New member of Nuffic’s Board of Trustees: ‘Internationalisation for everyone’
Over the course of twelve months, Nuffic's Board of Trustees has seen quite a few changes. After Joyce Walstra and Ewout West joined in 2021, the board started 2022 with another new member in its midst. Peter Arnoldus, a member of the Council for the Judiciary in everyday life, is replacing Katja Mur. This means that chairman Bert van der Zwaan and Beatrice Boots are the only remaining ‘veterans’. Katja will be occupying a similar position at the LUMC.
Katja joined the Board of Trustees in 2016. She is a board member of the Dutch Data Protection Authority (Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens, AP) and has been working in public administration since 1993. Before joining AP, she was Director of Macroeconomic Issues and the Labour Market at the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. Before that, she worked as a programme director, head of department and inspector at various ministries.
In this latter position, she had already crossed paths with Peter. When Katja supervised the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the early 1990s on behalf of the Government Finance Inspectorate, Peter headed the Budget Coordination Office there. He later became Director of Financial and Economic Affairs in this ministry. After a period at KPMG, he returned to The Hague. He worked for the Ministry of Finance and was a founder and head of the National Academy of Finance and Economics.
Why did you take on this position?
Peter: "Because with my knowledge and experience of public organisations, I believe that I can be of value to Nuffic. The Council for the Judiciary is a combined management and supervisory board. In my role, I oversee various courts and independent organisations with up to 1,000 employees. Administrative consultation takes place, you advise the boards and recommend how they should change course if something is not going well. I will be taking this background to Nuffic with me. I intend to help the board through advice and discussion, but also to grow and develop personally."
Peter continues: "During my studies, I conducted research into political decision-making on finances and have often held financial and economic positions at ministries. I find allocation issues very interesting. At the various ministries the focus was often on policymaking, and at KPMG I learned how to take projects from A to B. I therefore hope to be able to contribute to the translation of policy into implementation at Nuffic."
Katja, how do you look back on your time as a member of the Board of Trustees?
Katja: "This position at Nuffic was my first time serving on a Board of Trustees. I thought it would be interesting to take a look behind the scenes at another organisation. Internationalisation also appeals to me. As a child, I lived in Nottingham for a year. You carry that kind of background with you for the rest of your life."
"Five years ago, Nuffic was really in a different situation than it is now. The organisation had just merged with the European Platform and this integration required a great deal of time and attention. It was also the time when internationalisation began to feature more prominently on the agenda in SMEs. As the Board of Trustees, we always stressed the importance of good control information and automation."
What has the Board of Trustees done for Nuffic in recent years?
Katja: "I think we have helped to greatly enhance Nuffic’s external positioning. In politics and society, internationalisation was coming under increasing pressure. We reflected intensively on this. Nuffic was hiding away too much. We also clarified Nuffic's importance for the Netherlands as a whole. With grants, capacity programmes and other initiatives, Nuffic adds great value to the business community. We can convey this fact with pride."
Peter, on LinkedIn you describe yourself as a ‘change manager’. How does this hands-on mentality fit in with a supervisory function, where you tend to have more distance?
Peter: "At the Council for the Judiciary, I learned the important difference between supervisors and boards. As a supervisor, you don’t sit in the driver's seat, but keep an eye on the bigger picture. I will be doing the same at Nuffic, while naturally also taking my own experiences of change management into account."
How do you view internationalisation?
Peter: "Internationalisation is in my blood. I dealt with trade policy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and we exchange knowledge with other countries in the Council for the Judiciary. I want to focus on ensuring that internationalisation is of value to everyone. Internationalisation is inevitable and crucial for the development of society. In the past, everyone thought this would happen automatically, but things started to shift. The benefits are not being evenly distributed. For this reason, it is important for us to continue to delve into the dilemmas and focus on inclusiveness. Internationalisation must provide opportunities for everyone."
Which challenges is Nuffic facing?
Peter: "I can see three. Nuffic must continue to respond to the challenges posed by internationalisation. The organisation must work towards stable funding. And I would continue to strive for inclusiveness."
Katja: "Nuffic needs to move from supply-driven to demand-driven. Digitisation must remain a strong focus in order to remain interesting for stakeholders. Nuffic will really need to put itself in the shoes of the people it works for: students, teachers, financiers and the Netherlands as a whole. Make sure your service remains fresh and smart. Keep it simple. And never lose sight of the future. 70 years of Nuffic is great. But if we want to keep going for another 70 years, we will have to keep innovating. Nuffic, continue to outdo yourself and exceed expectations!"
Board of Trustees
Nuffic maintains a strict separation of tasks, responsibilities and powers between (internal) supervision and management. This helps to ensure that the interaction between the board and supervisors is effective and efficient. The Board of Trustees consists of the following: Bert van der Zwaan (chairman), Beatrice Boots, Ewout West, Joyce Walstra and Peter Arnoldus.