On Thursday 14 June, a Royal Decoration will be presented to Mr J.M.F. Borg.
The honour was announced on the Queen’s Day Honours List, but not presented because Han Borg was abroad at the time. Borg has been made a Knight in the Order of Orange-Nassau. The presentation, by President of the Board of the University Prof. S. Poppema, will take place during a ceremony at the Hanzesociëteit in Groningen between 4 and 6 p.m.
Han Borg (Enschede, 1956) arrived at the University of Groningen in the late 1980s to organize the celebrations for the University’s 375th anniversary. This was the first time that the University had marked an anniversary on such a grand scale. Thanks to his tireless efforts and perseverance, Han Borg conjured up events that would otherwise have been impossible. For example, he organized the legendary History Day, an event held in the city centre for the citizens of Groningen on behalf of the University.
After the opening of the East European borders, Han Borg became coordinator for collaboration with universities in Eastern Europe. He spent the years between 1990 and 2001 doing his utmost to strengthen the ties between the University of Groningen and Eastern-Europe. After initial reservations on both sides, he focused his efforts and considerable communication skills on forging long-term, productive connections that are still intact today. And when disaster struck for the University of Wroclaw (floods), Han Borg swiftly organized large-scale fund-raising activities in Groningen to help the university pick up the pieces. To most people, activities like this go beyond the bounds of a regular working relationship; not to Han Borg. In 1998, his ceaseless efforts earned him the golden medal from the University of Wroclaw.
A broad interest in culture, history, literature and architecture brought Han Borg into contact with various cultural organizations, both in and outside his working life. He was co-founder of literary society Stichting Letter & Stad (since amalgamated with the Stichting Literaire Activiteiten Groningen), which organizes the annual Day of Poetry and Dichters in de Prinsentuin. As a member of the board for the Architecture Day in Groningen, Han Borg was jointly responsible for the National Architecture Day held in Groningen. He has also been secretary of the Groningen Bell-ringers’ Guild and a member of the Dutch Labour Party’s cultural working group, making an active contribution to debate within the Labour Party on the development and function of the Groninger Forum. In addition, he dedicated many years to the Volksuniversiteit Groningen, where alongside an advisory role in the programming, he also gave lectures and courses that confirmed his qualities as a classical historian. He headed excursions to Jewish cemeteries to draw wider attention to this particular piece of our cultural heritage and played an active part in realizing a monument in one particular former Jewish cemetery. Another aspect of his career involved guiding cultural trips to Italy, where he was able to put his wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm for the world of classics to good use.
From 2001 to 2007, Han Borg was head of the Central Student Administration. This was the period in which the student administration was transferred from the legal department to the student affairs department, a task that involved a large-scale move. Borg kept his team alert and motivated throughout this period.
In 2007, Han Borg was made policy advisor and project manager of internationalization. In this job, he was in charge of the strategic partnership between the University of Groningen and the Universities of Uppsala (Sweden), Göttingen (Germany) and Ghent (Belgium). 2011 saw him appointed network manager of HUMANE, the network of the European association of general directors/secretaries of universities, an organization that performs countless training and support activities for a network of more than 200 members throughout Europe. This position enables Han Borg to make full use of his considerable talents in managing relations and internationalization, his creativity in thinking up new avenues for cooperation, and his effortless written and verbal skills.
Han Borg has been made a Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau.
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