Backbone is the corporate magazine of Erasmus School of Economics Published three times a year, once in print and twice online, the magazine highlights successful and interesting alumni, covers the latest economics trends and faculty research, and reports on school news, events, and student, faculty, and alumni accomplishments.
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Life lessons from Sigrid Kaag
Publication Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam Editors Ronald de Groot, Naomi Graafland, Henk Goris, Yrla van de Ven, Aleksandra Stuip, KrisKras context, content and design Concept, design and realization Kris Kras context, content and design Illustrations Carolyn Ridsdale Photography & Video Rotterdam Branding Toolkit, Kees Stuip Fotografie, Sophia van den Hoek, Marc Heeman, Daarzijn, Rien Bexkens, Koala Koncepts, Eric van Vuuren
UN Special Coordinator
During the EFR Business Week 2016, UN Special Coordinator Sigrid Kaag spoke candidly about the core values that helped her find success in life. What is her advice to the next generation?
"Find where your passion lies: in your studies, internships; in whatever you do. Passion is different from the skills that you can acquire through hard work. We need skills, but you also have to go out and find out what makes you tick. Passion is not for sale and it can never be substituted. Curiosity is another thing: open your mind. Often, people are stuck in a box. They think: oh, that's not for me."
‘It ain't over till the fat lady sings.’
"But surprises can happen all the time, so keep your radar clear, and be prepared to make a 180-degree turn on the opportunities that are on offer. The best things happen when you least expect them - I ended up married like that."
is a Dutch diplomat working for the United Nations. Since December 2014 she serves as the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon. Recently, Kaag received The Carnegie Wateler Peace Prize 2016 for her successful efforts in accomplishing sensitive and dangerous missions in the Middle East.
"Sometimes the worst things happen. But be open-minded, be curious about the people around you, about different cultures, about opportunities. These opportunities can be found in your own village. Opportunity doesn't have to be exotic or dealing with chemical weapons in Syria, like I did.
In your life be prepared for the unexpected. Living with your choices is hard. None of us likes to live with regret, that's why we often choose safely. We stay with the same company, going from one promotion to the next, even when we're unhappy. Again I can only encourage you to accept that you have a choice. You have to be the owner of your decision.
You are part of a privileged generation, you have education, access, knowledge and, potentially, opportunity. So you owe it to others to yield this and exploit it. And, maybe, you can make a difference to this world that can be infinitely better, more inclusive, whether you work for profit or not for profit. It's one planet, one chance, one lifetime. Enjoy it. Make the best of it."