We are a non-profit organization and all members of Right2Education are volunteers. Together, we are working towards building a community and bridging the gap between outsiders and insiders.

Meet the team of 2018-2019

Didi Altena: Chair

“In February 2017 I got first involved with Right2Education as a buddy. What struck me most during my first few months was the positivity within the community Right2Education aims to create. I see Right2Education as a platform for exchange. The reason why Right2Education works is because it is not just run by the 8 members in its board, but by the entire community. We create, share and learn together on a non-hierarchical basis.

Willing to play a more significant part in this process, I applied to become the Treasurer and Head of Acquisitions in 2017. In 2017-2018, this was the position I fulfilled by trying to create opportunities for Right2Education and its students through the recruitment of financial means. Now, one year later, I am the Internal Communications Manager and make sure everything runs smoothly within the board in order to ensure we live up to our potential and accommodate for the needs of our students as well as possible.”

Una Burke: Student Coordinator

Living in Ireland during the peak of the perceived refugee crisis, I felt very removed from the stories I saw on the news. I found it hard to believe that I, as a student, could do anything that would make a valuable impact in my community. When I first heard about Right2Education during my first year at AUC however, I was fascinated by the way that a small group of students had rallied their peers and the AUC faculty to support their initiative and make a real difference. The more I learned about the organisation, the more I wanted to get involved – I couldn’t think of a more meaningful and fulfilling way to spend my time! Now, as a member of the board, I feel lucky to be able to help both grow and expand our community and improve educational and social opportunities for our guest students and buddies, all while having fun and getting to know so many lovely people!

I am one of the two Student Coordinators for Right2Education, along with Taylor. We are responsible for all student matters, including organising the applications of incoming students, making sure that current students are happy and progressing well in their classes, and keeping up to date on personal matters. For 2018-19, I am excited to explore ways in which we can improve the learning experience of our guest students and to see how the year unfolds!

Taylor Bischot: Student Coordinator

The opportunity to join the board at R2E came at moment when I was looking to become more involved in a local service project around Amsterdam. The unique nature of the organization, in that AUC students teach the guest students and vice versa, allows for an intimate and rich cultural exchange and a strong sense of community. This is what I believe makes R2E so unique and ultimately attracted me the most! Learning a new language is such a crucial step to integration, and having the chance to be a bigger part of making this happen is really exciting!

As student coordinator, my responsibilities lie mainly in the application process and organizing everything regarding general student well-being to ensure they successfully complete their courses. I am the first contact person for the students, along with my partner Una. We do our best to meet the students’ needs in order to hopefully offer them a more individualized and personal experience!

Joyce den Hertog: Academic Coordinator

I originally applied to be part of Right2Education, because I wanted to gain experience in the field of education, since it is one of my many interests. I really love helping people out in their learning process, seeing them grow in their knowledge and simultaneously getting to know each other better. Right2Education therefore, seemed like a perfect opportunity to be able to do this more often.

However, now that I really am involved, I have learned that Right2Education is so much more than just teaching. To me, Right2Education means friendship, sharing values and cultures, seeing each other develop and grow not only in skills, but also as a person. I get so much joy and energy out of being part of the board, it really is rewarding.

My task in the board as Academic and Teacher coordinator is making sure that all classes happen and run smoothly. I will choose the teachers, help them get acquainted with the materials, evaluate them and the classes, regularly meet up with them and create new courses. The most exciting thing this year, is that I am involved in creating the new IELTS preparation course, which has been highly requested by our students. I am really excited to see how by this, we can support many of our students in their journey to university and the work field!”

Marin Sinclair: External Communication

I first got involved with r2e as a buddy, a bit over a year ago. I remember one moment very clearly; we are standing in the AUC kitchen, cooking all different kinds of food. From Dutch pancakes to traditional Syrian dishes that I had never seen before. There was laughter, Top 40 music and chatting. A lot of chatting. There was talk about books, music, films, but also about home and family.  

I knew from then on that I wanted to get involved more but was unsure how. When the position for external communications and public relations was opened, I applied straight away. Whilst talking to Aukje and Ellen, my predecessors, I became even more confident that this was the role I wanted to take on. I get to meet with other organizations that run a similar program as r2e, but also get to pick up new ideas and brainstorm with others about how we can improve our organizations.  I get to speak about r2e at conferences and share r2e with people, whilst I get to talk to inspiring people, broaden my horizon and emerge myself in different cultures.”

Noah van Genuchten: Treasurer

“I became involved with Right2Education during my first year at Amsterdam University College (AUC), by enrolling in the buddy program. The shared dinners, karaoke nights or museum visits with the guest students were always a great experience. I was impressed with how the founders of this initiative were able to establish this concept within and around Amsterdam, working together with different parties to facilitate the guest students with even more than the language classes. Being part of Right2Education this year is a wonderful thing and together with this year’s team I look forward to taking this initiative further.

I will be this year’s Treasurer/Head of Acquisitions which means I will be taking care of the financial administration and funding of Right2Education. My predecessors have put considerable effort in establishing a valuable network of partners, for which I admire them. For this year, I hope to establish new connections and find new ways through which our organization can grow, so we can integrate new ideas into our existing events and language classes.”

Kia Mikkonen: Buddy sytem and Events coordinator

My journey with Right2Education began when I first moved to Amsterdam in the fall of 2017. During one of my first days here I came across the organisation and was confronted by the fact that education, something that I have often taken for granted, is not as accessible for everyone as I thought. The excitement and passion that the people involved had, made me excited to join the organization and contribute in any way I could to the cause they are working for. I first signed up as a buddy and later as a student in the Dutch class. I never expected to learn as much as I did during these experiences. Besides learning Dutch (which was an incredibly important experience for me!) my buddies, the other guest students and our lovely teachers have taught me how important it is to be grateful and excited about all the small and big things in life.

As one of the Buddy System and Events Co-coordinators I hope to create opportunities for guest students and the AUC students as well as the board to come together to learn new things and create memories together. I am looking forward to the exciting activities and new and challenging experiences that 2018-2019 will bring!”

Sydra Perryman: Buddy system and events coordinator

“In a world of constant negativity, Right2Education is a proactive and effective response to an unpredictable situation. R2E focuses on opportunity and interaction, it is active, self-aware as well as open to change and adapt to new needs. To me, it seems it is this kind of action that is most productive, sustainable and in turn contributes to positive integration and community building!

As one of the event and buddy system co-ordinators, I am involved with the planning of the weekly event Right2Education puts on. Planning the weekly event is a process of pure joy. From potlucks to games nights, to masterclass cooking classes to music sharing, the events are a way to relax a little and enjoy some fun activities. And now I shall show off some of my new language skills taught to me by my great buddy…Thank you, Shukraan/شكرا, Dank je wel.”

Meet the founders of R2E

Ellen Ackroyd

PR/Buddy System Coordinator

Nini Pieters

Student Coordinator/ Events

Merel Kuijs

Treasurer

Tamara Happé

Academic Coordinator

Andrea Haefner

External Communications

Tanushree Kaushal

Internal Communications

Lena Reim

Secretary

Els van Dam

Academic Coordinator

The Advisory Board of R2E

Dr. Sennay Ghebreab – AUC Management Representative

Dr. Anne de Graaf – Chief Diversity Officer at the UvA

Michael Vermeer – AUC Alumni

Loes Leatemia – Gastrvij Oost Representative

Prof. Dr. Halleh Ghorashi – VU Representative

Dr. Diederik van Werven – AUC Faculty Representative