Luxembourg’s Prime Minister receives honorary degree
The Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker, is to receive an honorary degree from the University of Sheffield next week (16 July 2012).
The Luxembourg Government funds the University of Sheffield’s Chair in Luxembourg Studies, enabling the University to be one of the very few places in the world (outside of Luxembourg itself) where students have the opportunity to study Luxembourgish language and culture. The funding is also fostering the expansion of the Centre for Luxembourg Studies.
One of the most influential political figures in modern Europe, Mr Juncker is the longest serving democratically elected head of any government in the world and has served twice as President of the European Council.
The entire country of Luxembourg has roughly the same population as the city of Sheffield and the capital, Luxembourg City, is a former steel city which has forged itself a new future after the decline of industry. Mr Juncker’s father worked in the steel works and the Prime Minister is looking forward to visiting Sheffield for the ceremony.
He said: “I am truly delighted to receive an honorary degree from this dynamic community of teachers and scholars. I share the research-centred University of Sheffield’s desire to discover solutions together. Actually, that is also a perfect normative definition of open-minded politics – in Britain, in Luxembourg, in Europe. But politics are not always that perfect. It is therefore an even better motto for open-minded research. Because we appreciate open-minded academic thirst, the Luxembourg Government is proud to fund the Sheffield chair in Luxembourg studies. It adds a new connection between Luxembourg and Sheffield whose shared steel heritage has enabled both to become pioneers in new technologies. I am looking forward to meeting the professors and students in the beautiful City of Sheffield.”
All the ceremonies throughout the week are being live streamed in high definition in a UK first offering offering exceptionally clear, crisp pictures with vivid colours and up to five times more detail.
Mr Juncker has played a key role in international financial politics and in a series of major finance organisations. From 1989 to 1995, he was Governor of the World Bank, a position he relinquished on becoming prime minister. His profile in Europe grew during his chairmanship of the Council of Economic and Financial Affairs, and in 1991 he was one of the principal architects of the Maastricht Treaty, notably of those sections on monetary and economic union in Europe.
He was famously dubbed ‘the hero of Dublin’, following his successful mediation in Dublin between President Chirac and Chancellor Kohl on the issue of the Stability and Growth Pact. In addition to his role as Governor of the International Monetary Fund and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Mr Juncker has gone on to preside over some of the more recent economic challenges facing Europe in his capacity as president of the Eurogroup of Eurozone finance ministers, the body charged with making the key decisions on Eurozone crisis management.
Kristine Horner, Chair in Luxembourg Studies at the University of Sheffield, said: “Because the University of Sheffield is the only university in the world where the Luxembourgish language can be studied from scratch, so the students are doing something unique and pioneering. Opportunities to visit and even spend a semester abroad in Luxembourg provide students with firsthand experience of the multilingual and multicultural environment in which Luxembourgish speakers live and work. Our students develop intercultural insights and skills that will benefit them long after they complete their studies.”
Professor Neil Bermel, Head of the University of Sheffield’s School of Languages and Cultures, said: “In just three years, it's already ensured that Luxembourg Studies at the University of Sheffield has become highly visible within the School's research and teaching landscape at all levels, and has succeeded in securing a reputation for excellence, both in the academic community and amongst potential students.”
School of Languages and Cultures
Centre for Luxembourg Studies
Luxembourg Studies programmes
The University of Sheffield
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