Nairobi, Kenya, 23 September 2022 – Professor Patrick Verkooijen, Chair of the Climate Adaptation Governance programme at the faculties Campus Fryslân and Spatial Sciences at the University of Groningen, and Global Center on Adaptation CEO, was conferred with an honorary doctorate degree by the University of Nairobi at the institution’s 2022 Commencement Ceremony in Nairobi, Kenya.
Professor Verkooijen was awarded a Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa, of the University of Nairobi in recognition of his long career and achievements in championing climate action globally and shaping bold action at scale in Africa. The Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Stephen Kiama, presented the award, describing Professor Verkooijen as a 'champion of causes that make the world a better place'. Previous recipients of honorary degrees from the University of Nairobi include Dr. Kofi Annan, 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations and Nobel Laureate Wangari Muta Maathai.
Verkooijen used the occasion to underline the climate emergency in Africa. He stated: 'Africa is climate crisis ground zero. If Africa loses out to the climate crisis, the world will lose out. Adapting Africa to the climate crisis is not just about survival. It is about Africa’s sustainable growth agenda. It is about jobs, development, and prosperity. The sooner we stand together as a global community, the quicker we will all see ourselves through the great storm of the climate crisis.'
Recognizing his track record for transformative change, the University of Nairobi also appointed Professor Verkooijen as the Distinguished Chair of The Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies. The Institute represents excellence in experiential learning, transformational community outreach, and research for sustainable environment and culture of peace. Next to his work for the Global Center on Adaptation and the University of Groningen, Patrick Verkooijen is a professor of Practice of Sustainable Development Diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He earned a PhD from Wageningen University and an MPA from Harvard University.
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