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University of Basel

Eight Honorary Doctors at the Dies Academicus of the University of Basel

Prof. Dr. h.c. Andrea Schenker-Wicki
“The courage to tell the truth is essential for intellectual progress,” said Prof. Andrea Schenker-Wicki, President of the University of Basel, in her speech at the Dies academicus 2022. (Image: University of Basel, Christian Flierl)

In an official ceremony, the University of Basel celebrated its 562nd Dies Academicus and awarded honorary doctorates to eight individuals from academia and society. Among them were psychologist Ahmad Mansour, attorney Philip Grant, and former National Councilor Christoph Eymann. Other recipients of the honor included philosopher Herta Nagl-Docekal, researchers Martine and Jean-Paul Clozel, economist Thomas F. Rutherford, and psychologist Claudi Bockting.

25 November 2022

Prof. Dr. h.c. Andrea Schenker-Wicki
“The courage to tell the truth is essential for intellectual progress,” said Prof. Andrea Schenker-Wicki, President of the University of Basel, in her speech at the Dies academicus 2022. (Image: University of Basel, Christian Flierl)

The Faculty of Theology awarded an honorary doctorate to Ahmad Mansour, a psychologist and author from Berlin who is one of the most high-profile advocates for understanding between religious and ethnic communities in German-speaking Europe.

The Faculty of Law awarded its honorary doctorate to Dr. Philip Grant, founder of the non-governmental organization Trial International, which is dedicated to bringing those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, sexual violence, torture, and enforced disappearances to justice.

With its honorary doctorate, the Faculty of Medicine recognized former Basel Director of Education and National Councilor Dr. Christoph Eymann for his dedication to the University of Basel and his contributions toward making the Basel region a global leader in biomedical research and innovation.

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences awarded an honorary doctorate to Professor Herta Nagl-Docekal, one of today’s most significant philosophers. She has succeeded in bringing European traditions of thought to bear on the questions of our time. The Viennese philosopher is also regarded as a pioneer of feminist philosophy.

Dr. Jean-Paul Clozel and Dr. Martine Clozel received honorary doctorates from the Faculty of Science. As researchers and co-founders of the companies Actelion and Idorsia, they have facilitated the development of innovative drugs and made scientific and entrepreneurial contributions to the Basel region’s global reputation as a preeminent research location and life sciences cluster.

American economist Professor Thomas F. Rutherford was pleased to accept the honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Business and Economics. He was recognized for his contributions in the areas of international trade, energy markets and environmental economics. Rutherford has developed numerous equilibrium models and applied them to many current and complex issues.

The Faculty of Psychology awarded its honorary doctorate to Professor Claudi Bockting. The Dutch psychologist has identified potentially modifiable mechanisms that contribute to the development, persistence and recurrence of widespread mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety disorders.

Dies talk on courage

President Andrea Schenker-Wicki delivered her Dies talk entitled Über den Mut. during the ceremony at Basel’s Martinskirche. In this time of crises and growing insecurity, she emphasized universities’ responsibility for teaching students how to manage risks and uncertainties: “We need well-educated, innovative, entrepreneurial graduates who have the courage to want to continue building our society and our nation’s prosperity. But we also need courageous people who will help to unite a society that is increasingly divided,” she said.

Pascale Baeriswyl wins Alumni Prize

Pascale Baeriswyl
Ambassador Pascale Baeriswyl, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the UN, receives the Alumni Award 2022 from Dr. Roland Bühlmann, President of AlumniBasel. (Photo: University of Basel, Christian Flierl)

The University of Basel’s Alumni Prize 2022 was awarded to Ambassador Pascale Baeriswyl. Since 2020, she has been Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations in New York and will also represent Switzerland on the UN Security Council for the next two years.

Baeriswyl is receiving the Alumni Prize for her work as a top diplomat representing Switzerland on the international stage and her significance as an inspiration and role model for the younger generation.

University of Basel prizes

Dr. Matthieu Queloz
Dr. Matthieu Queloz was awarded this year's Amerbach Prize. (Photo: University of Basel, Christian Flierl)

A number of other honors were conferred at the Dies Academicus. The Amerbach Prize, sponsored by the University of Basel, was awarded at the recommendation of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences to Dr. Matthieu Queloz. He received the prize for his doctoral thesis, “The Practical Origins of Ideas: Genealogy as Conceptual Reverse Engineering”, in which he reimagined the tradition of philosophical genealogy from Nietzsche to the present.

The University of Basel’s Sports Prize, sponsored by Basler Versicherung AG, went to Rahel Arnold, MSc, a PhD student in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. Arnold was the 2022 Swiss Elite Figures Champion for Artistic Roller Skating.

The Emilie-Louise-Frey Prize, which supports junior female scientists and is sponsored by the Basel chapter of the Swiss Association of University Women, went to Dr. des. Delphine Conzelmann for her doctoral dissertation, “Bird of Many Plumes. Conceptions and Applications of Authority in the Thought of William of Saint-Thierry”, in the Faculty of Theology. In it, she mapped out the rich range of concepts of authority and innovation in the works of Cistercian theologian William of Saint-Thierry, thereby making an important contribution to the study of the nascent Scholastic period.

Faculty prizes

The following faculty prizes were presented to a number of junior researchers for outstanding dissertations and studies:

  • The Faculty of Theology Prize to Dr. Helge Bezold and Dr. Silke Radosh-Hinder
  • The Faculty of Law Prize, sponsored by the law firm Vischer, to Dr. Laura Macula
  • The Faculty of Medicine Prize for the best PhD dissertation, sponsored by the Margot and Erich Goldschmidt & Peter René Jacobson Foundation, to Dr. Fabienne Decrue; the Faculty of Medicine Prize for best dissertation written to obtain a medical doctorate, sponsored by the University Hospitals, to Dr. Raoul-Dominique Giger
  • The Humanities Prize of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, sponsored by the L. and Th. La Roche Foundation, to Dr. David Misteli
  • The Faculty of Science prize, sponsored by Adobe Research (Schweiz) AG, to Dr. Mudit Sinhal and Dr. Natasha Tomm
  • The Faculty of Business and Economics prize, sponsored by the Basler Kantonalbank Foundation for the promotion of economics research and teaching at the University of Basel, to Dr. Véra Zabrodina
  • The Faculty of Psychology’s Steven Karger Prize, sponsored by the medical and scientific publisher Karger, to Sarah Kuhn, MSc

Other honors

The Young Talent Prize of the Schwizerhüsli student association, sponsored by the Ferdinand Neeracher-Pfrunder Foundation, was awarded to Marcelle Saameli, MSc, of the Faculty of Psychology.


Further information

Matthias Geering, University of Basel, Head of Communications & Marketing, phone: +41 61 207 35 75, mobile: +41 79 269 70 71, email: matthias.geering@unibas.ch

Images

Photos of the ceremony at Basel’s Martinskirche will be available in the Media Database from Friday afternoon, 25 November 2022.

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