VU Amsterdam celebrates 140th anniversary and presents honorary doctorates

Honours for the Speaker of the Dutch House of Representatives, Khadija Arib, and Professors Ernst Fehr and Anne-Marie Slaughter

10/01/2020 | 11:45 AM

On the occasion of its 140th anniversary, VU Amsterdam will, on 6 November, award honorary doctorates to the President/Speaker of the Dutch House of Representatives Khadija Arib, Professor of Behavioural Economics Ernst Fehr and Professor of International Relations and Political Science Anne-Marie Slaughter.

Khadija Arib: working for an open dialogue between people with different perspectives and backgrounds
The Speaker of the Dutch House of Representatives, Khadija Arib, has been nominated for her contribution to the integration of migrant groups into our society, her commitment to democratic values, and her focus on the voices of minority groups. The Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Karen van Oudenhoven-Van der Zee, is very proud that Arib has accepted this honorary doctorate: ‘Khadija Arib has always worked to improve the position of migrants in the Netherlands. Her approach is unique in that she is not reflexively critical of policies that seek to deter migration or oblige migrants to conform to the prevailing norms of society. Her unique achievements are also a perfect fit with the identity of our university, where we seek to promote open dialogue between people with different perspectives and from diverse backgrounds, based on the principle that we should be able to exchange views on anything, including more extreme points of view, as long as this is done in a respectful and democratic manner.’

Khadija Arib has been the Speaker of the Dutch House of Representatives since January 2016. She has been a member of the House since 1998, with one brief interruption. As an MP, she has served as a member of the Committee for Health, Welfare and Sport, and the Committee for Security and Justice.

Ernst Fehr: trust and cooperation between people
The Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences and the School of Business and Economics (SBE) have nominated professor and behavioural economist Ernst Fehr for his research into important social and societal phenomena, such as equality, reciprocity and social norms.

According to his nominators, the Dean of the SBE Arjen van Witteloostuijn and Professor of Social Psychology Paul van Lange, Professor Fehr’s research is the perfect fit with the interdisciplinary and social character of behavioural and economic research at VU Amsterdam: ‘Professor Fehr’s research is tremendously relevant to our modern economic life because it focuses on socially relevant questions about opposing inequality and the role of processes from neurobiology and behavioural science in trust and cooperation between people.’

Anne-Marie Slaughter: non-governmental networks
Professor of International Relations and Political Science and Director of the New America think tank, Anne-Marie Slaughter was due to receive an honorary doctorate from VU Amsterdam on 2 April this year, but this was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. She will instead be awarded the honorary doctorate at the 140th Dies Natalis. The former advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be honoured for her academic work at the interface between law and political science and, in particular, her research into the role that non-governmental networks play alongside traditional state relations in international politics.

Dies Natalis (Foundation Day)
The Dies Natalis is the day on which VU Amsterdam was founded; in other words, the university’s anniversary. Although VU Amsterdam’s actual anniversary falls on 20 October, the celebrations have been moved to Friday 6 November, this year to be closer to the 100th anniversary of the death of Abraham Kuyper (8 November), in honour of his status as a figure who continues to inspire us today.