Opening Academic Year 2020/21

The motto 'On campus where you can, online where you have to' applies not only to education at Maastricht University (UM) next year, but also to the opening of the Academic Year 2020/21. 

On Monday 31 August, UM President Martin Paul led a special 'coronavirus-proof' version of the annual event in front of a few invited guests. A much larger audience followed the proceedings online, via a special livestream on the UM’s YouTube channel.

This year’s theme was ‘After the storm - how corona could change universities’ and the keynote speaker was Harvard professor Eric Mazur.


Word of welcome by UM President prof. dr. Martin Paul

The President of the UM Executive Board, Martin Paul, welcomed the audience and highlighted the ways in which UM is arming itself and has armed itself against the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. ‘We are all in the same boat', he said, summarising the situation.

  Watch the opening video of the event.

Keynote speech by Harvard professor Eric Mazur

Professor Eric Mazur explained how his view of education had changed during the course of his career, resulting in a vision of education that inspires and nurtures students even in times of coronavirus.

At the end of his presentation, he responded to a few questions from the audience in an online Q&A moderated by Martin Paul.

  Watch the Eric Mazur introduction video.

UM Student Award 2020

This year's UM Student Award for outstanding social or cultural achievements was handed out to Arthur Bribosia, the founder and developer of Maastricht for Climate.

The five nominees were presented in a video introduced by rector Rianne Letschert, who announced the winner in a pre-recorded Zoom session.

  Watch Arthur's statement recorded after the live award ceremony.

Closing and Ode to Joy

True to tradition, students of the Conservatorium Maastricht and the UM Orchestra wrapped up the ceremony with their version of Ludwig von Beethoven's Ode to Joy, performed in a creative, digital way, after which Martin Paul officially opened the academic year 2020/2021.

  Watch the musical interlude and the closing speech by Martin Paul.