9 March 2018 • Gideon Wille
Symposium marks departure of Lector Joris Voorhoeve
While many retire on their 65th birthday, Joris Voorhoeve wanted to continue his interesting work as head of a research group at The Hague University of Applied Science but has now decided to leave at the age of 72. The symposium marking his retirement, ‘On Building Peace’, to be held on 15 March and will focus on the answers to the most important research questions addressed by his research group.
Has the International Peace, Justice & Security Research Group achieved what you wanted?
‘The plan was to teach, instigate some research, and write a book for educational purposes about my own field of international relations. And we have succeeded. Our minor about peace-building after conflicts is attracting 50 students a year. It’s really nice, especially at this phase in my life, to be able to share my knowledge and encourage others to acquire knowledge themselves. By getting students to work on giving speeches and writing essays, you get in touch with what students think about conflicts in the world. I got some of these students involved in research work for my research group. A number of them also contributed to the textbook.’
What is the book about?
‘The book, Wereld in beweging, [(a world in change), ed.] is intended for use in higher education and attempts to cover all the important aspects related to peace, justice and security. Various lectors and lecturers at The Hague University of Applied Sciences contributed to it as well. The first part is now at the printer’s. Hopefully, we can present it on the 15th of March, but that’s still up in the air.’
Scientific investigation is also an important task for a research group. Is there such a thing as a typical research project conducted at a university of applied sciences?
‘Here, research is more practice-oriented. I was in charge of a research project aimed at solving problems associated with drinking water. Four years ago, I visited the Gaza Strip. It was there that I saw how terribly severe these problems can be. Throughout the world, fresh water for drinking as well as for irrigation is becoming increasingly scarce. Pumping up too much groundwater leads to the salination of water in subsurface reservoirs. What we need is to devise an efficient way to desalinate water since the traditional method consumes far too much energy.’
Did someone from our school have a solution for this?
‘A former student of our school came up with a very efficient method for removing salt from water that could be useful for refugee camps and isolated settlements because such a system could be powered by a solar panel. This device could be as small as a coffee maker. This promising project is now under way. We’re testing working prototypes in The Netherlands, Ramallah and near the Mekong River in Vietnam.’
You won’t be leaving The Hague University of Applied Sciences entirely, though. You’ll still be associated in an unpaid position as a fellow.
‘It’s nice to have become a fellow since I won’t be breaking all ties with The Hague University of Applied Sciences. I’m glad that I can continue supervising my two PhD students there until they graduate. I’ll also continue my supervision of the water project, and I still have to complete the second part of the textbook. You couldn’t make me any happier than to let me write about things in my office at home.’
The symposium ‘On Building Peace’ will be held on 15 March from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Location: The Hague University of Applied Sciences, Johanna Westerdijkplein 75 in room OV 3.37. Short lectures will be given by Joris Voorhoeve, Mihaela Anghel (a university lecturer in European Studies), and researcher Reitse Keizer. You can register to attend by sending an e-mail to email@example.com.
Joris Voorhoeve: ‘You couldn’t make me any happier than to let me write about things in my office at home.’