The former rector of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Caroline Pauwels, on Saturday received a Bronze Zinneke from Brussels Minister Sven Gatz in recognition of her work in promoting the city of Brussels, Belga News Agency reports.
Ms. Pauwels now joins personalities such as singer Angèle, jazz musician Toots Thielemans, cycling champion Eddy Merckx, footballer Vincent Kompany and choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker as recipients of the bronze figurine created by Tom Franzen.
Minister Gatz recalled that the Bronze Zinneke is awarded to persons who have contributed to Brussels’ global image and the promotion of the Belgian capital as a city that is, at the same time, cosmopolitan, popular, open, a laboratory of ideas and multilingual.
As VUB rector, Caroline Pauwels made sure the university’s reach extended far beyond the confines of its campus, on both the scientific and social planes, and made it into a “committed urban university,” the minister noted.
“Whether in the academic field, in policy setting or in her interviews, the Brussels factor has always been more than important in the thoughts and actions of Caroline Pauwels,” added Gatz, who is the minister responsible for the image of Brussels.
Ms. Pauwels, who suffers from cancer, resigned as VUB rector in February.