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Celebrating the past, present and future of AMID

On Friday, October 19, we celebrated AMID's 20th anniversary with a festive and interactive lustrum event. In Nijmegen, at Theater C on the Radboud campus, about 100 alumni and other people from the AMID community came together to listen, share and raise a glass to AMID. Before reading how we did this, watch this short video to get an impression of the day and feel like you are (back) there with us.

It was 20 years ago that the first group of young people started with AMID. Since then, the world has seen major changes and the international development sector has transformed. AMID adapted to those changes. One thing has stayed the same: we educate committed, reflexive and globally connected people who to change the world. At this event, we wanted to go on a journey into the future. What will the next 20 years bring? 

Changing the world?

Duncan Green (Oxfam GB) kicked off the event with his keynote speech and made sure to open some eyes: "We only put an issue on the development agenda if it is exotic, or we don’t know what to do about it." A great start, because the goal of this event was - next to celebrations - looking at the future. Not taking the status quo on the development sector for granted, but looking at what we can change to heal the world and make it a better place (thank you, Michael). The title was therefore 'Changing the world?', and note the question mark at the end. Next up was Lynn Zebeda (Dr Monk). She picked up on Duncan Green's last call for solidarity, and went on to get people practicing what he was preaching - collaboration and reflection. With about 100 people on stage playing rock paper scissors and cheering each other on, she showed us how to get from a 'ranking' mindset to linking. Not only necessary for collaborating, but also for systemic change.

How empathy & data will save the world

After Duncan and Lynn's call to adventure, the stage was set for the world cafe to find out what the future of 2040 will have in store for us. This interactive sessions consisted of different worlds: on feminist leadership, green & inclusive finance, the climate church, storytelling, unintended effects, data-driven development, reframing the message, a post-project world and #hearmetoo: listening to voices we don't hear. 

With tablesheets (scroll down to see what we mean by that) to guide the conversation, and several experts from the AMID community, we envisioned a future of international collaboration and sustainable development in 2040. What are the revolutionary ideas? Who do we need to realise this, what action do we need to take now? What will these idealists, pragmatists and revolutionaries accomplish in this world cafe on steroids? And surprisingly, or not, much of the advice that came out of the sessions was similar or related in certain ways. The importance of data, the necessity of empathy and the call to speak up and take action. As a participant, it is invigorating to talk to various people about these topics. For the AMID team as well, and even more to use this as input for the AMID programme. We want to keep improving and keep developments in the programme matching developments in reality.  

You can find the answers on these 9 table sheets below.

New territories

Now we have all this advice for the AMID community, what is the future going to look like? For this, we gave the floor to AMID futurologist (and AMID teacher & alumna) Sara Kinsbergen. By going back to her childhood and her then succesful enterprise of selling walnuts for Somalia, she showed us how difficult it can be to decide how to choose what your role will be in changing the world. But it was not only a serious and difficult speech. She had the audience swinging to a couple of songs that illustrated the pragmatic, revolutionary and idealistic approach, and made us see that it is humour that we need. Not only by suggesting to set up a Walnut Revolving Humour Fund (WRHF), but by showing us that a very funny and entertaining speech does not diminish the content and the power of the message, but merely strengthens it. 

We will need them all: idealists, pragmatists, and revolutionaries. And luckily, we already have them. This day showed us that indeed - solidarity and collaboration are key, and so are data, empathy, storytelling and listening. We have a great event to look back to, and it seems, a future to look forward to.

See you in 2040!


1. Data-driven development - hosted by Maaike Blom (Data4Development)


2. Green & Inclusive finance - hosted by Rayke Berendsen (NpM) & Shahzad Memon (FMO)

3. Storytelling - hosted by Janet Anderson (RNTC)

4. Reframing the message - hosted by Emiel Martens (IDleaks / UvA)

5. #hearmetoo: listening to voices we don't hear (and don't want to hear) - hosted by Anna Gorter (FreePressUnlimited) and Anne van Marwijk (Perspectivity)

6. A post-project world - hosted by Duncan Green (Oxfam GB)

7. Unintended effects - hosted by Dirk Jan Koch (MoFA / CAOS, Radboud University)

8. Feminist leadership - hosted by Josine Stremmelaar (Oxfam Novib) & Marlies Blom (Oxfam Novib)

9. The Climate Church - hosted by Lynn Zebeda (Dr Monk)