a passion for meeting and hearing people’s stories. Throughout my fast-paced involuntary exchange program, I made friends with people from Morocco, Iraq, South Korea, Kurdistan, Egypt, Sweden, and even Jamaica. The tight connections with students and teachers from a vast array of backgrounds showed me how they feel about certain aspects of the school curriculum compared to the one back home, it has given me the chance to see how important it is to truly engage with someone’s habits and cultural ties to keep their passion for learning. I am Mihnea Turcitu, a student with a love for friendships, progress, and innovation!

Huba Varga, 1st year IRO

My name is Huba, I’m a Finnish-Hungarian IRO student. This is my first year in The Hague. Back in the German School of Budapest I also used to be the chairman of the student council, with your trust I want to improve our daily life here as well! My areas of focus:

  • Tutoring-System
  • Wine tasting at Wijnhaven
  • Poker night
  • Leiden parties at Paard
  • More direct Feedback-System
  • Dutch day (Traditional games, music and cheese)
  • Monthly art sessions
  • Beach day
  • Italian cooking evenings
  • Activity and monopoly night
  • Football and rugby tournaments
  • Macaron baking
  • I kindly thank you for your vote! Let’s make university life more democratic and fun together! If you have any questions text me!

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