Today was the official opening of the Langezijds building by outgoing Minister Schreinemacher and her entourage. Her dedication to international development cooperation sets a perfect stage for ITC and Langezijds' future successes. Keynote speaker Gerard van der Steenhoven led an engaging keynote called ‘Towards a climate neutral society: challenges in science and policy making’. Alumna Dita Anggraeni, now a graphic designer at the United Nations OCHA, hosted the second keynote about bringing humanitarians together to effectively respond to emergencies. There was a ITC (food) festival in the evening.
With various ITC showcases from staff and students the Minister and her entourage were updated about the things going on at the ITC faculty and the UT. This was about spatial planning in Africa, entrepreneurship and alumni, the new platform called Geoversity and the ITC partnership approach, Geo-Health, affordable and clean energy and rare earth materials.
"As with oil, the Netherlands should also establish a strategic stockpile of critical raw materials." Outgoing minister Liesje Schreinemacher (Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation) pleaded for this during the Langezijds opening today. "The Netherlands is very dependent on these sometimes rare raw materials (such as lithium, cobalt and neodymium) for things like electric cars, wind turbines and solar panels", the minister said. "If supplies of these stall, our economy will be in trouble within weeks and sometimes even days", Schreinemacher said.
"On top of that, much of the raw materials are owned by China. And that country recently restricted exports of certain raw materials again. This dependence makes the Netherlands vulnerable", the minister believes. "While the demand for these materials will only increase in the coming years." In the current unstable world, she says, it cannot be ruled out that critical raw materials will be used more often as a means of pressure. "Therefore, we need to stockpile critical raw materials so that we can absorb shocks in the supply chain. Other countries have already taken this step, including Japan, South Korea and the United States." According to her, such a strategic stockpile should mainly concern materials used in things in which the Dutch industry excels, such as offshore wind energy.
The Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) at the University of Twente offers international education, research, institutional strengthening, and project activities in the field of geo-information and earth observation. They utilize remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) to address real-world problems and complex issues.
Some examples are: Affordable and Clean Energy: ITC collaborates with the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KENGEN) to develop geothermal resources in the Rift Valley. Or critical materials: ITC carries out research on rare earth metals and other resources using remote sensing techniques. And Spatial Planning Framework: ITC develops and applies strategic planning tools and methodologies in collaboration with the United Nations Human Settlements (UN-Habitat). Also the topic health: ITC utilizes geographic information, spatial methods, and geospatial technologies to understand and visualize the spread of diseases, access to health facilities, and the planning of emergency services. And Geoversity: ITC offers flexible learning paths, personalized training, and collaboration with partner organizations. And last but not least the ITC alumni and entrepreneurship: ITC has a worldwide community of over 25,000 alumni.
These are just a few examples of the diverse activities and projects that ITC is involved in, demonstrating their commitment to addressing global challenges and fostering international collaboration.
Visit the page of the faculty https://www.itc.nl/
Link to speech by Liesje Schreinemacher, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, at the official opening of the Langezijds building of the faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC, Universiteit Twente) in Enschede, 25 October 2023.
Second picture first line: Embassy of Pakistan, H.E. Mr. Suljuk Mustansar Tarar, Embassy of Ghana, H.E Francis Danti Kotia, Embassy of Tanzania, H.E.. Caroline Kitana Chipeta, Embassy of Indonesia H.E. Mayerfas