Board of Trustees: Anne Flierman to step down, Joyce Walstra to replace him

After eight years as a member of the Board of Trustees of Nuffic, Anne Flierman is leaving. He will be replaced by Joyce Walstra.
SDG vlag bij Nuffic

A process of permanent change. That’s how the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) chair and former CDA senator Anne Flierman describes the past eight years at Nuffic, during which time he was a member of the Board of Trustees. In the ever-changing playing field of internationalisation, Anne used his political/administrative expertise in what he sees as the most important task of the Board of Trustees: to bring the outside world in.

Now, Anne is handing this role over to Joyce Walstra. Joyce has worked for Nuffic (2014-2016) and brings with her a wealth of commercial experience. She is director of the Oranjewoud Export Academy and chair of the entrepreneurs’ association for the north of the Netherlands, MKB Noord. She also sits on the executive board of the national entrepreneurs’ association, MKB Nederland, and the executive board of the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers, VNO-NCW.

How do you look back on your eight years at Nuffic?

Anne (photo): "I will take with me many good memories of my time here. Nuffic is a fine organisation with a wealth of knowledge in the field of internationalisation. What with the integration of the European Platform, the restructuring of management and the introduction of the pillars, those eight years were extremely busy. And that was just internally."

"Externally, the thinking on the importance and added value of internationalisation has changed in a pretty radical way. Nuffic is a bastion of internationalisation, its people are highly committed. So, one of the tasks of the Board of Trustees is to convince the organisation that the outside world is changing. Understandably, it wasn’t easy for Nuffic to change its views on this."

Joyce: "These are exciting times for internationalisation. In my experience, it is clear that internationalisation is a chain. The labour market has a need, knowledge institutions must meet this need, and Nuffic must facilitate this and build connections. Clearly, in the commercial world, the value of internationalisation is beyond dispute. The world is becoming ever more international, but the Dutch knowledge sector seems to have its doubts."

What is the main challenge for Nuffic here?

Joyce: "Nuffic must continue to fly the flag for internationalisation and anticipate what the Netherlands of the future will need. Nuffic must be seen to take a balanced view on an issue which is criticised by one side and welcomed by the other."

"By their very nature, global developments call for global knowledge and skills. Take Covid-19, for example, which no one can solve on their own. I believe that the concept of internationalisation must take on a new meaning, in which the focus is not only on student mobility but also on global relations."

What makes a good trustee?

Anne: "Finding the right balance between having your say and keeping your distance. If you’re too remote from the organisation, you miss things. But you mustn’t sit on the director’s chair either, because then you get lost in the details. In other words, the role of adviser is the most exciting but also the most difficult. I used to have lunch with the director of Nuffic once a year. But no more than that. Relationships must be good but not too good.”

"By their very nature, global developments call for global knowledge and skills."

Are you leaving Nuffic ready for the future?

“Yes, but that suggests that Nuffic wasn’t future-proof before. There are always exciting challenges, as there are now. Take the discussions around sustainability and anglicisation in higher education, for example. Or the Orange Knowledge Programme, which has been extended for one year. What will all this work out? With my knowledge of the political and administrative world, I have tried to be a sparring partner for the board. I believe that Nuffic has a valuable contribution to make and that we as a society must continue to benefit from this.”

Joyce, what qualities do you bring to the Board of Trustees?

“A practical, enterprising voice. Nuffic has a huge amount of knowledge around internationalisation, which has been passed down through the organisation over the years. Nuffic is an inexhaustible source of information, and is passionate about what it does. Nuffic is also a risk averse organisation, where everything is always thought through down to the finest detail. Herein lies a risk. Sometimes people think that an issue has been sorted as soon as the policy to deal with it has been put in place. "

"Using my experience from the commercial world, I want to help Nuffic move forward by taking a practical, functional approach. But in the first few months I mainly want to observe. Just because I’ve worked for Nuffic before doesn’t mean I know everything. The Nuffic of that time isn’t the Nuffic of today.”

Anne: “The good thing is that, like me, Joyce lives outside of the Randstad conurbation. Joyce lives in the north, I live in the east. These are regions that don’t always get the attention they deserve when it comes to internationalisation. Germany is very close to us. When we think of internationalisation, we very often think of faraway places. But Europe – and internationalisation – is on our doorstep."

The Board of Trustees of Nuffic comprises of Bert van der Zwaan, Peter Arnoldus, Beatrice Boots, Ewout West and Joyce Walstra. Learn more about the Board of Trustees.

Postscript: It is now known that Peter Arnoldus will join the Advisory Council as of January 1, 2022, replacing Katja Mur. This message was published about this switch: New member of Nuffic’s Board of Trustees: ‘Internationalisation for everyone’