UAntwerp to confer honorary degrees on five leading researchers

Date: 13 December 2017

Introduction: Famous economist Jeffrey Sachs is among top names receiving honours on 29 March 2018.

The University of Antwerp will again confer a number of honorary degrees in 2018, just before the Easter holidays. The most prominent figure on the podium will be Jeffrey Sachs, the world-renowned American economist and authority on economic development and poverty reduction. Four other eminent scientists will also receive honorary degrees in Antwerp.

Professor Jeffrey Sachs (Columbia University, New York) helped lay the foundations for the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, later followed by the Sustainable Development Goals, which have advanced thinking on sustainability all around the world. Sachs worked as a special advisor to Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-Moon, the former Secretaries-General of the United Nations, for several years. He currently leads the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

Professor Sachs will receive the University of Antwerp’s honorary degree for general merit on Thursday 29 March. “We are really looking forward to his visit”, says Rector Herman Van Goethem. “Sachs has been on the Time 100 list of the world’s most influential people several times and is a world authority on economic development and poverty reduction. Our university has a long-standing commitment to fighting poverty, including through scientific research. Sachs’s visit is simply a huge bonus for our researchers and students.”

The leading economist will teach a masterclass during his stay in Antwerp, as will his fellow honorary doctors. In addition to Sachs, the University of Antwerp will also honour four other eminent scientists from around the world.

The Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences will present an honorary degree to Professor John F. Cryan (University College Cork). Cryan, who has already received numerous prizes for his work, studies the interaction between the brain, the gut and the microbiome and how this relates to stress and immune or psychological disorders.

The Department of Heritage Studies in the Faculty of Design Sciences will honour Professor Laurajane Smith (Australian National University). She has made a substantial contribution to the development of heritage and conservation into a fully-fledged research discipline.

Professor Upendra Baxi (University of Warwick) was nominated by the Faculty of Law. This prominent Indian constitutionalist, who is also an expert in the philosophy of Western law and the founder of a sociology of Indian law, has played a ground-breaking role in legal activism and training.

Finally, the nominee of the Faculty of Social Sciences is Professor Michael D. Slater (Ohio State University), a leading communication scientist whose research focuses on media effects and how they are created. In particular, his work examines the influence of media on beliefs and behaviour in the domain of public health.