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Alumnus of the year

Iris de Graaf, Alumnus of the Year 2022

The University of Groningen has awarded NOS Russia correspondent Iris de Graaf the title of Alumnus of the Year 2022."The Russian invasion of Ukraine has', according to the jury, 'once again demonstrated the importance of independent journalists, who know the facts, give clarity to developments, separate the wheat from the chaff, and allow a variety of perspectives to be heard. Iris de Graaf is this sort of journalist."
De Graaf received her prize on 5 September, during the opening of the Academic Year (speech by Iris at 1:13:00). On 6 September she held the Arts Lecture at the Faculty of Arts.

Source of inspiration

According to the jury, the values ​​to which De Graaf subscribes as a reporter "are important to us as a University: developing expertise, being curious, attempting to uncover the truth, being critical, acting responsibly, and being engaged with one another and with society. Open debate, the exchange of opposing opinions, and listening to one another go hand-in-hand with these values. We share these values with our students in turn, who spread out across the globe after graduating. For them, Iris de Graaf is certainly a source of inspiration."

Read the jury report here>>

About Iris de Graaf

Iris de Graaf (1991) studied Slavonic Languages and Russian Studies in Groningen from 2009 to 2014. Thereafter she obtained a Master’s degree in Journalism, at the time when journalist Jeroen Smit—Alumnus of the Year in 2009—was professor. Her thesis was on the reporting of the MH17 disaster. She maintained a blog on fashion and lifestyle, and went on to report for the NOS on youth culture.
Thanks to her knowledge of Russia and the Russian language, she was appointed to the NOS’ foreign affairs desk, leading to her correspondentship in Russia in 2020. She can be heard and seen on news broadcasts including for the Achtuurjournaal, the Jeugdjournaal, the Radio 1 Journaal, and Nieuwsuur.

About the Alumnus of the Year award

The University of Groningen is proud of its alumni. They are our ambassadors and our links to society. Every year, we award one of our alumni the title Alumnus of the Year, as an expression of appreciation and encouragement. The title is awarded to a UG alumnus who, in our eyes, has made an extraordinary contribution to society, academia or culture, is a source of inspiration for others and shows promise for the future.

Previous Alumni of the Year are:

About the Alumnus of the Year award

To qualify for the title of Alumnus of the Year, a candidate must meet the following criteria. We are looking for people who:

Sculpture Wia van Dijk
Sculpture Wia van Dijk
  • Have made an exceptional contribution to society, research, culture or sports,
  • Are an inspiration to others
  • Are a promise for the future (the Alumnus of the Year award is a midcareer prize).

The prize for the Alumnus of the Year is a specially designed sculpture of visual artist Wia van Dijk. The 'Athena Noctua' is a pure and powerful bronze statue that stands for wisdom, curiosity, and pride. Each year the sculpture is personalized by changing the color of the eyes to match the personality of the winner.

Information and contact

Do you have any questions? Please contact the Department Alumni Relations and Fundraising of the UG: alumni rug.nl or +31(0)50 363 7595

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