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Speech Paul Polman at Alumni Meeting in London on April 18th, 2017

Alumni meeting London - 18 April 2017
Alumni meeting London - 18 April 2017

Paul Polman, Unilever CEO is chairman of the Ubbo Emmius Fund. During an alumni meeting in London he talked about the importance of fundraising and becoming active as alumnus. Polman stressed to alumni that ‘we should all be very lucky and fortunate to be born or to have studied in the Netherlands and to live in a country with healthcare; to make it past the age of 5, which still isn’t the case for 4 million children every year; to have enough food and not be starving, which still isn’t the case for 160 million people every year; to not go to bed hungry, which still is the case for 800 million people per year; to get proper education, which still is deprived to about 4 billion people. If you talk about women you can multiply 15% of these numbers, they pay a much higher price.’

Polman continues, ‘we have had all these chances in Groningen, which offers you basically all the opportunities in the world, as it is one of the finest universities. I remind people of this, you really won a lottery ticket. This is not the case for 98% of the rest of the world population. So it is really our duty to put ourselves to the service of the other 98%. If we all do this and live by the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Would you like to be discriminated on gender or go to bed hungry? If the answer is no then you have to fight really hard.’

Ubbo Emmius Fund

Polman, being the chairman of the Ubbo Emmius Fund further emphasized the deeper purpose of the alumni chapters of the University of Groningen. ‘Dear alumni group of the University. We have over 800 alumni here in London, 14 international alumni chapters already exist and now London is to become number 15. I think this is an opportunity to put our combined strengths together and our gratefulness of what we have, we have to take this opportunity to see what we can do together. I’m always fascinated by bringing people together and making 1+1 not 3 but 11, and any time we bring so many people together some ideas are born. This is what we see at the Ubbo Emmius Fund as they sponsor research and facilities.’

Last modified:18 May 2017 3.20 p.m.