The power of stories to help or hinder progress

Associate  Tom van Laer
Associate Tom van Laer
Humanity has always been driven by stories, and their power in a post-truth world will be the topic of exploration for the 2023 Cleveringa Address, to be held at the University of Sydney Business School on Monday 27 November.

A tradition of Leiden University, the Netherlands, the annual address on themes of freedom and the rule of law commemorates the courage of Rudolph Cleveringa, a Professor of Law imprisoned for a speech protesting the persecution of his Jewish colleagues during World War II.

The Embassy and the Consulate-General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Australia have invited Tom van Laer , Associate Professor of Narratology at the University of Sydney Business School, to deliver the 2023 Australian address.

"From Uncle Tom’s Cabin to Nepalese soap operas, my research examines how stories have changed people’s attitudes towards rights, freedom and responsibility - and what this means for modern challenges, including climate change and growing social disunity within Western democracies," Associate Professor van Laer said.

"At a time of great conflict over the narratives that make sense of our world, I am grateful to Leiden University and the Diplomatic Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands for this opportunity to speak about the power of stories to shape and change our reality."

Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Australia, Her Excellency Mrs Ardi Stoios Braken, said: "Across the globe, the Cleveringa address is considered an important annual event, reminding us of the courage of Professor Rudolph Cleveringa when he spoke out against the dismissal of his Jewish colleagues at Leiden University in 1940.

"I am proud of the collaboration on this commemoration between the representations of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Australia and the University of Sydney at this crucial time when the rule of law, freedom and human rights are under threat in so many places around the world."

Event Details



Monday 27 November

5.45pm: Doors open
6pm: Welcome
6.15-7pm: Cleveringa Address + Q&A
7-8pm: Reception

Case Study Lecture Theatre 2140, Level 2, Abercrombie Building (H70)
The University of Sydney Business School
Corner of Abercrombie St and Codrington St, Darlington

Registration essential

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