Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands—the nation that currently holds the European Union presidency—will speak at the School of International Service (SIS) Atrium at 2:15 p.m., Thursday, March 31.
“I’m delighted that Prime Minister Rutte has elected to visit SIS and speak with our students,” said Dean James Goldgeier. "Mr. Rutte has a leading role in the most pressing challenges facing the EU, including the refugee crisis, relations with Russia, and the upcoming UK referendum. The reason for his DC visit – the Nuclear Security Summit – provides additional material for what I know will be a fascinating and informative discussion. Mr. Rutte's visit takes on added significance in the wake of the horrific attacks in Brussels.”
Professor Michelle Egan, an expert on the EU, will introduce Mr. Rutte and moderate the subsequent question and answer session with SIS students, faculty, and alumni.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Rutte will discuss the Dutch priorities during its presidency of the EU, which continues through the end of June. He will also highlight the strong bilateral ties between the Netherlands and the United States—a relationship critical to the Netherlands’ international values, according to Jan Post, SIS Director of Financial Operations and fellow Dutch national.
“The Netherlands is a small country in a global economy: our economic prosperity is highly dependent on cooperation across international networks. Mr. Rutte's visit to SIS is a testimony to the Netherlands' commitment to internationalism and its continuous engagement with those who work to better understand and improve the state of international affairs,” said Post.
Mr. Rutte served as State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment from 2002 to 2004. His pragmatic approach helped him to steer the "Work and Social Assistance Act" through parliament. He also held the position of State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science from 2004 to 2006 and to this day, avidly supports education. Even as the prime minister, he still serves as a guest teacher at the Johan De Witt schools in The Hague, teaching Dutch and social studies.
Mr. Rutte is passionate about personal freedom and is well known for his pragmatism, optimism, and energy.
“As both an SIS staff member and Dutch national, I'm so pleased that Prime Minister Rutte will be visiting SIS,” said Post. “I look forward to a productive exchange of ideas between Mr. Rutte and the SIS community.”
Mr. Rutte’s town hall coincides with his visit to Washington, D.C., for the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit.