Higher education: Building a bridge between The Netherlands and South Africa

Datum/ date: 11 juli 2022
Walk in: 18:30
Tijd/ time: 19:00 - 21:00
Startlocatie/ location: Keizersgracht 141-C, Amsterdam
Taal/ language: English

This event is only for University Stellenbosch alumni and Friends of the Zuid-Afrikahuis.


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During this panel the speakers share their insights on the benefits of exchange and their experiences from the workplace to give an impression of how, through exchange, we can learn from each other and build the bridge between the Netherlands and South Africa. 

Panel members:

Prof Wim de Villiers (panel)
Prof Wim de Villiers is Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University (SU), Vice-Chairperson of Universities South Africa (USAf), Chairperson of the Higher Education HIV/AIDS Programme (HEAIDS) Board and a Council Member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU).

He was appointed to his SU position by the institution’s Council in December 2014, and took office in April 2015, becoming the 12th person to lead Maties since it achieved formal university status out of Victoria College in 1918. He was previously Dean of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town, and is a Matie alumnus and medical doctor who also studied and worked in England and the USA for 21 years.

Nicholas Clarke (panel)
Dr. Nicholas Clarke is an architect and lecturer at the section of Heritage and Architecture (HA) at the Delft University of Technology (TUDelft), the Netherlands. He obtained his professional (Batchelors) degree from the University of Pretoria, South Africa, where he later lectured, continued his studies at Cambridge University as a Commonwealth Scholar and completed his PhD at TUDelft. He has co-authored and co-edited a number of award-winning publications on architectural heritage and conservation, focusing on shared heritage, resilience and sustainable development. His architectural practice focusses on restoration and impact assessment. Nicholas is active in World Heritage processes, with a focus on monitoring of state of conservation, impact assessment and urban management processes, systems and plans. He has since 2011 undertaken numerous Reactive Monitoring and Advisory mission on behalf of the International Council for Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) to multiple cultural World Heritage properties located on various continents.

Alvira Fisher (panel)
Alvira Fisher is currently a Venture Builder at an innovation consulting agency. She recently moved from South Africa to The Netherlands to embark on a family adventure in the EU. Alvira has over 20 years experience in Financial Services mostly focused on organisational governance and operational implementation.

Her most exciting career move happened right before Covid when she resigned from her corporate role to embark on a career in entrepreneurship. Alvira has since then tried many different business models, but found her way to Stellenbosch University Launchlab where she ended in the role as Incubation Director. Her focus at LaunchLab was in the ideation stage of a startup coaching young entrepreneurs and facilitating early entrepreneurship programs, moving their ideas into realistic business cases.

Margriet van der Waal (panel)
Margriet van der Waal is professor by special appointment at the University of Amsterdam on behalf of the Zuid-Afrikahuis Netherlands Foundation. She is also assistant professor of European Studies at the University of Groningen.

Margriet van der Waal’s research focuses on South African literature and postcolonial European identity. She has published on selection processes in literature education in (post-)apartheid South Africa (what is read in school and who determines that?). She also immersed herself in constructions and representations of Afrikaner identity within and outside South Africa.

Mervin Bakker (moderator)
Mervin Bakker is Director International Strategy & Relations at the University of Groningen (UG). He built his expertise in the area of internationalisation of higher education and in international relations throughout his career. Before joining UG, Mervin has worked for Nuffic’s Netherlands Education Support Office (NESO) in South Africa (2017-2020) and Indonesia (2011-2017) as Regional Director. Next to his work, Mervin is also active as board member of the Stichting Studiefonds Zuid-Afrika and the Indonesia Nederland Society.

In cooperation with


Keizersgracht 141-C
1015 CK Amsterdam


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