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University of Basel

28 November 2014

Dies Academicus 2014 at the University of Basel: Honorary Doctorate for ICRC President Peter Maurer

On Friday (28 November 2014) the University of Basel commemorated its Dies Academicus with the traditional ceremony - for the 554th time in its history. During the ceremony Peter Maurer, ICRC president and former head of the Swiss mission to the UN, received an Honorary Doctorate. Further six Honorary Doctorates were awarded to Bosnian author and literary scholar Dževad Karahasan, Actelion co-founder Walter Fischli, congress organizer Beat Löffler as well as to three U.S. scholars: psychologist Terrie E. Moffitt, theologian Thomas Troeger and economist Laurence Korlikoff.

The Honorary Doctorate of the Faculty of Law was awarded to Dr. Peter Maurer, former head of the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UN Office in New York, later state secretary of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and since 2012 president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Maurer significantly contributed to the consolidation of the human rights and gave Switzerland a voice in this process. In addition, he was involved in establishing the UN Human Rights Council and thus strengthened the rights of people in need worldwide.

Important Bosnian voice

The Faculty of Humanities awarded its Honorary Doctorate to the theater scholar, publicist and author Prof. Dževad Karahasan from Bosnia-Herzegovina. He represents one of the most important voices of his country. His work discusses the cultural and spiritual aspects of Europe’s Christian and Islamic tradition.

The Honorary Doctorate of the Faculty of Science was awarded to Dr. Walter Fischli, co-founder of the biopharmaceutical company Actelion. He promoted the search for new substances and thus facilitated the development of novel drugs for the therapy of pulmonary arterial hypertension.

MA Beat Löffler was awarded with the Faculty of Medicine’s Honorary Doctorate. Among many other achievements, he established the Conference and the Foundation for Clinical Nanomedicine in Basel and thus increased the city’s international reputation in research. In doing so, he managed to join together scientists, doctors, politicians and economists in projects in the field of medicine.

Three U.S. scholars awarded

Three further Honorary Doctorates of the University of Basel were awarded to U.S. researchers. The psychologist Prof. Terrie E. Moffitt from Duke University and the King’s College in London was honored by the Faculty of Psychology for her research in the fields of developmental criminology, gene-environment interaction and the development of mental health.

The theologian Prof. Thomas Troeger from Yale Divinity School in New Haven received the Honorary Doctorate from the Faculty of Theology. He is one of the most distinguished theorists on preaching and religious communication in the U.S.

Economist Prof. Laurence Kotlikoff from the University of Boston was awarded Honorary Doctorate by the Faculty of Business and Economics for his important contribution to the field of finance. His work deals with the financial sustainability of states, pension plans and health insurances and the intergenerational contract in general.

Speech and Early Career Awards

Rector Antonio Loprieno held the Dies speech with the German title “Von offener Universität”. Following the ceremony, the Rector and the Master of the Academic Guild invited their guests to the traditional banquet at the Stadtcasino.

A number of other awards were bestowed on early career researchers for their outstanding papers: The Amerbach Prize of the Faculty of Medicine went to Patrick Gubser MD PhD, Dr. des. Florian Wöller received the prize of the Faculty of Theology, Dr. Stephanie Barbara Leinhardt and Dr. Andreas Felix Müller were honored by the Faculty of Law as well as Dr. med. Tobias Schön by the Faculty of Medicine. The award of the Faculty of Humanities went to Dr. phil. Andreas Bürki, while Dr. phil. Benjamin Daniel Towbin and Dr. phil. Chrisitan Philipp Scheller received the award of the Faculty of Science. Dr. Samuel Häfner was awarded by the Faculty of Law and the Steven Karger Prize of the Faculty of Psychology was bestowed on both Dr. phil. Nicolas Berkowitsch and Dr. med. Dr. phil. Nils Hadziselimovic.

The University’s Sports Award was awarded to the snowboarder Carla Somaini for her silver medal in the discipline slopestyle and her fifth rank in the discipline halfpipe at the winter Universiade in Trentino (Italy) back in December 2013. The Credit Suisse Award for Best Teaching went to Dr. Andrew Gloster from the Faculty of Psychology for his seminar “Acceptance and Committment Therapy”. Benjamin Bastian received the Junior Research Award from the fraternity “Schwizerhüsli”.


Further Information

Dr. Beat Münch, University of Basel, phone: 061 267 30 32, cell: 079 322 47 54, email: beat.muench@unibas.ch

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