For some years now, Hasselt University has organised a number of awareness initiatives which involve speakers, experts, organisations and NGOs from the North and South being invited to highlight contemporary development issues.
Elective course North-South
One of these awareness-raising initiatives is the interdisciplinary elective course North-South (1955), in which speakers from the North and the South are invited to take an indepth look at certain development issues. This optional course is part of a series of interactive and educational events that provide an opportunity for critical thinking about development cooperation. Both the lectures/debates and the actions are open to all students and anyone who is interested.
Initially, the optional course was part of an awareness-raising cycle that started in the academic year 2005-2006, entitled Development Cooperation: Unknown? Unloved?, financed by Hasselt University and supported by VLIR-UOS. In 2006-2007, the title Develompent Cooperation: multidisciplinary aspects was chosen and the initiative became co-funded by VLIR-UOS. Various lectures and debates were organised by different faculties, touching on a range of diverse topics. The following year, in 2007-2008, it was decided that the lectures and debates under the tittle Traffic & health: essential issues in development should be organised by two interdisciplinary institutes. The focus was on traffic safety and health, with a special interest in sub-topics such as governmental approach, labour and the millennium development goals.
Starting in academic year 2008-2009, the lectures and debates relating do development were offered as an optional interdisciplinary course, and were now organised in the framework of policy-related and family issues in the South. In this way, Hasselt University acted on its goal/ambition of giving students a broad education. The speakers came from the different disciplines that have been taught at Hasselt University so far: Science & IT, Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Economics, Social Sciences, Transportation Sciences and Law.
The lectures of the 2009-2010 academic year, Pro- & Re-activity in the South, were intended to give a rigorous, interdisciplinary theoretical and applied training in sustainable development. The objective was to promote in-depth scientific debate about cultures, their knowledge systems and different ethical orientations. The positive feedback from students about the optional course North-South: Crossing Borders in 2010-2011 led in the following two academic years to optional course North-South: an interdisciplinary exploration, in which increased attention was given to integrating basic concepts about North-South relations at the beginning of the course. In 2013-2014, the focus was on India as a developing country, as a framework for the lectures. In the lectures of 2014-2015 the elective course was titled 2015 European Year of Development which focussed on the contemporary and future challenges regarding development cooperation. The subjects were amongst other things HIV, Fair Trade, locally embedded human rights laws, and sustainable urban development. A Wold in Transition, an approach that was followed in 2015-2016, offered through multidisciplinary lectures a diversity of contemporary matters and paradigms that people encounter in the field of development cooperation.
More information about the elective course, its content, dates and registration can be found here.
Refugee crisis: UHasselt in action!
We currently find ourselves in the midst of the largest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War, and Hasselt University wants to actively organise and support initiatives to help! A new web page has been launched to report on activities organised and supported by Hasselt University. This autumn/winter, an awareness initiative will be organised to put the focus on this crisis. In particular, the focus will be on the link between social protection and refugees. A national action by 11.11.11, the charity, has recently been launched and Hasselt University would like to open this debate. More information will follow soon.
At the request of African students who experienced difficulties in meeting and getting to know other students, we organised the first World Evening in 2005. This was an evening of friendship and the initiative was so successful that the Africa Night grew into an annual World Evening. During this night, foreign students get the chance to present their culture through workshops, food stands, music and dance.
This academic year (2015 - 2016), the World Evening will be organised on Wednesday 16 March 2016 in Diepenbeek. More information can be found here.
Millennium Development Goals & Sustainable Development Goals
Since 2005 - 2006, extra attention has been paid to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in close cooperation with 11.11.11. Limburg. The light-hearted, interactive and educational activities are framed within long-term projects. During this academic year's (2014 - 2015) annual elective course North - South, extra attention will be paid to 2015 as the final year of the Millennium Development Goals. In the introductory class Prof. Dr. Robrecht Renard (University of Antwerp) will evaluate the MDGs and give his vision on the post 2015 strategy.
More information about the elective course, contents, dates and registration can be found here.
Week of Fair Trade 2015
From 7 until 17 October 2015 it was the annual Week of Fair Trade and also University Hasselt participated actively. In the World Village at campus Diepenbeek you could buy local and 'fair' products, during the movie night you were offered an insight on the Ethiopian coffee industry and you were treated on a delicious coffee ceremony. The programme also entailed a (fair trade) breakfast and a quiz. Furthermore, Federal Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo went into a debate with Bogdan Vanden Berghe (11.11.11), Nadia Molenaers (Professor Development policy of UA) and Jan Vandemoortele (previous UN-member and co-founder of the MDG's)
Hasselt University means it!
In addition, Hasselt University was declared sold in 2006. Obtaining this title was not seen as an end point, but rather as a new beginning and as leverage to achieve new commitments in the field of sustainable production and consumption. This campaign ended in 2007. In that year Max Havelaar, Oxfam Worldshops, 11.11.11. and Peace Islands decided to further develop the concept together with 'FairTradeGemeente'. This is how Hasselt University got the label Hasselt University means it! and it continues to commit to fair trade.
On Wednesday 6 May 2015, Hasselt University participated in International Fair Trade Day. At the Agora in Diepenbeek, free fair trade coffee and tea was offered to people who passed by and there was also an opportunity for them to buy Oxfam fair trade products.
Given that fair trade is one of the Millennium Development Goals and that Hasselt University has committed itself to Action2015, a global initiative to urge political actors around the world to make the right decisions, we have again tried our best to promote the MDGs and SDGs. This action was supported by the Vice Rectors, Deans, and the members of staff who mustered the courage to pose in front of the camera with an Action2015 tattoo.