ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu with His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands (left) and at her alma mater, Leiden University (right).

Dr. Fang Liu, ICAO’s Secretary General, has conducted a mission to the Netherlands where she took part in discussions with His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and helped to inspire students in aviation law during a lecture and Q&A at Leiden University.

In her meeting with His Majesty King Willem-Alexander, Dr. Liu discussed the importance of civil aviation to the global economy and the role that the Netherlands plays in promoting the sector.

With respect to aviation development concerns, and the need for greater investments in infrastructure and human capital to optimise future capacity, Dr. Liu expressed ICAO’s hope that a larger portion of the funds made available by the Netherlands, in the form of Official Development Assistance (ODA), could in the future be directed to more aviation-related projects, including ICAO’s No Country Left Behind initiative.

She also emphasised the need to promote aviation as an attractive sector to entice the next generation of young professionals from the Netherlands and other countries.

Another important stop on Dr. Liu’s mission concerned her visit to Leiden University, her alma mater. The Secretary General provided a motivational speech to the new Advanced Leiden Law Master (LLM) students of Air and Space Law, underlining the importance of civil aviation as a driver for the growth of local, regional and the global economy, its achievements as one of the most standardised of human activities, and the message of peace and prosperity ICAO and its Convention have conveyed since 1944.

Dr. Liu also remarked upon the continuous growth of civil aviation activities, and the need to properly address them through the ICAO Next Generation of Aviation Professionals (NGAP) programme, among others. Dr. Liu encouraged Dutch students and young aviation professionals from the Netherlands to join ICAO this November for its inaugural NGAP Global Summit, an event which will also include a student-focused Model ICAO Forum.

“The answer to many of aviation’s human resources challenges lies with helping young people such as yourselves appreciate the merits of civil aviation as an attractive career option,” Dr. Liu noted. “We must ensure that barriers to entry for new aviation professionals are minimised and that sufficient training is available. ICAO is addressing these challenges today through our NGAP and Young Aviation Professionals Programmes, in conjunction with our Global Aviation Training Office.”

The Lieden community expressed their appreciation of the importance of increasing engagement between academia and the air transport sector to optimise future programmes and opportunities.