The State of the World

The State of the World seldom was as vibrant as it is nowadays. Even before COVID-19, the shifting international balance of power, Brexit, Trumpism, the climate crisis, social unrest and rapidly emerging technologies – to name a few – created enough buzz and opportunities, rage and paradigm shifts, and of course lots of questions to be answered within and outside of our national borders and filter bubble.

Questions such as: will we allow income disparities between different kinds of work to diverge even more? And how about the difference in wealth between different citizens, or the different chances of children growing up in different neighbourhoods all over the world? Could prosperity within and between countries be divided differently? Will we see bigger experiments with forms of basic income in this new decade? And will, for example, the American Biden-Harris administration, new German chancellor and recently chosen Dutch parliament be able to steer their societies into less divided communities.

But there’s loads more …
– you could focus on the growing awareness and changemakers behind one of these topics: gender issues, equal work, equal pay, LGBTHQI + and Black Lives Matter: are we on the brink of a more inclusive society?
– you could dive into the future of the housing market and your chances to get a proper living space in this day and age after you’ve graduated?
– or research how/if you/we as a society are going to tackle the climate crisis and what is needed to achieve this?
– rethink how we handle the refugee crisis and accommodate the people already living in camps on the borders of Europe?
– are we happy with the influence of Big Tech in society – and what should we embrace or be critical about?
– and if we look at you as our current generation of young people getting their education right now: will you be defined as part of a burnout generation, or are you the generation that will bend the world to your liking – and hopefully in the right direction?

And last, but not least: we also focus on you and who are you as an individual almost starting your career and inhabiting this world? How are you coping with all the dilemma’s mentioned above? This is what the Minor The State of the World is all about.

So are you a student that is intrigued by the news or social developments – and do you have a passion to dive deep into all sides, corners, dilemma’s and information of a self chosen current issue? Do you have one or more current issues that you would like to sink your teeth into?

Then this is the place you want to be for your minor program. We have more information about the program on our own website:

You can also participate in this minor program as a part-time student. Ask the minor contact person about the options.

The programme of this minor can also be attended in Dutch as De Staat van de Wereld.

Entry requirements

  • You have a passion and broad interest for current events in society, different media, innovations, social developments and issues that play a role in today’s world (whether or not in your field).
  • You have a substantive, creative, enterprising, original, but above all curious mind.
  • You are not averse to a documentary, podcast or a long read and find it challenging to talk to disruptive thinkers and leading experts if you get the chance.
  • You are open to other people’s opinions, you also appreciate this in your lecturers and fellow students and you dare to substantiate or actively question your own position with arguments.


In this minor we turn education around. In this minor our focus is on you and the subject that you are passionate about and would like to explore. We won’t tell you how the world works or provide you with easy answers that don’t address the complexity of the matter at hand, but we’ll help you in your quest to gain new insights into the subject/issue that you have chosen yourself. We’ll help you find different strategies to gather information. We will invite and challenge you to not only focus on scientific papers/results, literature and more traditional forms of research, but also get in touch with activists, arts, ranting twitter-trolls, scientists and dive deep into the community and pool of people that are dealing with the impact of your chosen subject – and to combine all this in your own informed opinion on the matter.

And we do this in a challenging environment in which you’ll meet (former) artists, activists, scientists, self-made entrepreneurs, policy makers, philosophers, changemakers, politicians, journalists, community organizers and much more.

Which social issue do you find so important that you would like to work on it for a longer period of time? Whether it concerns a local issue, a long-term national issue or even international developments – you determine what you want to look into in depth and we guide you in this.

We do this with teachers who are curious about your opinion, passions and ambitions, enthusiastic fellow students and by employing unexpected working methods.

We visit exhibitions, theatres, content driven events/festivals and places that are in the news and we’ll try to experience the world beyond (y)our daily information bubble. And if is possible again to travel abroad, we will also go on a week long study trip outside the city to physically explore a region/country most of us are not familiair with.

This will be organized together with a committee of participants.

On our website you’ll find more info about the minor, our philosophy and the way we work.

Learning Objectives

How do you explore the world around you? Which people, media, cultural heritage influence your thinking, judgement and opinion?

During the minor you will look at events in the world with us from different perspectives. You will discover how you can quickly, yet in a well-grounded and effective way, identify and interpret what you observe concerning your subject in society and in daily life situations. You will do research in a manner fitting your chosen topic. You will experiment with interviews, documenting your own and other people’s thoughts, learn how ‘to read’ the (social) media-sphere and choose relevant literature and key thinkers around your chosen topic.

We’ll make extensive use of live conversations, available media and existing research and find it more important that you know your way around all this information than that you write bulky reports yourself.

You gain experience with different ways of gaining insight into complex issues. You will learn to deal with living sources, share acquired insights with others in a challenging and well-organized manner, assess the value of different ways of documenting and gain insight into your own and other people’s points of view, way of collecting information and forming opinions.


Because of the nature of the minor – and the fact that each year students choose their own and different topics to focus on during the minor, we divided the program into various program components.

  • Kick off and introduction of the minor (the first two weeks of the minor we’ll have a four program each week)
  • a study week (abroad) halfway through the program
  • a series of weekly sessions in which you and a small group of peers are supported by one of our professors – here we focus on your research and the way you manage yourself.
  • a weekly day of inspiration in which we’ll dive into different current issues in society and explore different ways of looking to these issues, such as deep democracy, TED Circles, the human library etc. – here we hand you a broader perspective on the world we live in, while meeting a diverse range of experts, trainers and professionals.

These components form the main part of the program.

In addition to these fixed components, the staff and students will arrange inspirational field trips/visits in which interested groups of minor participants will visit challenging / inspiring programs, people, events, etc. These initiatives are optional and can also take place in the evenings and at the weekend, when there is more choice in programming.


Within the minor you work on gaining more insight into a self-chosen issue. The assessment and supervision is also aimed at this. For example, early on in the minor, we set down your ambitions and your chosen in a ‘personal research plan’, which we’ll discuss with your fellow students in a small and dedicated support team.

Halfway through the minor, we analyze the progress of your plan and whether this requires adjustment and fine tuning.

Finally, at the end of the minor, you present the insights you have gained: to us as your coaches and fellow students, and to the world. You present this in a way that suits your chosen topic and your talents/capabilities as a person. For example, you could make a podcast serie, produce a documentary, host a live theme event around your topic, write and get an opinion article or document you insights in another shape or form you are experienced in – or want to experiment with.

With your teachers and support team, we’ll assess the way in which you researched your topic and how your insights and conclusions took shape during the course of the minor and to what extent you can substantiate these insights.


In the build up to your personal research plan, we explore which sources could be the most helpful to gain insight in your topic. At that moment we’ll also discuss the literature and other media that are most fitted for your subject.

Media that you often use during our meetings are books from / articles from / documentaries from / programs and contributions from De Correspondent, TED, The Guardian, Brainwash Festival, Gapminder, VICE, Kurzgesagt, The School of Life, Studium Generale Utrecht University. We’ll also discuss recent books and documentaires and visit film festivals or TEDx-events and participate in TED Circles and human libraries.


The weekly meetings for our minor sessions and intended travel dates will be announced in June (for September intake) and in December (for February intake). You make sure to keep the first two weeks of the academic year (or second semester) completely free for our intensive start up program.

We invest a lot of time in this to give everyone a lot of freedom to do their own research in their own way.

Extra costs

You have the means to travel regularly within the Netherlands and once within Europe to visit / watch programs, exhibitions, museums and films / documentaries.

The costs of our study trip (when it’s safe to travel again) will be around 300 euro depending on the chosen location. You will have a say in this in the build up to the minor.

If you cannot participate in the trip or other field visits because of the costs, we will make an alternative arrangement.


This minor course is marked by the Green Office as a sustainable minor. This means that by participating in this minor course, you can contribute to one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals from the UN.


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