Saturday night I went to the NANC (the Netherlands Alumni Network in China) annual event, because I had been nominated for (and actually also won) an ‘outstanding young alumni award’. The NANC was set up in early 2005 and, according to director Jacques van Vliet, currently has about 2500 members. To be honest, I had not heard of the organization before they contacted me after my nomination, but that’s probably because it’s a relatively new organization and most members are fairly recent graduates.
The event itself was quite interesting and I was honored to win an award. The Dutch ambassador to China, Mr. Bekink, performed the award ceremony and I received among others a good digital camera and a photo printer. Pretty cool, this kind of printer is actually one of the few gadgets that I did not have yet, but that I had been considering to buy. After the awards ceremony there was a buffet dinner followed by drinks and networking and (in good Chinese tradition) a lucky draw.
The lucky draw had a twist though: if your number was drawn you had to answer a question first. And not the easiest ones for non-Dutch people, such as “What is the Dutch national color and why this color?”. And for a Dutch person who won a prize the question was what animal sign next year will have according to the Chinese calendar. Several people missed their prizes because they did not know the answers to their question.
I met quite some interesting people during the event, such as Mr. Zhu Dantao (who gained a PhD in Holland and now has a research position for China’s State Council), Ms. Michelle Yu (a young ambitious headhunter in Beijing, who also studied in my alma mater Maastricht University), and Ms. Lingxiao Qu (an internal auditor for a Dutch financial company who studied in Tilburg, and who at age 26 already achieved more than many people when they retire: among others she wrote a book and she was a liaison between the Dutch delegation and the Chinese organization during the 2008 Olympics). Also NANC organizer Selano Li impressed me, and I did not realize she speaks Dutch fluently until I met her in person (we had been in contact a couple of times before the award ceremony). I unexpectedly also met Dutch journalist Anne Meijdam here, we bump into each other about once a year or so.
Thanks to the NANC team for organizing a great event – and thanks for the award of course!