In 1990 Europe was a very different place. Walls had not come down, the Balkans had not disintegrated into blood-letting and the Internet was still the stuff of futurology. There was an awareness already, however, that people from all over the continent, especially young professionals, needed to sharpen their skills and expand their personal networks beyond the confines of formal qualifications systems.
Since 1990 The Amsterdam-Maastricht Summer University has harnessed the expertise available from professionals from all over the world and matched them with motivated participants happy to spend a few weeks of the summer. There is a strong sense of looking forwards, not just of examining the tried and tested formulas of the past. The AMSU compiles masterclasses, workshops and seminars on a variety of topics, but always dealing with issues of present day civil society.
It draws in a rich array of institutional partners, from museums to media centres, science foundations to policy consultancies. Its participants can be found from ministries in Europe to the theatres of the Mediterranean. Its lecturers are drawn not only from academic ranks, but also from business and inter-governmental organisations, from among journalists and writers, architects and lawyers.
The courses and the tone are fiercely 21st century. Studies in digital culture with leading figures within the museum world collide with cutting-edge economics taught by high-ranking economists. Innovation in urban development with representatives from city councils of major cities throughout the world coexists with the impact of European competition law. Medical advances and the latest research results are examined after a masterclass with a well-known European film director. The studies are conducted in English and those teaching come from as wide a range of countries as the participants themselves.
By combining the resources of its participating universities, the experience of its partner institutions and the informal dynamism of its programmes, AMSU offers Europe a recipe for imagination and development quite different from other organisations. It wishes to play a role in conceiving an answer to the challenges the 21st century.
Most of those who take part will be young professionals between 25 and 35 years of age, although some will be younger, some older, from all over the world. The Amsterdam-Maastricht Summer University stimulates those who thought they knew their subjects to think again and afresh. It brings people into contact with fellow young professionals working in very different contexts and circumstances but all facing common challenges.
The Amsterdam-Maastricht Summer University offers its know-how and its extensive networking expertise to those companies who wish to support and promote high quality cross-border education on an international level.
The AMSU is a small organisation. One benefit of its size is that it remains flexible and responsive. It is free to move rapidly into new and emerging areas: it can respond to the changing needs of the interest groups it serves. The independence of the AMSU gives it the freedom to encourage co-operation and collaboration wherever relevant.
The AMSU offers
Masterclasses on a variety of topics from humanities and the arts to social sciences. Many of the breakthroughs of tomorrow are likely to be the result of interdisciplinary endeavour between specialists from a broad range of professional backgrounds.
Special modules with international renowned academics, professionals or artists. Themes such as identity and pluriformity, renewal and conservation, trust and responsibility are explored throughout the various disciplines the AMSU covers, drawing on the expertise and know-how from lecturers and participants from different cultures and various backgrounds.
Partnerships with leading Dutch cultural, academic and scientific institutions.
International exposure among young international talent.
Those leaving AMSU will have talked a lot, argued, made friends, explored the world they are facing intensively. They will have been stimulated as much as informed. They will have taught as much as they have learned.