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The University of Amsterdam (UvA) will award an honorary doctorate to the Canadian-American journalist, activist and public intellectual Naomi Klein. Klein will receive the doctorate in recognition of her unique work on drawing attention to the adverse effects of globalisation and capitalism in the scientific and public domain. The honorary doctorate will be awarded during the UvA’s Dies Natalis (anniversary) on Tuesday, 8 January 2019.

Credits: Kourosh Keshiri

Naomi Klein (1970) is an award-winning journalist and the author of the bestsellers No Logo (2000),The Shock Doctrine (2007) and This Changes Everything (2014). She holds the Gloria Steinem Endowed Chair in Media, Culture and Feminist Studies at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, is the Senior Correspondent at The Intercept and Puffin Fellow at the Nation Institute. As a public intellectual and writer, Klein has gained worldwide respect for her piercing analyses of the negative effects of neoliberalism and globalisation, and for her tireless efforts in promoting social equality and climate justice.

Immense scientific value

‘Naomi Klein exposes the concrete reality of the global economic system and draws attention to the losers of globalisation, be they sweatshop workers or mother earth’, says honorary supervisor Ingo Venzke. ‘Her work insists that problems such as drastic social inequality or environmental destruction persist not in spite of international law, but as part of it. As such, it opens up avenues of academically more solid and politically more effective avenues of research.’ 

More specifically, Klein will be honoured for the way in which she deals with themes that transcend various academic disciplines. ‘Her ideas have made an invaluable contribution to academic research and discussions on social justice within and between states. In her book No Logo, she examines the practices of large corporations as they struggle to shape international law according to their particular interests and at the expense of the general good. In This Changes Everything, Klein systematically highlights the dangers of climate change, particularly for marginalised groups, and suggests ways in which societies can effectively mobilise themselves.’

Karen Maex, UvA rector magnificus, adds: ‘Naomi Klein is a globally respected thinker and social activist. She holds thought-provoking views on contemporary problems and is able to call into question many established ideas. For example, she has convincingly shown how current economic principles might be preventing us from successfully tackling climate change and that the climate crisis could actually be a catalyst for a better political and economic system. It is our privilege to award her an honorary doctorate.’

The UvA will also award a second honorary doctorate. The official announcement will be made next week. 

Honorary supervisor will be Ingo Venzke, professor of International Law and Social Justice at the Faculty of Law.