Groningen Declaration Network Newsletter, Vol. II/iv, Aug 2017  
Herman de Leeuw, GDN Executive Director
Groningen: Hotbed for Innovation
From Herman de Leeuw, GDN Executive Director

As you read this, almost three months have passed since the memorable Sixth Groningen Declaration Network's Annual Meeting in Melbourne, Australia. That meeting again proved to be very successful by many benchmarks, such as the fact that sixteen new signatories joined the GDN. More than 120 attendees from 24 countries -- an all-time high so far -- united for almost a week of intense discussions and networking, including

And not to forget: the memorable social events:

If anything, the annual meeting proved that "Groningen" has come to represent innovation in supporting student mobility, or rather, human capital mobility around the globe, and the Groningen vision is increasingly subscribed to: At the time of writing, the "Groningen" network has some 1,300 contacts around the globe, and this number will certainly keep rising.

Participation in the "Groningen" network pays off, with quite a few important international pilots and projects initiated during our six annual meetings to date. This is exactly what the Network was established for -- to convene thought leaders, chief decision makers, business leaders and experts from a wide variety of sectors and industries. By doing that, to spark innovation by motivating attendees to seize the potential for multidisciplinary collaboration and thus support global human capital mobility and make life-long learning a reality.

Now in its sixth year, Groningen has matured and turned into a foundation -- the stichting Groningen Declaration Network. This development will ensure that the Groningen movement further evolves, and provides ever more opportunities for participation and engagement.

One of the first tangible steps is the addition of regional events; although some may hold that the world has already become a tiny global village, the fact is that increasing carbon miles decrease participation while increasing your ecological footprint. Regional events decrease carbon miles and encourage interaction between partners in neigbouring countries.

The first such regional event is actually a co-production; the GDN threw in its lot with several other organizations to co-organize a FREE Blockchain in Education conference, on 5 September in the Academy Building of the University of Groningen. Co-organizers include

This conference is about why and how Blockchain will usher in a hyper-connected future for the education sector, bringing about distributed learning environments and learning outcomes, and providing more trusted and secure student services and student data. It will provide attendees with networking opportunities to connect with thought leaders, leading experts, policy makers and innovators coming from the Groningen region, from national public bodies and industries in the Netherlands, and international experts. By the end of the day, it is hoped that the event will have served to initiate collaboration in creating solid solutions that will provide trusted and secured credentials, certificates and diplomas supporting access and excellence in education, talent management and life-long learning. Register now!

The GDN aims to initiate more such regional events, either through direct organization or in close collaboration with regional partners. Anyone interested in hosting such events is encouraged to contact the Executive Director directly via

By way of conclusion, let me highlight three things:

  • ARUCC GDN Research Information Request: Please make sure to feed ARUCC's GDN Working Group with ideas to shape next steps in creating a Canada-wide network for data exchange
  • Conference Report: The 2017 Annual Meeting conference report will be available in the next issue of the GDN Newsletter (forthcoming in October)
  • Annual Voluntary Contribution: Now in its first year as a foundation, the GDN naturally hopes to make its budget work. To ensure that outcome, a scheme of multiple funding sources has been initiated, including an annual registration fee; sponsorship money; and sizeable annual contributions from our charter entities. Much of this income goes into the organization of the annual meeting, and as you can see, the GDN also aims to organize more activities, including regional events. We therefore would like to introduce a modest, voluntary annual contribution that will help to sustain the GDN Office in providing ever more activities and services for the network. More about this annual voluntary contribution will be included in the next newsletter, when we hope that many of you will be ready to contribute.

Enjoy the newsletter!

Herman de Leeuw, Executive Director
stichting Groningen Declaration Network