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Van der Laan: "Remain true to your values"

   Fri 11/01/2008

Giving the opening speech at the United Nations International Student Conference of Amsterdam, Lousewies van der Laan advised the students to remain true to their values.

“You have the opportunity every day, with the choices you make, to change the world”, Lousewies van der Laan told students from all over the world this morning at the opening of the UNISCA conference. “Whether you ask your grocery store to avoid products from the Occupied Territories or write to your member of Parliament demanding questions over the role of the World bank in Kenya, even before you have a job you can make a difference”.

The students from Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia have gathered in Amsterdam for a week long conference on the role of the United Nations. Van der Laan shared her wide international experience, using examples from her time as a politician, as well as a policy adviser during the enlargement of the European Union and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

“Along your international careers you will meet with conservatism, cynicism, hypocrisy and economic interest that clash with your values. Face it with professionalism and self- confidence while staying true to your values. Remember that cynics are not idealists that have had to deal with reality, they are just people who are too intellectually lazy to find solutions to problems," says Van der Laan.