Profile Alexander Wirtz - Chairman Dutch National Committee
College: UWC Adriatic 94-96
Current: Partner Quintel Intelligence
What is UWC? It feels like taking the famous 'red pill' from the movie the Matrix. How can you compare life before and after?
“Ever since I got back from the UWCAd in 1996, I have been a volunteer for the UWC movement in The Netherlands. I was a member of the mentoring, alumni and selections focus groups. For a bit I was chairman of selections, an incredibly rewarding position with a lot of responsibility. There are many other volunteering occasions outside UWC, but UWC has definitely been a mainstay. This is one way for me to contribute to a better world.”
“More importantly I hope to make a contribution to getting us as far as possible away from the catastrophic course society is on with global warming. I ended up co-founding a little company, Quintel Intelligence, that aims to facilitate the debate in society on the energy transition to a more sustainable energy system. We have created free, open source, online models that anyone can use to explore alternative energy futures for their country, province, city or neighbourhood. This company explicitly exists to speed up this process and make sure it proceeds in the right direction, with a democratic mandate. We have been an integral part of several step taken in this direction in The Netherlands, both at a national and regional level. Because we try to be as transparent and objective as possible, we get along well with all sides of the debate. Nonetheless, I have always viewed ourselves as people fighting the good fight. As radicals.”
“The UWC education made all the difference. I take 'education' in the broader sense of the word. Even more than my teachers it was my fellow students who showed me a level of civic engagement I had never encountered before. If I am completely honest, at some level I have always felt like my selection and subsequent decision to send me to Duino had been a lucky mistake and I have been trying hard to prove worthy of the honour since then. In practice that has meant asking myself the question "If I don't engage with this or that, who will? What right do I have to an opinion if I don't at least try and make a difference?". I am not a natural leader, far from it, but sometimes you just have to step up.”