Legacy of dr. Martin Luther King jr.

SERVUS MLK

Listen to the empowering words of Dr Martin Luther King jr. visiting the VU student association 21 October 1965 and read the transcript.

See also 'Geheugen van de VU'.

VUvereniging awarded SERVUS ‘We Shall Overcome’ project

VUvereniging, the VU Association founded in 1879, awarded SERVUS a 2-years project ‘We Shall Overcome’. The project aims to strengthen the VU historical identity through 4 valorization actions. The actions originate and build on the legacy of Dr Martin Luther King jr. On October 20th 1965 MLK received an honorary doctorate degree for his courageous non-violent fight for social justice and civil rights. The first  ‘We Shall Overcome’ action involves interviews with VU alumni who have met with dr. Martin Luther King jr. at VU in 1965. These interviews come on top of an earlier MLK interview series with VU Alumni. Subsequently, a MLK Masterclass will be organized for VU researchers and lecturers. The purpose of this Masterclass is to implement MLK's legacy in current research and educational curricula to serve 21st C generations to come. Research and educational issues such as cultural diversity, underprivileged societal groups e.g. newcomers, poor and elderly people, freedom of speech, and bullying in the (online) workplace will be aligned with MLK legacy.  During an international symposium the major project findings will be highlighted. Web visibility will support knowledge sharing and sustainability of project findings. We are grateful for this generous empowerment of SERVUS by VUvereniging.  

Vuvereniging

Season greeting

VU Alumni MLK interviews

Over the last few years SERVUS interviewed in total 7 VU alumni. During Dr. Martin Luther King jr.  VU visit in 1965 these alumni attended the ceremony with MLK 20 October 1965 and/or 21 October 1965. In the MLK interviews the alumni tell their personal story about meeting MLK, and also elaborate on their memories of being VU student in the 1960s. See their personal stories: https://www.geheugenvandevu.nl/hoofdmenu/dossiers/martin-luther-king-jr-eredoctor-1965 

Thursday 28th November 2019 a few VU alumni interviewees attended the Martin Luther King Lecture ‘Game-Changers’. Beforehand, SERVUS invited the alumni for a joint dinner, see picture. 

MLK dinner 

dr. Martin Luther King Lecture ‘Game-Changers’, 28 November 2019

What a special evening, the 2019 Martin Luther King Lecture ‘ Game-Changers’ at the VU with inspirational speakers such as European parliamentarian Samira Rafaela, and poet Babs Franklin Gons. Delighted to experience how young game-changers take action to contribute in their own unique way to society.  MLK was a game-changer too in his non-violent struggle for social justice. It was amazing to meet again with SERVUS relations Kathleen Ferrier and Sebastiaan van der Zwaan. Thank you for this wonderful evening. Click here for more information about the lecture.

MLK lecture 

SERVUS Masterclass ‘I have a dream’

One of the SERVUS initiatives this academic year is the Masterclass ‘I have a dream’ for secondary school students. The SERVUS Masterclass is part of the VU Pre-University College, a consortium of 23 secondary schools in the greater Amsterdam region.  

This Masterclass curriculum is designed for secondary school students in their final school year (4 and 5 VWO). Students acquire knowledge and experience in different forms of visionary leadership.  Issues such as cross cultural human rights and social justice are being addressed. The curriculum will nurture students’ personal leadership skills and moral compass, to finally apply knowledge in teamwork and field research. The theme ‘I have a dream’ originated from VU history and its corporate culture. The Masterclass is named after Dr. Martin Luther King jr. Because, King received an honorary doctorate degree at the VU in Amsterdam on 20 October 1965 for his courageous non-violent fight for racial equality and civil rights.

Which leaders make a difference, and inspire people to positive change? In this Masterclass, students explore how successful leaders are committed to both their organization and the sustainable society at large. Michelle Obama is such a contemporary role model. She launched the campaign Let’s Move: a campaign against childhood obesity in the USA. With this initiative Michelle Obama initiated measures to change the food industry (e.g. listing the amount of calories on the packages of food and drinks) and to encourage providing healthier school meals. How can a leader give hope, motivate people, and nurture a sense of belonging to community? What do you do in a crisis situation, what is the role of empathy and respect, and how to reconcile dilemmas? What does that imply for the leader him/herself? In this Masterclass secondary school students examine these issues in dialogue with VU scientists and practitioners. Students discover their own power as a leader, their moral compass, and experience the inspiration of visionary leaders such as Angela Merkel, Nelson Mandela, Michelle Obama and Martin Luther King. Leadership exercises, a speech lab and workshops bring the learning to life. 

Various societal partners are loyal supporters of this Masterclass, such as:

  • Martin Luther King Lecture Foundation, in partnership with:
  • Justice and Peace Netherlands, committed to a just and sustainable world. Justice and Peace supports human rights defenders who work at the local level worldwide, and are dedicated to an equitable treatment and protection of refugees
  • Nieuwwij, for a better world, connecting cultural and religious differences
  • Cross Cultural Human Rights Centre
  • De Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, Autumn 2017 exhibition on visionary leadership
  • THTConsulting, experts in cross cultural awareness and dilemma reconciliation

More information, please contact us.