The University of Groningen has awarded writer, columnist and expert on Europe Luuk van Middelaar the title of Alumnus of the Year 2015. A detailed interview with the UG alumnus in History and Philosophy can be found in the
April issue of the alumni magazine
, published today.
Every year, the University of Groningen (UG) awards one of its alumni the title Alumnus of the Year, a prize meant as an expression of appreciation and encouragement. The University is proud to name Luuk van Middelaar Alumnus of the Year 2015.
‘Luuk van Middelaar has developed into a leading political commentator in the area of European integration and international politics, and has been highly praised for his research into the political principles underlying the process of European integration’, in the words of the jury report. The UG commends Van Middelaar on his critical and original thinking, on his versatility and his skill in combining academia and practice.
Luuk van Middelaar graudated in History and Philosophy from the University of Groningen in 1999. His MA thesis was entitled Politicide. De moord op de politiek in de Franse filosofie (Politicide: The Killing of Politics in French Philosophy). Unusually, it was published as a book and instantly awarded the prestigious Prix de Paris.
Van Middelaar left Groningen to study in Paris, and later worked as an advisor first to European Commissioner Frits Bolkestein in Brussels, then to Jozias van Aartsen, leader of the Dutch political party VVD, in The Hague.
In 2009, he was awarded a PhD with honours by the University of Amsterdam with a thesis entitled
De passage naar Europa, geschiedenis van een begin (The Passage to Europe: History of a Beginning). The thesis was very well received, translated into various languages and awarded many prizes, including the Socrates Wisselbeker (Socrates Cup). Van Middelaar then once again swapped academia for politics, and until 2014 was part of the Cabinet of Herman van Rompuy, the first European ‘President’, as a speechwriter.
Since then, Van Middelaar has once again left politics to concentrate on research, He is Professor of European Studies
in Louvain-la-Neuve and Professor of the Foundations and Practice of the European Union and its Institutions at Leiden University. He is also a columnist for the Dutch newspaper
NRC Handelsblad and is currently writing his third book. In Broerstraat 5, he says ‘The system in Brussels has a strong tendency towards what I call depoliticization. That’s a great strength, given that politics in the immediate post-war period was too divisive. But it is also our weakness.’
Previous Alumni of the Year include Jeroen Smit, Jelle Brandt Corstius, Stine Jensen, Matthijs Bierman, Wim Pijbes and Monica Arac de Nyeco. The prize is awarded to a UG alumnus who ‘has made an extraordinary contribution to society, academia or culture, is a source of inspiration for others and shows promise for the future’.
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