Jozef Ritzen

Professorial Fellow, International Economics of Science, Technology and Higher Education at UNU-MERIT and Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Jozef Ritzen, a Dutch national, is professor at Maastricht University at MERIT, director of the International Policy Network of IZA (Bonn) and chair of Empower European Universities.

Before taking his current positions in February 2011, he was president of Maastricht University (from 2003 onwards). During his period in Office, Maastricht University became one of the leading universities in learning and in internationalization. This was after he served as vice president of the World Bank's Development Economics Department. He assumed this position in August 1999. In July 2001 he assumed the position vice president of the World Bank's Human Development Network, which advises the institution and its client countries on innovative approaches to improving health, education and social protection. He joined the Bank as special adviser to the Human Development Network in September 1998.


Prior to coming to the Bank, he was Minister of Education, Culture, and Science of The Netherlands, one of the longest-serving Ministers of Education in the world. During his term, he enacted a series of major reforms throughout the Dutch education system. Jozef Ritzen has also made significant contributions to agencies such as UNESCO and OECD, especially in the field of education and social cohesion. Prior to his appointment as Minister in 1989, he held academic appointments with Nijmegen University and Erasmus University in The Netherlands, and the University of California-Berkeley and the Robert M. LaFollette Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the United States.


He obtained a master's degree in physics engineering in 1970 from the University of Technology in Delft, and a PhD in economics in 1977 from Erasmus University in Rotterdam. His dissertation on education, economic growth, and income distribution earned him the Winkler Prins prize.


He has written or co-authored eleven books. Many articles written or co-authored by him are published in the fields of education, economics, public finance and development economics. His latest book is: "A Chance for European Universities" (Amsterdam University Press, 2010).


Paper prepared for the Seminar: A Renaissance for Social Mobility and its Significance for the Bridge towards Postsecondary Education


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