Webster Leiden Campus Celebrated a Big Milestone

Jean Paul Van Marissing

The Event Commemorated Four Decades!

Jean Paul Van Marissing

The exciting weekend kicked off with commencement ceremonies on Saturday, followed by the academic conference on Monday, culminating with drinks and dinner that evening. 

It was a lot happening in one weekend!

Prof. Dr. Jean Paul Van Marissing
Campus Director

Academic Conference - Central Theme:

Monday, May 22, 2023
Time: 2-5 p.m.

Location: Stadsgehoorzaal, Breestraat 60, 2311 CS Leiden, The Netherlands


1:30-2 p.m. Registration and coffee

2-2:10 p.m.Welcome by Prof. Dr. Jean Paul van Marissing, Director, Webster Leiden Campus

2:10-2:20 p.m. Welcome by the Mayor of the City of Leiden, Drs. Henri Lenferink (TBC)

2:20-2:45 p.m. Opening Remarks and Address by Dr. Beth Stroble, Chancellor of Webster University

2:45-3 p.m. Break

3-4:45 p.m. Speeches from Panel Guests: various experts on topics

                              Panel discussion/Audience Q&A

4:45-5 p.m. Closing Remarks by Dr. Sheetal Shah, Academic Director, Webster Leiden Campus


Event: Celebrating 40 years: reception and dinner with Webster Community

Time: 5:30-8 p.m.

Location: Webster Leiden Campus

Sub-Theme One

Human Rights for All: Working Towards Real Inclusive Democracy

  • The human rights partnership between the United States and the Netherlands
  • Inclusivity and human rights: a personal story
  • Reckoning with the history and legacy of the transatlantic slave trade
  • Women’s rights and U.S. foreign policy
H.E. Shefali Razdan Duggal

Speaker: H.E. Shefali Razdan Duggal

H.E. Shefali Razdan Duggal

Ambassador of the United States of America to the Netherlands


Sub-Theme Two

Doing Business in a Changing, Globalized World

  • End of 1980s, beginning of 1990: Globalization becomes a buzz word, eventually leading to new business models on a global scale. Focus on free-trade agreements and liberalizing national markets.
  • Beginning of 2000: Anti-globalization movement becomes stronger. Nationalism (traditional values, cultural identity) versus globalization.
  • 2020-2022: Impact of COVID-19 pandemic. Dependency and vulnerability of global supply chain becomes visible. Is the pendulum shifting toward nearness/proximity (i.e., production facilities and subcontracting)? Is this the beginning of the end of globalization? How deeply rooted is the concept of global citizenship and global education?
Israel Louis Ismail

Speaker: Israel Louis Ismail

Israel Louis Ismail

Senior Vice President and Head of Legal Services of Signify N.V.

Find Out More About Israel Louis Ismail

Israel Louis Ismail is an international lawyer who is currently the Senior Vice President and Head of Legal Services of Signify N.V. (formerly known as Philips Lighting), the biggest lighting company in the world and listed on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. Ismail also oversees the AI task force in Signify and leads the digital transformation taking place in the global legal function.

A Singapore national, he graduated from the Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore in 1997, and was thereafter admitted to the Supreme Court as an Advocate and Solicitor. He started his legal career at one of the biggest law firms in Singapore in the International Finance department. He subsequently practiced Civil and Criminal litigation, focusing on white collar crime. In 2000, he argued a landmark case before the Chief Justice of Singapore in the Court of Criminal Appeal for a client charged under the Computer Misuse Act.

In 2001, Ismail joined the Royal Philips Group in the Singapore office as Legal Counsel, and within the next few years was promoted to Vice President and Head of Legal (Asia Pacific).

In 2015, he relocated to Dubai, UAE, to set up and lead the legal function for the newly incorporated Signify Group of companies as part of the Executive Management team. He was responsible for over 45 countries spanning the Middle East and Turkey, Russia and Central Asia, Africa, India Subcontinent and Asia Pacific.

Ismail spent 2.5 years in full-time military service in the Republic of Singapore Air Force and thereafter as a reservist in the military until the age of 40. He was actively involved in sports and community work in Singapore. He was an Executive Committee member of the Singapore Squash Racquets Association and was a squash player himself at the national youth level. He also founded F-17, one of the largest football academies in Singapore, which became the first Asian youth football team to emerge top four in the Gothia World Cup in Sweden.

He was a member of the Youth Wing of the ruling political party in Singapore. In 2003, he was appointed by Member of Parliament to write parliamentary speeches. He was then selected to be part of the Remaking of Singapore (Education) Committee in 2004, where he was a key contributor to re-shape the nation’s education policy. Ismail has been invited to speak in several conferences in Asia and more recently, as a panel speaker among the European lawyers group led by the international law firm Norton Rose. He is also a guest lecturer at VU University for its Master’s program.

Ismail is married with three children, and lives in Amsterdam with his family.


Sub-Theme Three

Entering a New Era or the Beginning of a New Cold War?

  • During the 1980s, global politics was dominated by the Cold War with only two sides: the free world versus communism. In 1989, the Berlin Wall came down. As a U.S. student from Webster Leiden campus expresses, “It was spectacular to be in the EU at that time.” This was followed by disintegration of the former Soviet Union, with the USA remaining as the only world power.
David Solomania

Speaker: H.E. David Solomania

David Solomania

Ambassador of Georgia to the Netherlands

Find Out More About David Solomania

Date, Place of Birth: 23 November 1973, Tbilisi
Marital Status: Married
1990-1995 Georgian Technical University (Tbilisi, Georgia) Department of Economics and Management in Mining - Bachelor's Degree
1998 Clingendael Institute of International Relations, the Hague, the Netherlands
Professional Experience:
1995-1996 Attache, Regional and Multilateral Economic Relations Division, International Relations Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
1996-1997 Second Secretary, Regional and Multilateral Economic Relations Division, International Relations Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
1997-1998 First Secretary, Embassy of Georgia in Rome, Italy
1998-1999 Head, Bilateral Economic Relations Division (EU, USA, Canada), International Relations Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
1999 - 2003 First Secretary, Embassy of Georgia in Athens, Greece
2003 Deputy Director, EU Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
2003-2005 Head, Private office of the Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
2006 Director, EU Integration Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
2006-2010 Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Georgia in Brussels, Belgium
2010 Head, Analytical Division, Consular Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
2010-2013 Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Georgia in Brussels, Belgium
2014-2017 Director, EU Integration Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
2017-2021 Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Georgia to the Federative Republic of Brazil
2021-present Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Georgia to the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Diplomatic Rank: Ambassador Extraordinary Plenipotentiary
Languages: English, French, Russian, Portuguese



Sub-Theme Four

Dealing with Adversity in a Digitalized World

  • During the 1980s, counseling was neglected and studying counseling discouraged (fastest way to unemployment). Today, worldwide, clinical psychology is one of the most popular studies. Why?
  • The last four decades (1983-2023) saw major changes in society. Compared to the 80s, nowadays there is less collectivism and sense of community. Much more focus on individualism. What is the right balance?
  • Digitalization, smart phones and social media networks have changed our daily lives. Living in an interconnected world requires new and different communication skills. Digitalization and interconnectivity, a blessing for most people. But for others - a curse, leading to feelings of exclusion and mental health problems. How to recover and be resilient?
  • Nonviolent communication and its implications in a digitized world.
Julie Sharon-Wagschal

Speaker: Julie Sharon-Wagschal

Julie Sharon-Wagschal

Alumna and Psychologist


Moderator — Diplomacy Professor Marije Balt

The event will be moderated by Professor Marije Balt, Foreign Policy Advisor, who works with the Advisory Council on International Affairs at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

She is a former diplomat with 25 years experience working in and with fragile regions in the Balkans and Africa, and was posted at the Dutch embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. She worked outside government for eight years and ran research consultancy SpringFactor, working with governments, companies, universities, the UN, the EU and NGOs. She also worked as a lecturer and taught over 30 international relations courses to bachelor’s and master's students. She is currently pursuing her PhD and focuses on EU migration diplomacy.

Marije Balt

Webster Leiden Alumni Affairs

The aim of the Alumni Affairs office is to continue to assist our alumni community by offering benefits and opportunities to help them grow and develop. We also want to foster a relationship with our alumni so that we can give visibility to accomplishments and achievements within the Webster community. In addition to this, we hope that alumni can articulate the mission and the needs of the University to others. The local Alumni Chapter is a great way to stay in contact with your classmates or alumni from around the world.

Leiden alumni have access to Webster’s worldwide network of alumni through the Alumni Online Community. Alumni can reconnect with former classmates, find fellow alumni in a particular field, and post their own personal and professional accomplishments.

Discover More Reasons to Join the Chapter

  • Connect to a network of nearly 200,000 Webster alumni worldwide.
  • Make use of the Webster University’s Career Planning and Development services.
  • Gain access to Webster.Careers: a career development resource website for alumni.
  • Obtain The Economist magazine subscription discounts.
  • Alumni Audit for Enrichment Program Conditions for the audit program:
    • Audit students include alumni taking a course for self-learning. No academic credit is awarded. Continuing students cannot audit courses.
    • Alumni may audit one on-campus course per academic year.
    • Alumni may audit courses within the field of their previous study.
    • Requests must be sent to the Alumni Office at alumni@webster.nl.
    • The Alumni audit course fee is 100 euros, books excluded, non-refundable.
    • Books are not required. However, if desired, they can be ordered through our librarian.
    • The Business office sends an invoice and when paid, the student is registered. Payment is due before the start of the term/semester.
    • No assessment, grading or certificate. An auditor is considered a passive learner. He or she may participate in class discussions, but may not do any exams or written assignments.
    • Audited courses will appear as "AU" on a transcript.
    • Confirmation of auditing a course takes place after the end of the registration period. Registration lasts for four weeks.
    • An auditor may register for a course until two weeks before the classes start.
    • An auditor may register for a course provided that space is available.

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The Leiden Alumni Chapter

Webster Leiden Alumni Affairs office supports the Webster Leiden Alumni Chapter, which was established in 1986. The chapter is organized by a group of highly involved alumni. Along with the Webster Leiden Alumni Affairs office, they seek to help alumni worldwide to stay in touch with each other, to provide alumni with professional and social networking opportunities, to bring alumni together with current students and faculty, and to coordinate initiatives for personal and professional development.

Board members:

  • Sebastiaan Ruijgrok, MBA 2016
  • Niels Zonneveld, MBA 2016
  • Frans van den Bliek, MBA 2017

If you are interested in joining us for any activities or supporting us at an event, please contact our Alumni Affairs office:

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