His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands during their visit to Savannah State University on June 11, 2024
His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands during their visit to Savannah State University on June 11, 2024

King and Queen of the Netherlands Attend Several Events at Savannah State University During Official Working Visit to United States

Press Release from Savannah State University: The Dutch delegation attended science, business symposia and cultural events on the SSU campus.

His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands selected Savannah State University as part of their official working visit to the United States on June 11, where the Royal Couple and their delegation spent more than two hours on campus experiencing events and activities attended by nearly 500 community members and students. SSU was the only institution of higher learning selected to be part of this historic visit to the United States.

Interim President Cynthia Robinson Alexander is grateful for the partnership with the World Trade Center Savannah which resulted in the initial introduction to the Dutch delegation. President Alexander shared that as early as December 2023, discussions began regarding Savannah State University developing strong ties with the Netherlands and Dutch companies and universities. SSU learned in March that the University was chosen by the Royal House of the Netherlands to host His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima. The delegation was impressed with the institution’s history as the first institution of higher education in Savannah, its status as the first public HBCU in Georgia as well as SSU’s strong marine science program.

“We are profoundly honored to have hosted the Royal Couple and showcase SSU’s dynamic students and faculty as well as our world-class programs. Yesterday’s visit is the first phase of SSU’s commitment with the Netherlands to foster global collaboration and address critical issues through academic excellence and cultural and student exchange. Future engagements will include identifying internships and jobs with Netherlands’ companies for our world-class students,” said Interim President Alexander.

Key Highlights of the Visit

Official Greetings:

Chancellor of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia Sonny Perdue, Interim President Alexander and SSU’s First Gentleman, Mr. Charles Alexander, welcomed the Royal Couple at the University’s landmark building- historic Hill Hall.

King and Queen of the Netherlands Attend Several Events at Savannah State University During Official Working Visit to United States
Photo courtesy of Savannah State University
After receiving official greetings from Mr. Savannah State Michael Taylor, Miss Savannah State, Nadia Qualls, and alumnus Mr. Roy Jackson, Interim President Alexander provided a brief history of the University and then escorted the delegation to the Marine Sciences Symposium.

Marine Sciences Symposium:

The symposium, demonstrating SSU’s cutting-edge research and commitment to marine and environmental sciences, opened with a warm welcome from SSU’s Dean Mustafa, followed by sessions on Coastal Resiliency and the Blue Economy with presentations by SSU’s Dr. Pride and Dutch Representative, Marcella Kneppers.

Going Global International Black Business Symposium:

The Going Global International Black Business Symposium was opened by Moncello Stewart, Chairman of the Greater Savannah Black Chamber of Commerce, followed by Netherlander Representative, Melle Bakker, who introduced the panel participants. The event provided a dynamic entrepreneurship panel discussion with insights from Dr. Carl Hanna (CEO and Co-Founder, Evva Health), Ms. Marronda Lumpkin-Lotson (Director of Business Opportunity, City of Savannah), and Ms. Vernell Stewart (Director of the Women’s Business Center). Attendees engaged in a lively Q-and-A session before a presentation on European expansion by the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency, led by Renato Turelli and Esraa Muhammad. The symposium also included a competitive business pitch session, featuring Ashford Tea Company (Wayne Ashford) and the Performer Pocket (“C.J. the D.J.” Jackson), followed by jury deliberations and feedback. The event concluded with a student presentation by Darryl Green, Senior Mass Communications Major at SSU and a networking luncheon, providing ample opportunities for meaningful connections and collaborations.

King and Queen of the Netherlands Attend Several Events at Savannah State University During Official Working Visit to United States
Photo courtesy of Savannah State University
His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands attend a symposium during their visit to Savannah State University on June 11, 2024.

Cultural Heritage Event at King-Frazier Center:

The Royal Couple then attended SSU’s Cultural Heritage Event, a vibrant celebration featuring the Student Government Association that included performances by the SSU Jazz Ensemble and collegiate members of the National Panhellenic Council. The Royal Couple happily engaged with the students, highlighting the importance of cultural exchange and mutual respect.

King and Queen of the Netherlands Attend Several Events at Savannah State University During Official Working Visit to United States
Photo courtesy of Savannah State University
His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands join in during a cultural heritage presentation during their visit to the Savannah State University campus on June 11, 2024.

Artificial Intelligence Symposium:

SSU’s day of events also included an Artificial Intelligence Symposium, highlighting the university’s commitment to technological innovation and research. The event began with Interim Provost Richard Miller and Ms. Carlotta Bekker welcoming attendees and setting the stage for a series of insightful presentations. Professor Frank Mendelson discussed the responsible use of generative A.I. in the classroom, followed by Dr. Kisha Aites, who highlighted A.I.'s role in reshaping teacher preparation. Dr. Abhinandan Chowdhury presented on A.I. and machine learning's impact on cancer care outcomes, addressing systemic bias and disparity. The symposium also featured an international perspective with Dr. Maarten Lamers from Leiden University and Dr. Anne-Elisabeth Courrier from Emory University, who discussed the ethical impact assessment of A.I. decision-making. After a brief break, Dr. David Handler from Phillips shared advancements in cardiology ultrasound technology. The day continued with a joint presentation by experts from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Maastricht University on A.I.'s role in healthcare transformation and collaborative approaches to A.I. development. Matthew Gosselin of Xebia concluded the presentations, leading to the symposium’s closing remarks and preparation for the royal couple's reception.

About Savannah State University:

Established in 1890, Savannah State University is the first public historically black college and university in Georgia and the first institution of higher learning in the city of Savannah. Students select majors from 30 undergraduate and five graduate programs in four colleges — Business Administration, Education, Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, and Sciences and Technology. Learn more by visiting savannahstate.edu.

About: His Majesty King Willem-Alexander/Her Majesty Queen Máxima

Follow the Royal visit on the Dutch Embassy’s social media channels using @NLintheUSA

     

Heike Currie

Connect Savannah Executive Editor
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