Climate scientist and youth researcher receive honorary doctorates

Utrecht University awards two honorary doctorates on Opening of the Academic Year

During the Opening of the Academic Year 2020-2021, Utrecht University will award two honorary doctorates, to climate scientist Valerie Masson-Delmotte and community psychologist Hirokazu Yoshikawa. In their own way, both researchers have shown that science is an indispensable factor in solving issues such as climate change, inequality and immigration. By awarding these honorary doctorates, Utrecht University wishes to recognise these researchers' contributions to the social debate.

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Encouraging early childhood development

Portrait of Hirokazu Yoshikawa
Prof. Hirokazu Yoshikawa.

Hirokazu Yoshikawa is a University Professor of New York University Steinhardt and co-director of NYU's Global TIES for Children Center. Yoshikawa conducts research into the effects of public policy and programmes regarding the issues of immigration, early childhood development and the reduction of inequality and poverty. Among other matters, Yoshikawa evaluates the effectiveness of programmes that, for example, provide financial support for young families with children or encourage child development in refugee camps.

Yoshikawa has successfully combined a highly impressive academic career with a significant contribution to national debate and and with substantial social impact

And it's not just Utrecht University who recognises the value of the work he performs, as he also developed a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) together with SDG Academy and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network. He has been an advisor to organisations such as UNESCO, the World Bank, UNICEF and the Inter-American Development Bank . In the United States, he was also appointed as a member of the National Board for Education Sciences by ex-president Barack Obama.

Yoshikawa's research and efforts are perfectly in line with the objectives for the strategic theme Dynamics of Youth, which examines how we can help children to become independent adults capable of successfully adapting to our dynamic and ever-changing world and realising their full potential.

Climate research at a global level

Valérie Masson-Delmotte. Image: CNRS News

Valeria Masson-Delmotte is a climate researcher working at the Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences (LSEC). She has a physics background and her main focus is on the relationship between CO2 emissions and the temperature of the Earth's crust. Her research incorporates a wide variety of fields and disciplines: she compares data from ice cores en results of climate models, to get a better understanding of the current climate change.

Valerie Masson-Delmotte is a role model in the scientific world and is closely involved with the social side of climate research

Masson-Delmotte also serves as a researcher on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a prominent scientific advisory body. The IPCC is a leading global authority when it comes to issues involving both academia and society, and provides firm scientific foundations for global climate policy. For example, the IPCC - and therefore also Masson-Delmotte - played a substantial role in establishing the Paris Agreement in 2015, which aims to keep climate change within a manageable range. It's no fluke that her name is associated with the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, which was won by Al Gore, but thanks in part to her role in the IPCC.

Masson-Delmotte's multidisciplinary research is both socially and politically relevant and fully in line with the strategic theme of Pathways to Sustainability, which concentrates on achieving a sustainable future by means of multidisciplinary research. Her work also shows that scientists are still a part of society, and that solutions to societal issues require solid scientific foundations. Establishing and maintaining this essential academic groundwork is the key purpose of her research.

Opening Academic Year

The celebratory ceremony to start the academic year 2020-2021 will take place on the 31st of August on several locations. Because of the coronavirus, the seats will be limited. However, there will be a livestream of all ceremonies and lectures - including the honorary doctorates. For more information, check the link below. All the livestreams will be available on our homepage on the day itself.  

More information
Opening Academic Year