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KU Leuven awards five honorary doctorates

19 Nov 2015

As part of its Patron Saint’s Day celebrations, KU Leuven traditionally confers a number of honorary doctorates in recognition of extraordinary academic, social, or cultural achievements. On 10 February 2016, the university will award five honorary doctorates to people who excel in their domain.

As part of its Patron Saint’s Day celebrations, KU Leuven traditionally confers a number of honorary doctorates in recognition of extraordinary academic, social, or cultural achievements. On 10 February 2016, the university will award five honorary doctorates to people who excel in their domain.
Alessandro Baricco is a writer and cultural critic. His novels, including Silk and Ocean Sea, are appreciated by literary critics and a wide audience of book enthusiasts. In his essays, he shows himself to be a critical observer and witty chronicler of contemporary society. In his book The Barbarians, Baricco debunks the popular myth of the cultural apocalypse. He argues that our culture is not being destroyed, but simply mutating. In the age of Google, culture is no longer the prerogative of the cultural aristocracy. It has become everybody’s business. Professor Bart Van Den Bossche is the nominator of this honorary doctorate. 

 

 

 

 

Peter N. Bouckaert is the emergencies director of Human Rights Watch. He visits conflict zones to gather evidence of human rights violations. He has conducted investigations in, for instance, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. In the heat of the Arab Spring, he went to weigh up the situation in Libya and Syria. More recently, he has reported on the predicament of refugees in Greece and Eastern Europe. Peter Bouckaert has testified about his experiences and findings before the US Senate, the Council of Europe, and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. The nominator of this honorary doctorate is student representative Cedric D'Hondt.  
Professor Anantha P. Chandrakasan is a global authority in the field of electronic chip development. His research focuses on energy-efficient chips. These chips are particularly relevant today, because the emerging Internet of Things requires sensor chips that can function autonomously. Professor Chandrakasan is also renowned for his textbooks, papers, and conferences, through which he shares his work with fellow researchers and students. Some of his papers have become seminal in the field. Professor Chandrakasan was nominated by Professors Michiel Steyaert and Wim Dehaene. 

KU Leuven will award a joint honorary doctorate in the field of biomedical sciences. This honorary doctorate will be conferred on Professor Emmanuelle Charpentier (top) and on Professor Jennifer A. Doudna (bottom). The university wishes to honour them for their work in the field of genome editing. On the basis of fundamental research into the immune system of bacteria, they demonstrated that the CRISPR-Cas9 defence system could be harnessed to alter the genetic code in a targeted way. This discovery has revolutionised the methodology for studying the genome and opens unexpected possibilities for the treatment of genetic disorders. The nominators of this joint honorary doctorate are Professor Wim Robberecht and Professor Ludo Van Den Bosch. 

Sociologist and legal expert Carrie J. Menkel-Meadow specialises in international conflict management, feminist legal theory, and the ethics of law. She is a renowned mediator and has advised organisations such as the United Nations and the World Bank. Throughout her career, Professor Menkel-Meadow has trained lawyers, judges, diplomats, and mediators all over the world. She is a spokesperson for the voiceless and a role model for women worldwide.The nominators of this honorary doctorate are professors Alain Verbeke, Martin Euwema, and Koen Matthijs.