University of Hasselt awards honorary degree to Jane Goodall
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    University of Hasselt awards honorary degree to Jane Goodall

    Dr Jane Goodall, DBE © Vincent Calmel

    The University of Hasselt is to award an honorary degree to Dr Jane Goodall, the renowned biologist, researcher and champion of the chimpanzee.

    Dr Goodall has made the study of wild chimpanzees in African her life’s work, ever since she first arrived in Tanzania in 1960. Her work since then has expanded from scientific research in primatology to cover the problems of conservation.

    With this honorary degree, we want to pay tribute to Dr. Goodall’s work and boundless commitment to nature conservation and animal welfare,” said Luc De Schepper, rector of Hasselt University. “Dr Goodall not only inspires our students and colleagues in the field of biology, her work is an inspiration to all scientists. The 40 years she has spent studying the social behaviour and family life of chimpanzees have been absolutely ground-breaking and the research methods she developed, have become the standard.”

    The Jane Goodall Institute was set up in 1977 to raise awareness of the problems of chimpanzees under threat, and of conservation issues in general. The Institute now has 28 chapters worldwide, including the Jane Goodall Institute Belgium. Among its activities is the Roots and Shoots programme, which encourages the planting of trees in Belgium, each of which is matched by a tree planted to add to chimp habitat in Africa.

    Dr Goodall inspires both young and old, and makes people aware that every individual matters when addressing global challenges such as biodiversity loss and climate change. We are therefore very honoured to welcome her to our Hasselt University Ecotron in the Hoge Kempen National Park,” said Rector De Schepper. “The Ecotron consists of 13 high-tech ecosystem chambers in which we imitate future climate. They offer us an insight into the true impact climate change will have on our natural environment.”

    On the day in March when she is planned to receive her honorary degree, Dr Goodall will also take part in the 30th anniversary celebration of Regional Landscape Kempen en Maasland.

    Jane Goodall is a leading lady, a world authority on much broader matters than her own specific field of expertise. She successfully convinces people that by protecting nature, we are also protecting ourselves,” said Ignace Schops, director of the NGO Regional Landscape Kempen en Maasland. “This is the message we, Regional Landscape Kempen en Maasland, have been promoting for the past 30 years: investing in the green region of Limburg more than ever offers opportunities for a resilient and healthy society.”

    It is a great honour that our founder is selected for an honorary degree from the university of Hasselt. She has been speaking out for animals all of her life, and we are grateful for the acknowledgement of her work. There is still so much in the world fighting for. There are so many young people dedicated to making this a better world, and we should take inspiration from them that there is still hope that it is not too late to turn things around, if we all do our part.” said Anouska Plasmeijer, Executive Director of the Jane Goodall Institute Belgium.

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times