Delft, The Netherlands, 18 Oct 2019

Opening Academic Year 2019 - 2021 & Alumni Award Ceremony

On 17 October, the official opening of the new academic period 2019-2021 was celebrated. Vice Rector Prof. Charlotte de Fraiture welcomed more than 160 new MSc students from over 46 different countries, who will start their study journey at IHE Delft. Ioana Popescu, Associate Professor of Hydroinformatics delivered an enlightening and entertaining speech ‘Water aid in our pockets’. Prof. Alvaro Carmo Vaz from Mozambique accepted the Alumni Award 2019 for his outstanding work in the field of hydraulic engineering, hydrology and water resources management.

Proud of our diversity

Vice Rector Prof. Charlotte de Fraiture opened the ceremony and welcomed all guests and students. ''You will have the unique opportunity to learn not only about water knowledge in Delft and in the Netherlands, but also learn about other cultures and grow as a person. IHE Delft is the largest international water institute in the world, we are proud of the achievements of our alumni who are making an impact on water challenges in their countries. We are also proud of our diversity: diversity in disciplines, in nationalities and cultures. Addressing complex water problems requires looking at them from different perspectives.''

Collecting water data you can easily do with your phone

Ioana Popescu, Associate Professor of Hydroinformatics and alumna of IHE Delft, talked about 'Water aid in our pocket' and how we can use it in our daily work. ''Collecting water data you can easily do with your phone. We can collect data; rainfall, water quality data, levels and other data. Citizens can help with collecting data and this is called crowdsourcing. It creates awareness among the citizens and they want to take care of the planet and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals.''

Enriched our lives

Vice Rector Prof. Charlotte de Fraiture announced that the IHE Delft Alumni Award for 2019 has been awarded to Dr. Alvaro Carmo Vaz from Mozambique. He came to Delft to study hydraulic engineering, specialising in river hydraulics, and earned a Master’s with distinction in 1981. He went on to complete a PhD in hydrology and water resources at the Technical University of Lisbon in Portugal. Throughout his career he has demonstrated a vision for the future and a strong commitment to improving education and water resource management in his country.

Looking back on his time in Delft, Prof. Carmo Vaz said his advice to students now is to take advantage of the opportunities. “I remember that we had a number of compulsory subjects and we had electives. Both my wife and I took much more than was required because it’s a fantastic opportunity here,” he said. “Use this time in the Netherlands the best you can, both here at IHE Delft and in this country.”

It’s important that water is at the forefront of the concerns for the government and the public in Mozambique, notes Prof. Carmo Vaz, because the challenges now are bigger than ever. The increasing population, growing cities and longer droughts are creating big obstacles. “For us to be able to cope, we have to use the best of our abilities with science, technology, and new knowledge,” he said. “We need the university, we need IHE Delft, and we need all of the cooperation that we can get.” 

Read the interview with Prof. Carmo Vaz here.

Dutch tastings and games

According to tradition, the opening ceremony concluded with a reception, where the new students could taste traditional Dutch food such as herring, bitterballen, stroopwafels and play games. Good luck to our new students!

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