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Take inspiration from Le petit prince

Inspiration Booklet by UCM student

“Tips for books, trips and videos to find new answers in new times”, reads the subheading of the Inspiration Booklet, compiled by University College student Dirk Janssen, Youth Representative of the Netherlands to the United Nations. He has collected tips from people who are a part of Worldconnectors, a platform of opinion leaders in the public, business, policy, civil and political arenas. Why? To inspire his peers to think about the world around them and the problems faced by modern society. “No leaders, politicians or influential think tanks can hand us the answers to social, environmental, spiritual and economic crises on a plate. Young people need to realise that our future is at stake. Do we want to envisage, shape and realise our own future? If we do, we must understand our global society. I hope this booklet will facilitate this process.”

The contributors are highly diverse, from the director of the international development organisation Cordaid to a PhD candidate in economics at the University of Amsterdam. The writer Naema Tahir recommends Le petit prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: “It deals with exploring new cultures. The little prince in the book travels from planet to planet and asks philosophical questions. For me the book represents the migrant and the traveller in all of us.”

And Karen van Oudenhoven-van der Zee, a psychology professor at the University of Groningen, thinks everybody should read Five minds for the future by Howard Gardner. “He describes the mindsets that fit the needs of modern, multicultural societies. The respectful mind and the ethical mind in particular are underemphasised in current educational systems.”

Janssen himself recommends Geert Mak’s De hond van Tišma, wat als Europa klapt? “I recommended it particularly to my fellow peers who are like me, in our twenties. Though it’s short, the book puts forward several of the main struggles and issues our generation needs to be able to address and formulate an answer to, if we want to improve our Europe.”

The Inspiration Booklet can be downloaded from



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