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Jane Goodall coming to Belgium for honorary doctorate, public debate
UPDATE 3 MARCH: Jane Goodall's trip to Belgium has been cancelled due to coronavirus concerns. The organisation hopes to reschedule for later this year.
The world-famous anthropologist and chimpanzee specialist Jane Goodall will be in Hasselt next week to personally accept an honorary doctorate from the city’s university.
Dr Goodall will visit the Hoge Kempen National Park as well as Hasselt University Ecotron, where the university is conducting research on the impact of climate change on the natural environment.
“With this honorary degree, we want to pay tribute to Dr Goodall’s work and boundless commitment to nature conservation and animal welfare,” says 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 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.”
For nearly half a century, Goodall and the Jane Goodall Institute have been committed to nature conservation. In jam-packed auditoriums, lecture halls and conference centres all over the world, Goodall talks about the environmental crises that threaten nature and insists that – despite everything – we must continue taking action to solve these issues.
The Institute has 28 Chapters worldwide, including the Jane Goodall Institute Belgium, which works to support the organisation’s goal to live in harmony with nature through tree planting and youth activities in Belgium and the protection of chimpanzees in Africa.
The doctorate will be present to Goodall on 12 March. Following the ceremony, she will visit the Ecotron, which is located in the Hoge Kempen, Belgium’s only national park. “The Ecotron consists of 13 high-tech ecosystem chambers in which we imitate future climate,” explains Schepper. “They offer us insight into the true impact climate change will have on our natural environment.”
That evening Goodall will be a guest at the 30th anniversary celebration of Regionaal Landschap Kempen en Maasland, which managed the natural areas of the Hoge Kempen, Kempen-Broek and Maas Valley. “Jane Goodall is a world authority on much broader matters than her own specific field of expertise,” says the organisation’s director Ignace Schops. “She successfully convinces people that by protecting nature, we are also protecting ourselves. That is the message that Regionaal Landschap Kempen en Maasland have been promoting for the past 30 years. Investing in the green region of Limburg offers opportunities for a resilient and healthy society.”
Goodall will present a talk in the Limburghal in Genk during the ceremony. It is open to the public but completely sold out. It might still be possible, however, to book a spot for a public debate featuring Goodall the following evening at VUB.
The biologist is in fact spending three days in Belgium. On her final day, she will attend the Jane Goodall Institute Belgium’s Gala & Charity Auction in Genval.
Photo: Vincent Calmel/Jane Goodall Institute Belgium