Press release

Antoine Leclère, winner of the 2021-2022 Prize of the Consular Corps of the Province of Liège

The 2021-2022 Prize of the Consular Corps of the Province of Liège is awarded to Mr. Antoine Leclère, holder of a Master's degree in History at ULiège. Specialising in the history of Wallonia, its institutions and international relations in Modern Times, his masters thesis presented in 2021 was entitled: "La plume à la main et la rapière au fourreau : essai d'analyse des relations diplomatiques de la Principauté de Liège. La politique extérieure de François-Charles de Velbrück, Prince-évêque de Liège (1772-1784)'. 

Through this work, Antoine Leclère attempted to produce a history of the international relations of the Prince-Bishop of Liège, François-Charles de Velbrück, with the four main Western powers of the second half of the 18th century (France, Austria, the United Provinces and England) and to show the cross-influences of these powers in the exercise of the diplomatic and sovereign power of the Principality of Liège.

Thus, the author identifies three new ideas concerning Liege's sovereignty: controlled sovereignty (a form of French control in the decision-making process in Liege), ignored sovereignty (a way for Vienna and the Emperor to openly evade Velbrück's decisions) and scorned sovereignty (reflected in commercial relations with the United Provinces and England, for example). 

In conclusion, Antoine Leclère shows the limited nature of Velbrück's sovereignty. "At the dawn of the French Revolution, the existence of which no one imagined, nor foresaw the multiple consequences for Europe, Liège, under the auspices of François-Charles de Velbrück, attempted to assert itself under French control and imperial suzerainty.

Antoine Leclère is currently pursuing a PhD Thesis in Historical Sciences at ULiège, which he is devoting to the history of constitutional law in the 18th and 19th centuries. 

The Consular Corps Prize of the Province of Liège was awarded to him on 16 December 2022 at the Salle académique of the University of Liège, in the presence of the Rector Anne-Sophie Nyssens, the members of the Jury, chaired by Professor Michel Hermans, and representatives of the Consular Corps of the Province of Liège. The prize is awarded each year for work carried out at ULiège in an international, bilateral or multinational context. 

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