Every year, the University of Antwerp awards honorary degrees to scientists and deserving people from Belgium or abroad. At the end of March 2023 they will visit Antwerp, and UAntwerp’s students and alumni will also benefit from their visit.
The conferral of honorary degrees is one of the highlights of the academic year. ‘First and foremost, awarding an honorary degree gives our own professors the chance to honour highly competent peers’, UAntwerp’s rector Herman Van Goethem says. ‘But it absolutely also benefits our students, and by extension the alumni and the professional field: all the honorary doctors give a masterclass to share their expertise. With these masterclasses, a wide audience can connect with top scientists from around the world.’
The 2023 honorary degrees will be awarded on Tuesday 28, Wednesday 29 and Thursday 30 March. Four foreign researchers will receive an honorary degree for scientific merit, and one laureate will receive an honorary degree for general merit
Pioneer in microfinance
The honorary degree for general merit goes to Roshaneh Zafar, a Pakistani development activist known for her financial empowerment for women. In 1996, Zafar was the first to set up a microfinance organisation in Pakistan: the Kashf Foundation. ‘In doing so, she has helped thousands of families in need out of financial trouble’, former US President Barack Obama said in a speech in 2010.
Zafar studied in the US, also at Yale University. In 1990, she started working at the World Bank in Pakistan. She founded Kashf in 1996, after which she won several awards and became a member of the UN advisory group on inclusive financial sectors.
Conferral of the honorary degree and masterclass: Tuesday 28 March at 8 p.m.
The Faculty of Design Sciences nominates Professor Luca Bertolini as an honorary doctor. Professor Bertolini works in the Urban Planning programme group and at the Centre for Urban Studies at the University of Amsterdam. He is best known for his work on Transit Oriented Development. This means that urban development is concentrated around public transport hubs. Bertolini’s contributions include both the conceptualisation of that idea – and its empirical application – and policy recommendations. This candidate’s nominator is Professor Thomas Vanoutrive.
Conferral of the honorary degree and masterclass: Wednesday 29 March 2023 at 10 a.m.
The science of entrepreneurship
The Faculty of Business and Economics nominates Professor Shaker A. Zahra from the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, as an honorary doctor. Professor Zahra pioneered the science behind entrepreneurship. His research has appeared in leading journals in his field and he became a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher. This is not the first time Professor Zahra has walked away with such a prestigious appointment. In addition to five honorary degrees, he has also received the Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research. This candidate’s nominator is Professor Ine Paeleman.
Conferral of the honorary degree and masterclass: Wednesday 29 March 2023 at 3 p.m.
The Faculty of Science nominates Professor Luis Liz-Marzán of the Basque Centre for Cooperative Research in Biomaterials in San Sebastián. Professor Liz-Marzán is recognised worldwide as an expert on the application of colloidal nanoparticles for nanoplasmonics. He was one of the pioneers in the colloidal synthesis and characterisation of these metal nanoparticles. Professor Liz-Marzán’s CV is quite impressive with an h-index of 143, over 77.000 citations, 2 ERC Advanced Grants and numerous prestigious scientific awards. This candidate’s nominator is Professor Sara Bals.
Conferral of the honorary degree and masterclass: Thursday 30 March 2023 at 10 a.m.
The relevance of the Middle Ages
The Faculty of Arts and Philosophy nominates Professor Daniel Lord Smail from the Department of History at Harvard University. Professor Smail is a medievalist, so he knows the Middle Ages like the back of his hand. Throughout his career, he has always been searching for the importance of that time period in our society today. He initiated new historical research that pays attention to both the relationship between power and social differences and between human beings and material objects,. In his research, urban space is interpreted as a material object. This doctor is a pioneer in the booming study of the history of emotions. This candidate’s nominator is Professor Jeroen Puttevils.
Conferral of the honorary degree and masterclass: Thursday 30 March 2023 at 3 p.m.