The theme of the Caribbean Student Congress is ‘Reach out’. Lectures like ‘Wat nou succes?’ (‘What success?’) by actor and comedian Jandino Asporaat and ‘Succesvolle Antillianen in Rotterdam’ (‘Successful Antilleans in Rotterdam’) by psychiatrist David Vinkers should inspire the students. “We want to show that anyone can be successful, regardless of their background”, tells Petrus. “Students with a Caribbean background often think that they are one step behind the rest.” Caribbean students often get the impression that they are not accepted for jobs due to their background, explains Petrus. “We want to change this mindset. Get out there, build a network, then you really have a good chance.”
The organiser of the event is Stichting Caribische Belastingwinkel.Chairman Germaine Rekwest is the creator of the congress. She also works at the Erasmus School of Law as coordinator of the field Caribbean Tax Law. “We are seeing that increasing numbers of Caribbean students have job opportunities in the fiscal sector”, says Petrus. For example, last week I visited one of the sponsors that has placed diversity policy at the top of its agenda: the Ministry of Finance.” There, Petrus saw that the staff are still mainly white, but that they intend to change this. “The participants in my Tax Law course are extremely diverse. Caribbean students, Islamic students, and more, but that is not yet reflected in the workplace.” According to her, this is ‘definitely not’ because of a lack of suitable personnel.
The organisers of the Caribbean Student Congress believe that companies are opening their eyes. Now they want to inspire the students to grab their chance for success. Currently, 80 of the 120 tickets have been sold. Registrations are coming from all over the Netherlands. “But there is still plenty of space. Everyone is welcome.”