AES 2014 WELCOMES AFES 2015
By Mawutodzi Kodzo Abissath
|Prof. Max Spoor on his feet dramatizing his inspiring speech|
What a beautiful way to welcome blissful members of a wonderful family! It was impromptu, informal, brief but impressive and fantastic indeed!
It was a Thursday, 25 September 2014. The venue was at the highest point on the fifth floor of the monumental ISS building. The “Grand-Papa” of our Major (AES/AFES) Prof. Max was there; Prof. Jun was there; Prof. Maurat was there and other PhD aspirants were the special guests for the occasion!
Kana, the Japanese –angel-class-captain of the old batch, supported by other angels were the commanders-in-chief of the event - WELCOME PARTY FOR THE NEW BATCH. That was the occasion. And boxes of pizza, cartons of beer, variety of fruits and candies were scattered all over the place. I don’t know where the pizza came from. But I suspected they were from Italy, or Spain, or Lebanon if not from The Hague! But nobody cared so much about the kitchen where they emerged because they were mouth-watering, delicious, sumptuous and pleasing to the tongue!
Barely 2 hours before the party, which took off at 18 hrs. one angel of our batch accosted by chance and said: “Mawu, we want you to recite some poems at the event for us!” Then I asked, ‘Are you sure?” She said “Yes,” “But you didn’t tell in advance so that I could be prepared?” “Sorry, but it just occurred to us,” she said. Then I said, “OK, I will recite just one short piece!” She had no choice but to agree.
That was how the whole programme was planned at the fort court of Dorus outside, not even at the common room inside. And it turned out to be one of the most magnificent get-togethers of AES/AFES in recent memory. When the time came, out of the blue, the ideas came from nowhere and everybody was ordered to introduce himself or herself. “Old batch or new batch?” Next; next; next; and it was beautifully done in the most humorous fashion. It was such a fun that someone laughed and laughed so much that she could not remember her own name.
Then when Prof. Jun was requested to say a few words to welcome the new batch in our mist, he too humbly and diplomatically passed on the baton to Prof. Max who also was his one time boss at that faculty of knowledge - AES/AFES.
Now, it was the turn of Prof. Max to demonstrate how to be humble even before your own students. He could have been sitting to talk to us as a boss and his subordinates. But he stood up and delivered one of the most inspiring and profound speeches in the 21st century. He gave two simple pieces of advice to the new batch:
1. “GO AND BUY A BICYCLE
2. “DON’T FIX YOURSELVES IN ROOMS IN THE HAGUE LIKE METERS. MOVE OUT AND SEE OTHER PLACES WHILE YOU ARE HERE.”
Then Prof. Max told the new comers that ISS is like fast moving train. “You cannot jump out, so you must brace yourselves up and study hard like your old batch colleagues,” He added that very soon, they too, would feel relaxed after presenting their RP draft report at a seminar. Then they would just go and dot their ‘ises’ and cross their ‘tees’ here and there and that would be the end of their MA programme at ISS. The ovation for the speech was WOW!
Report and pictures by Mawutodzi Kodzo Abissath (Mawu AES)