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season's greetings 2018

MLK Commencement speech ‘Keep Moving Forward’ by Prof. dr Mirjam van Praag, president Executive Board Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Mirjam van Praag shared her impressive Commencement speech ‘Keep Moving Forward’ with secondary school students to celebrate their graduation in the SERVUS Masterclass “I Have a Dream’ 14 December 2020. The students participated in VU Pre-University College  and successfully completed assignments on themes such as gender stereotypes, black lives matter, corona and racism, and police violence in the USA.  Mirjam van Praag concluded her speech: “....Juist nu is sociaal ondernemend gedrag van eminent belang voor vrijwel iedereen. Wij zijn er trots op en blij met ónze medewerkers en studenten in deze bijzondere tijd. Moedig voorwaarts! Of, in Martin Luther King’s woorden: “You Have to Keep Moving Forward.”

See complete version of her commencement speech enclosed

Mirjam van Praag

SERVUS and Edu4u nominated for the European Mentoring Award 2020

The SERVUS Platform of Mentoring Communities, with case study of Edu4u, was nominated for the European Mentoring Award 2020. In september 2020 mentoring organizations worldwide could present their project to the Scientific Committee of the European Mentoring Summit. Finally, during the EMS 2020, 8 nominated organizations including SERVUS/Edu4u, were selected to pitch their mentoring projects in front of philanthropist companies and foundations. We congratulate the award winner, our partners from Campus Connections Aotearoa in New Zealand. 

European Mentoring Award 2020

Recent SERVUS actions

We would like to share an impression of recent SERVUS actions. Given the COVID-19 crisis and the impact for vulnerable groups in society, we developed 2 Online Mentoring Masterclasses (June and September) empowered by the Oranje Fonds. In between the 2 Masterclasses we presented our R&D mentoring results during a PDW panel discussion at the Academy of Management August 2020.  

Symposium 14 Oct 2016

Great BNR Podcast interview Ben Tiggelaar with Sylvia van de Bunt

Tune in Business News Radio, Wednesday 4 March 2020, 2 p.m.  Highlighted SERVUS actions:  servant-leadership, talent diversity, mentoring, cultural sustainability and cross-cultural awareness.

Click here for the podcast.

Trompenaars - Innovating in a Global Crisis

Season greeting

VU Pre-University College Masterclass ‘I Have a Dream’

The Autumn Masterclass series of 4 lectures ‘I Have a Dream’ was completed December 12th 2019 with a great lecture ‘Diversity and Social Justice’ by Kathleen Ferrier, SERVUS Associate. Next, student team-presentations covered societal issues such as modern slavery in prostitution,  women in politics, reconciliation newcomers and local citizens, influence parents on school choice children. Followed by a PUC certificate ceremony.  In this Masterclass, students explored how successful leaders are committed to both their organization and the sustainable society at large. In this Masterclass secondary school students examine social justice 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. Practice in a speech lab and workshops bring the learning to life. In 2020 we hope to serve the secondary school community with another 2 Masterclasses in Spring and Autumn 2020.

I have a dream

Mentoring in Cross Cultural Communities

Thursday 28th November 2019 the 2nd Masterclass ‘Mentoring in Cross Cultural Communities’ was organized. In tital 17 representatives of industry, NGO and academia gathered together to experience this 1-day journey. The participants all had one common characteristic, namely they serve a few hours per week being voluntary mentor for secondary school students in underpriviledged circumstances. The mentors are part of community projects in the region of Amsterdam, see earlier newsitem re SERVUS Platform of Communities. Guided by topspeakers Meindert Flikkema, Britt Bakker and Fons Trompenaars the mentors were inspired to bring their mentees to the next level in their study and furrther life.  Thanks to  the generous support of SBE and the Cloverleaf Foundation  SERVUS could realize this Masterclass. In 2020 we will develop a next Masterclass ‘Advanced Mentoring’.  Following a strong demand from the mentor-participants in our earlier Mentoring Masterclasses, this Advanced Mentoring Masterclass will offer Masterclass alumni an opportunity to make a next step in their professional and personal development.  Goal is to make the learnings from their first Masterclasses more sustainable.

Masterclass Mentoring CCCCloverleaf foundation


Kathleen Ferrier will chair the Dutch Unesco Commission

KathleenSERVUS Associate Kathleen Ferrier MSc is appointed chairwoman of the Dutch Unesco Commission as per 1 September 2019. Kathleen is SERVUS lecturer Diversity and Social Justice in our Masterclass ‘I Have a Dream’ and she is honorary visiting professor Human Rights at the Asian University for Women in Chittagong, Bangladesh.  

Kathleen’s mission stands in the human rights tradition of her father, the first President of Suriname Johan Ferrier and her sister Joan Ferrier. See Joan's speech ‘Servant-Leadership’ at SERVUS symposium 2012.


The aim of this Masterclass is to understand Chinese and more Western organizational cultures. In interactive sessions with renowned motivational speakers you will focus on cross-cultural trade issues, sharing insights crucial for business people working with Chinese counterparts. Book yourself in this Masterclass; don’t miss that train!

Flyer Masterclass


Winter Conference Amsterdam

The Winter Conference Amsterdam is a unique leadership course, co-organized by FOM University and SERVUS. This 1-week course will provide meaningful tools for personal growth and organizational development. Community learning and working with dilemmas will be a vital part of your international Workshop adventure. Location Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, 25th - 29th November 2019. We welcome Master students, postgraduates and executives. SERVUS is at your disposal for information: Registration by 15 August 2019. Click here for more information.

Application Form


FOM screenshot

This is a call for servant-leadership

To achieve your professional and personal leadership goals in today’s world, your ability and empathy to work in a multireligious and multicultural context is required. A unique leadership program called  Emoena will start October 28 2019. This program is designed for religious leaders and professionals who deal with religious diversity. Dedicated lecturers will coach you to become a better leader within your company or your community. You will increase your knowledge about rituals, traditions and scriptures. You will learn how to deal with religious pluralism, radicalization and de-escalation. Meanwhile you will build friendships across traditions. Explore and register on Note that this program will be in Dutch. Britt Bakker, SERVUS research assistant is member of the Emoena organizing team. 

Flyer Emoena


Fons Trompenaars at the Gartner CIO Leadership Forum 2019

Fons Trompenaars, was keynote speaker at the Gartner CIO Leadership Forum 2019, 4-6 March 2019 in London UK.  Through his 7-Dimensions of Cultures model he demonstrated how managing complexity in a heterogeneous environment is a major challenge for today's leaders. Reconciling cultural differences is a critical component of sustainable success. Following his keynote, Fons was interviewed on how to make your company really agile and innovative.

Fons Trompenaars at the Gartner CIO Leadership Forum 2019

Autum 2019 - Masterclass 'Cultural Sustainability'

The Masterclass 'Culturele Duurzaamheid: van statushouder naar talent' will address good practice cases to nurture career development of refugees and includes a workshop cross-cultural awareness. Delegates: This Masterclass is dedicated to couples of local job consultants and one of their refugee clients. Due to the interactive character of this Masterclass a limited number of 8 couples (total of 16 delegates) can apply via This Masterclass is in Dutch. Date t.b.a.

Flyer Masterclass Culturele Duurzaamheid 24 mei (Dutch)

Sherazade Thesis Award 2018 for SERVUS colleague Britt Bakker

One bed two beliefs

The Sherazade Thesis Award is a prize for the best Bachelor or Master thesis in the field of interculturalization, diversity and the multicultural society. Britt Bakker received this prize 26 September 2018 at Utrecht University for her VU Master thesis ‘One Bed Two Beliefs’ – Societal Influences in Everyday life of Muslim-(post)Christian couples in the Netherlands. She wrote her MA thesis in Theology and Religious Studies, within the VU specific Peace Trauma and Religion track. After her VU graduation, she was offered a Scholarship for Professional Doctorate in Interfaith Studies, and currently undertakes follow-up doctorate research at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in the UK. Britt has been working with SERVUS for the last 2,5 years. She is a regular speaker at SERVUS events.

“My SERVUS work made me more aware of the need to study lived religion of interfaith couples. As microcosms of society, these interfaith couples deserve more scholarly attention. Couples who live ‘the interfaith life’ every day, can give us more insights in how to deal with today’s societal challenges of interfaith and intercultural co-existence. The academic experience of doing my current Doctorate research is a next stepping stone in continuing my SERVUS work, a research centre where cross-cultural dilemma reconciliation by Fons Trompenaars is key. SERVUS therefore is a fruitful interfaith and intercultural hub in a very practical sense!” (Britt Bakker)

Kalin Anev Janse EU reconciliation expert in Greece crisis

Kalin Anev Janse

Early August 2018 the financial crisis resolution with Greece was successfully completed. The European Stability Mechanism (ESM) disbursed € 15 billion of ESM financial assistance for Greece on 6 August 2018. This is the final loan tranche after eight years of Greece financing needs through the ESM and the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) of in total € 204 billion.

SERVUS graduate Kalin Anev Janse happened to become a servant-leader in the crisis resolution process of Greece in his capacity of member of the Management Board and Secretary General of the ESM and EFSF, responsible for Funding, Asset Liability Management and Lending. During the last eight years, Kalin and his ESM team in Luxembourg have supported the Greek people in their reforms in the field of tax policy, public revenue reforms. The ESM was able to reconcile not only a severe financial crisis in Greece, but also reached sustainable inclusiveness of one of the suffering EU member states. Greece is an EU member state since 1981. Greece’s rich cultural and philosophical history impacted European societies greatly over the last millenium. After an intense period of negotiations and empowerment by ESM, Greece is committed to become a robust economy and job market.

Kalin Anev Janse previously worked for the European Investment Bank, where one of his tasks was to coordinate setting up the EFSF. Prior to this, he worked as a Corporate Finance and Strategy Consultant for McKinsey & Company in the Netherlands. He has also worked in Investment Banking at JPMorgan in London, and in corporate governance and project finance for Honeywell Spain in Madrid. Kalin Anev Janse did his MSc in Business Administration in Strategic Management at the Rotterdam School of Management and Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania. For his undergraduate degree, he studied Business Administration in Finance, Banking and Insurance at the Vrije University Amsterdam, supervised by SERVUS co-director Sylvia van de Bunt. During his career, he attended executive education programmes at Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School. He is a young global leader of the World Economic Forum. During his studies at VU Amsterdam, Kalin published on the issue of culture and technology, highly relevant for servant-leaders. He is co-author of the book Word Wide Work, filtering of online content in a globalized world, 2006, van de Bunt-Kokhuis (editor), VU University Press Amsterdam, and co-authored in Stanford’s Tomorrow’s Professor (2005).

See also Kalin's recent World Economic Forum publications.

Other relevant links

Kalin Anev Janse - European Stability Mechanism
Kalin was featured in the NOS Dutch public news programme of Monday 6 August 2018

Eliasson Global Leadership Price

The Tällberg Foundation (, launched in 1981, exists to provoke action-based thinking about the issues that are challenging the evolution of  humanity and liberal democracies. 
Their actions focus on three processes:

•   re-injecting ethics into leadership

•   managing, instead of being managed, by disruptive technologies, climate change and other exogenous forces

•   re-establishing the legitimacy of governance 

SERVUS associate Tom Cummings is member of the Board of Directors of the Tällberg Foundation. The nomination process for the annual Eliasson Global Leadership Prize of the Tällberg Foundation is now open.  Would you like to nominate someone for 2018? Have a look at each of the separate videos to hear the voices of the laureates  over the last several years.

SERVUS associate mrs. Wenjia Chang promotes Sino-Dutch HR integration solutions at Netherlands Economic Mission to China

The Handelsmissies met Ministers (RVO) have received fruitful outcome 8-13 April 2018 in China with 3 Ministers, State Secretaries, 165 companies and institutions.

MAX HRM have joined the mission, with the strong promotion of H.E.Mr.Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands. MAX HRM started her new chapter in cross-board HR integration solutions between Netherlands and China.

The general manager of MAX HRM, Wenjia Chang, graduated from the MSc. Business administration (MSc thesis SERVUS) and currently following the PhD program of Amsterdam business research institute, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam on the research topic of cross - culture HR integration after M&As.” Mid 2018 a chapter will be published in a Springer book on Sino-Dutch HR integration, by Wenjia Chang and Sylvia van de Bunt.

NL China Mission 1        

NL China Mission 2

How Young Professionals can develop themselves into the Servant-Leaders of the future

In January 2018 Rainier Kruisheer of Skyscrapers (, a talent incubator for young professionals, organized a double-interview with the SERVUS coordinators Sylvia van de Bunt and Fons Trompenaars. See Rainier’s blog:

Part 1:

Part 2:

The interview is in Dutch. The English translation you find here.

Fons Trompe­naars in­ducted into the Thinker­s50 Hall of Fame

Fons Trompenaars ProfielfotoThinkers50, the premier ranking of global business thinkers, has announced its 2017 list and Fons Trompenaars, co-author with Charles Hampden-Turner of recently published Nine Visions of Capitalism (Infinite Ideas, 2015), has been elevated to the pantheon of management thinkers who have made a contribution over an extended period of time to the Thinkers50 Hall of Fame.

The Thinker­s50 rank­ing, often de­scribed as the Os­cars of man­age­ment think­ing, is a “cel­e­bra­tion of the very best new man­age­ment think­ing as well as those ideas which stand the test of time,” ac­cord­ing to Des Dearlove, who cre­ated Thinker­s50 with Stu­art Crainer in 2001. “We are look­ing for ideas with a po­ten­tial im­pact that ex­tends be­yond the busi­ness world to ad­dress is­sues rang­ing from re­duc­ing poverty to build­ing a sus­tain­able model of cap­i­tal­ism.” 

Fons Trompe­naars, a per­ma­nent fix­ture in the pres­ti­gious global rank­ing since its in­cep­tion in 2001, said “It’s an enor­mous ho­n­our to be in­cluded in the Thinker­s50 Hall of Fame means a great deal to me and my team – I could not have done this with­out Charles Ham­p­den-Turner and Peter Wool­liams, my es­teemed col­leagues and my net­work – a big thank you to them. Thinker­s50 makes a real dif­fer­ence in the world of con­sult­ing. I am ex­pect­ing that busi­ness thinkers will in­creas­ingly dig­i­tize their ideas as games, apps and e-learn­ing and we will be at the fore­front of that move­ment. It will be in­ter­est­ing to see what im­pact dig­i­ti­za­tion has on Thinker­s50 2019.  It al­ways has been one of the high­lights in my two year sched­ules thanks to Des and Stu­art. To be now part of the Hall of Fame is such a hon­or­able dis­tinc­tion for me that I will use with pride. You can­not imag­ine how happy I am with that ac­co­lade”

About Thinker­s50
Thinker­s50 scans, ranks and shares the very best in man­age­ment ideas. Its de­fin­i­tive global rank­ing of man­age­ment thinkers is pub­lished every two years.

About Fons Trompe­naars
Fons Trompe­naars is an or­ga­ni­za­tional the­o­rist, man­age­ment con­sul­tant and best­selling au­thor known glob­ally for the de­vel­op­ment of the Trompe­naars’ model of na­tional cul­ture dif­fer­ences. He was awarded the In­ter­na­tional Pro­fes­sional Prac­tice Area Re­search Award by the Amer­i­can So­ci­ety for Train­ing and De­vel­op­ment and Busi­ness mag­a­zine ranked him as one of the world’s top five man­age­ment con­sul­tants. He is the au­thor and co-au­thor of nu­mer­ous books in­clud­ing Rid­ing the Waves of Cul­ture now in its third edi­tion, 100+ Man­age­ment Mod­els and Nine Vi­sions of Cap­i­tal­ism: Un­lock­ing the Mean­ings of Wealth Cre­ation. He has also launched the Cul­ture for Busi­ness app amongst oth­ers. Fons Trompe­naars is Pro­fes­sor Cross-Cul­tural Man­age­ment at the School of Busi­ness and Eco­nom­ics at Vrije Uni­ver­siteit Am­s­ter­dam (VU) and Co-di­rec­tor of the Ser­vant-Lead­er­ship Cen­tre for Re­search and Ed­u­ca­tion SERVUS at VU.

David Weir appointed Professor of Intercultural Management

Professor David Weir is appointed Professor of Intercultural Management at York St John Business School. He is Professor Emeritus of Northumbria University, Partner at Fourth Paradigm Consulting and chairman of the Editorial Advisory Board of Cambridge Scholars. His inaugural lecture is Thursday 1 December 2016, Title: A New agenda for Management: The role of professional managers for community growth and enrichment
This Inaugural lecture will ask questions about where 'management' has come from, what is its impact on society and why we need a new role for professional managers in global society as well as for York and therefore there is a need for new expectations of how business schools and universities can respond to these demands.

Award for SLRP Alumnus Ronald Hoenen

Ronald Hoenen is winner of the Plant Manager of the Year 2015 Award.

The annual election of the Plant Manager of the Year is organised since 2008 and is an initiative of the Petrochem Platform and the Association of the Dutch Chemical Industry (VNCI), in collaboration with Deltalinqs and the Port of Rotterdam, and since last year also Votob (tank storage). Not only candidates of chemistry and storage, but also other industrial sectors are involved in the election such as the refining, the oil and gas, and paper and food sectors. The election contributes to a positive image of the Dutch process industry through honoring the great performance of plant managers. Key performance indicators are safety, health, environment, productivity, efficiency and sustainability. To highlight this, interviews with the nominees and the Award winner are published in Petrochem and Chemie Magazine. A professional jury assess the candidates on their social commitment, leadership and communication skills.

Ronald ran a Masterclass on Servant-Leadership during the next DeltaVisie conference for the Petrochemical industry in Rotterdam on Thursday June 16th 2016.

Ronald Hoenen argues that employees need direction, not just to have a common goal, but also to sharpen their own contribution to this common goal. Guidance and nurturing by a servant-leader enables employees to excel, provided that they have sufficient space for personal and professional development. With space Ronald means: taking responsibility, freedom of action to be empowered. Though some control is necessary, most people will not be to happy with it. However, a workplace becomes more fun when some control is combined with creating enough space. Trust and confidence of their servant-leader is key, actually already before the employee deserves it. It’s great to see people’s growth when they get confidence of their leader. Subsequently employees dare and have courage to show ownership and entrepreneurship. Employees deserve openness of information. Transparency is essential for employees to give insight and context. This enables them to make the right decisions.

Ronald Hoenen is Alumnus of the Servant-Leadership Research Programme 2014-2015. He is a true role model for future Servant-Leaders.

Capacity building in Oman: Exploring a possible partnership between the A’Sharqiyah University and VU Amsterdam

In February 2016, Emiel Eijdenberg took the initiating role to represent a joint-project of the departments SERVUS, VU International Office, and ACE @ VU to explore the partnership possibilities between VU Amsterdam and A’Sharqiyah University (ASU) in Ibra, Oman. This initiative originated from the collaborative work of Prof. Nabil Sultan, Visiting Professor at SERVUS, and Dean of the Faculty of Economics at ASU. Emiel is an ACE researcher in the final stage of his PhD, and he has extensive experience in non-Western, ‘non-traditional’ countries (such as Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania) in terms of research, teaching and capacity building. Emiel will defend his PhD thesis in Spring 2016. During this ‘fact-finding mission’ to Oman, Emiel explored the possibilities for joint-research projects on logistics and entrepreneurship, for example co-authoring and the opportunity to collect data; the possibilities for exchanging and recruiting students from Oman, and the wider Middle East region, and the Netherlands; and the possibilities to expand the presence of the VU in, and beyond, Oman. Till date, the Middle East region, while having an increasingly large research and education potential, has remained relatively beyond the radar of the VU. During Emiel’s visit in Oman, he organized research seminars, and he run an entrepreneurship course to students and staff from the ASU.

For more information, please contact Emiel ( or SERVUS.

Older updates from the Network

SLRP Core School member dr Milton Sousa
As of July 2015 dr Milton Sousa has been appointed Associate Professor at Nova SBE, School of Business & Economics in Portugal. He will continue working with Rotterdam School of Management and SLRP, but will now be based in Lisbon.

VU Visiting Professorship – Prof. dr Nabil Sultan
From 2013 onwards Prof. dr. Nabil Sultan is Visiting Professor at SERVUS. He is recently appointed Dean of the College of Business Administration, A’Sharqiyah University, Ibra in Oman, and is former Head of Suffolk Business School in UK. He is a regular speaker at SERVUS symposia, and his most recent keynote was at the SL symposium 4 May 2015 entitled “Beating the odds: A story of pain and success from the land of Sheba”.

Dr Dirk van Dierendonck appointed endowed Professor of Human Resource Management
Dr Dirk van Dierendonck,  has been appointed endowed Professor of Human Resource Management, a new academic chair created on 1 March 2015 at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). The chair is endowed by the Erasmus Trust Fund.

Professor Dirk van Dierendonck is Associate Editor of the International Journal of Servant Leadership.