logo SERVUS sept 2013

Mirroring the Re/search activities, our Educational activities target both the internal VU Amsterdam student and teaching communities, as well as larger national and international academic and corporate communities. The focus of such activities is on both raising awareness as well as providing inspiration to educate, learn and (re)search, connected with the VU Amsterdam identity.

19-th symposium: 18 May 2020 - symposium ‘Mentoring in Cross-Cultural Communities’

Mentoring in Cross Cultural Communities

This 19th  annual SERVUS-VU symposium ‘Mentoring in Cross-Cultural Communities’ of May 18th 2020 created an online meeting place for MSc students, mentors and practitioners to strengthen the link between theory, business and society. Worldwide, especially during the COVID-19 crisis, there is a call for a compassionate leader, who is a community builder, an active listener, and a mentor able to reconcile high-tech versus high-touch. Inspiring keynotes by Prof. Sharda Nandram and Prof. Fons Trompenaars and dialogue shed light on the gentle art of serving and leading, chaired by Sylvia van de Bunt.  One of the 4 parallel workshops ‘Giving Back mentoring practice’ was led by Malika Ouacha, program manager Giving Back Students Community (SGBC). Zoom host: Rodrigo Martinez Romero, see picture. The event was empowered by the Cloverleaf Foundation and the VU School of Business and Economics. 


18-th symposium: 29 April 2019 - Mentoring in cross-cultural communities

Servus symposium 29-04

This symposium ‘Mentoring in cross-cultural communities’ is the 18th in an annual SERVUS symposium series. How to be a mentor, steward or motivator for your employees, your mentees, and your customers across cultures? How can executives in their mentorship role give back to society? Renowned keynote speakers highlighted the state-of-the-art in cross-cultural mentoring research, the emancipation of refugee communities through mentoring and dilemma reconciliation. Guest of honour was Mpho Tutu van Furth, co-founder of #I Too mentoring initiative, www.mphotutuvanfurth.com


Available presentations:

Keynote Children of Refugees in Education
Workshop TCS Mentoring through online Communities
Workshop Giving Back
Education 4 you   
Symposium Mentoring Dilemmas summary + The dilemmas of coaching

17-th symposium: 14 May 2018 - Servant-Leadership in a Digitized World

SL symposium May 2018

The  corporate world is changing rapidly under the pressures of new technologies. Social media are part of everyday life at work. Cross-cultural (mis)understanding is influenced by diverse perceptions of e.g. time, trust, privacy, and language clues.  These conditions may hinder remote workers in building trusted long-term working communities in which they feel a sense of belonging.  This 24/7 workplace calls for a compassioned leader, a leader who is a community builder, able to reconcile high-tech versus high-touch.   At this symposium dilemmas in platform organizations and Uber were highlighted. In one of the Workshops participants experienced reconciliation of cross-cultural dilemmas through online tools. In particular the Mergers &Acquisition App and the Culture for Business App demonstrated the online stewardship potential in cross-cultural collaboration. In a parallel Workshop digital nomadism was addressed, as an emerging and novel independent working culture. See enclosed program overview.


16-th symposium: 9 October 2017 - Servant-Leadership and Meaningful Work


We are delighted this 16th event in an annual symposium series, brings together cutting-edge thinkers and practitioners across disciplines, leveraging the global human needs to learn, serve and lead in their unique way. Or like Ricardo Semler, champion of the employee-friendly radical corporate democracy and CEO of Semco Partners argues: “Once employees feel challenged, invigorated and productive, their efforts will naturally translate into profit and growth for the organisation.” Servant-Leaders nurture organizational practices to promote such work. This symposium will include case studies, keynote presentations and a plenary debate to shed light on the gentle art of serving and leading, and how leaders can acknowledge and develop meaningfulness at work.


Presentation Semco Partners

Student blog presentation

15-th symposium: 8 May 2017 - Servant-Leadership and Societal Engagement


This symposium was the 15th in an annual symposium series, a meeting place for students and professionals to strengthen the link between theory and business practice. The event explored the power of societal engagement; how can leaders create an organization in service of the employees, customers and society at large?

Servant-leaders help create a corporate social responsible culture where employees perceive their work as meaningful. Societal consciousness is more and more important nowadays and is given focus not only by universities but by companies as well. Increasingly, companies plan to align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Some major SDG steps are taken by business leaders working towards a sustainable future. Corporate engagement to humanize underserved groups will not only bring social justice in society, it will also improve the internal working climate for employees.

What can we learn from societal engaged business stories in Africa, the Middle East and beyond? How can leaders become powerful engines of organizational and societal progress?


Available presentations

14-th symposium: 14 October 2016 - Servant-Leadership and Meaningful Work

13-th symposium: 25 April 2016 - Servant-Leadership and Social Capital

12-th symposium: 21 September 2015, Servant-Leadership and Meaningful Work

11-th symposium: 4 May 2015, Servant-Leadership across Crisis Situations

10-th symposium: 6 October 2014, Servant-Leadership across Life Paths

9-th symposium: 14 April 2014, Servant-Leadership across the Arts

8-th symposium: 27 September 2013, Servant-Leadership across Generations

7-th symposium: 22 April 2013, Servant-Leadership across Communities

6-th symposium: 24 September 2012, Servant-Leadership across the Orient

5-th symposium: 26 April 2012, Servant-Leadership across Histories

4-th symposium: 3 October 2011, Servant-Leadership across Cyberspace

3-rd symposium: 2 May 2011, on Servant-Leadership across Disciplines

2-nd symposium: 22 November 2010, Servant-Leadership across Higher Education

1-st symposium: 13 April 2010, Servant-Leadership across Cultures