Guest lecture by a former Prime Minister
By Dr Johan Vögel
Posted on 28 March 2012
From left to right: H.E. Mr Andre Haspels (Ambassador of the Netherlands), Prof Jan Peter Balkenende and Dr Johan Vögel.
On Wednesday, 29 February 2012, the former Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Professor Jan Peter Balkenende, delivered a guest lecture to the Business Management 359 (International Business) students in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.
Professor Balkenende was in South Africa for business in his capacity as partner at Ernest & Young. However, as he is also a professor and the holder of the Chair of Governance, Institutions and Internationalisation at the Erasmus University, he asked for an opportunity to do a guest lecture at the University of Pretoria.
As the former Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Professor Balkenende’s lecture received a great deal of attention from embassies across Pretoria. Not only was he accompanied by the ambassador of the Netherlands, but the ambassadors of Romania, Belgium and Germany also attended the lecture.
Although Mr Balkenende had a formal lecture prepared, he offered the students a choice: he could either present the formal lecture he had prepared, which focused on the economic crisis in Europe and touched on sustainability issues, or he could address any topic of the students’ choice. Needless to say, the students chose the latter option and numerous issues, ranging from the role of China in Africa and the economic crisis in Europe to what South Africa can do to attract more foreign direct investment were discussed, to mention but a view.
As the International Business course focuses on how to screen markets for possible international expansion, Professor Balkenende, as a former head of state, was able to provide the students with first-hand experience on topics discussed in the course.
Professor Jan Peter Balkenende