Message from our Chair on behalf of the Board


Dear Ivy Circle Members, Partners and Friends,

As the world continues to be plagued by the triple threat of COVID, conflict, and climate crises, there have nonetheless been signs of hope, hints of normalcy, and a sense of purpose keeping everyone going. Resilience seems to be this year’s theme! However ‘remote’ most of our time together has been this year, traditions do continue. Below please find holiday greetings, highlights, and continuing appreciation on behalf of the Ivy Circle.

The Ivy Circle, members, and partners have remained active throughout 2021 despite the obvious challenges, and we’re grateful to everyone who made things happen and to those who took part.

The Education Fairs continued to be held virtually this fall. Our 15th annual – and second virtual – Amsterdam MBA Fair was held on September 16th. Candidate registrations this year (97) were slightly higher than last year (93), with a comparable number of attendees (55). However, registrations and attendance for the 2 virtual fairs have been lower than the preceding physical edition (137 registrations, 91 attendees), with a high number of candidates from outside the Netherlands. Candidates in the Netherlands clearly prefer a physical fair format, and who can blame them? The undergraduate University Fair “changed hands” this past year. The newly named Benelux College Fair is now run by Fulbright/Education USA.

We congratulate Fulbright on celebrating its 75th year of impact. And congratulations to this year’s Ivy Circle-Fulbright grantees!: Georgina Booth (Columbia, MA in American Studies) for the graduate grant and Carolina Escribano Cáceres (Dartmouth, Econ) and Isabelle Stad (UC San Diego, CompSci & Econ) sharing the Ivy Circle Fulbright Undergraduate grant. Lastly, we are also delighted to welcome recent IC Fulbright grantee Aydan Figaroa (LLM, Yale) to the Ivy Circle Board.

As for events, the event themes themselves paint a telling picture of the state of the world in 2021. Highlights included thought-provoking discussions on e.g.: ‘How to Design for an Uncertain World’ (Harvard), ‘Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire’ (John Adams Institute with HBS Professor), ‘How to Deal with Russia’ (Johns Hopkins SAIS), ‘Challenging Corona’ (John Adams Institute with Dr. Anthony Fauci), ‘The Price of the Speedy Withdrawal from Afghanistan’ (Johns Hopkins SAIS, with former Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders), and ‘Leading Deliberately: Rethinking Leadership and Innovation’ (Ivy Circle and Brown, with Inc/Fast Company CEO Eric Schurenberg). We were also lucky to have several valuable discussions with our friends at the US Embassy and Consulate General, ranging from the practicalities of travel to the US during the travel ban to an open roundtable discussion with Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Jennifer DeWitt Walsh and Public Affairs Officer Omar Cardenty.

Our cooperation with the US Diplomatic Mission will continue, as we join forces on our new parallel initiatives: The Ivy Circle’s upcoming launch of a Civility Panel together with the US Mission’s efforts focused on civil discourse and skill-building. Both initiatives are designed to take an unflinching and apolitical look at race-related and other sensitive topics as well as to create a safe, inspiring space for dialogue and learning. Details on format, timing, and speakers will be forthcoming.

For a full overview of activities please keep an eye on the monthly IC newsletters, the IC website and Facebook/LinkedIn accounts. Importantly, we’d love to hear and help spread your news, as well, so please keep sharing! Likewise, if you are interested in getting more involved. This contact is especially important in the absence of physical gatherings.

Finally, we have a few Board transitions and additions to report. The Ivy Circle Board welcomes Anthonie Zoomers (Chicago Booth) as new Board Secretary, replacing Johan van Rijn (Yale) as he transitions to his new job in Belgium. Klaus Harm (Chicago Booth) and Flor Macías Delgado (Penn) will be taking on the Communications role from Alexandra Sasha Perepelova (Cornell). Aydan Figaroa (Yale) will join Rebecca Anderson (Kellogg) as Events Coordinator. We thank Johan and Alexandra for their excellent contributions and hope to welcome them back at some point. They will be missed!

On behalf of the Ivy Circle Board, I wish you all a sparkling, safely festive holiday season. Let this New Year be a healthy one – with peace, progress, and prosperity for all.

Looking forward to seeing you in a better 2022,

Hollis Kurman, Chairperson, Ivy Circle Netherlands