Opening Academic Ceremony 2023-2024

19 September 2023

In Institution
Credit : ULiège©S.Seyen

At the start of the academic year on Tuesday, 19 September 2023, Rector Anne-Sophie Nyssen awarded honorary doctorate to three leading figures: Aurélien Barrau, Esther Duflo and Zanele Muholi. This choice was motivated by the desire to "reconcile Art and Science and to commit to re-enchanting our world".

The ceremony was attended by many political, ministerial, academic, diplomatic and judicial figures.

After evoking the state of the world - "we are on a trajectory that is moving us inexorably away from a world that is habitable for all" - the rector, Anne-Sophie Nyssen, insisted that it was fundamental that we assume our academic responsibilities to respond together to the many societal challenges and lead a public debate based on objective data.

To open the 2023-2024 academic year, the Rector gave the floor to representatives of the university community, and then presented the insignia of Doctor honoris causa to Aurélien Barrau astrophysicist and philosopher, Esther Duflo winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics and Zanele Muholi photographer and LGBTQIA+ activist:

"These three very different people, exceptional for quite different reasons, are representative of what I wanted to honour: a strong personal commitment, a brilliant, critical and innovative look at our world today and a rapprochement, an alliance, I would even say an alloy between science and art."

Below are all the speeches and images from the start of the new academic year at the University of Liège.

Opening speech by Anne-Sophie Nyssen, ULiège rector


Speech by Professor Anne-Sophie Nyssen, rector of ULiège

"Nous sommes sur une trajectoire qui nous éloigne inexorablement d’un monde habitable pour tous. Il est fondamental que nous assumions nos responsabilités universitaires : affiner d’urgence les modèles de ces bouleversements et améliorer leur pouvoir de prédiction, préparer tous les étudiants aux enjeux climat-énergie-société-environnement, informer la société et animer un débat public basé sur des données objectives”.

Extrait du discours d'Anne-Sophie Nyssen lors de la Cérémonie de Rentrée académique 2023-2024

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Speeches by representatives of the academic bodies



Représentants des corps universitaires

Presentations by the three Doctors honorary causa


Aurélien Barrau, Honorary Doctorate from the University of Liège

The University of Liège has awarded an honorary doctorate to Aurélien Barrau, a French astrophysicist with a doctorate in astrophysics and philosophy, a lover of poetry and literature, and the author of numerous scientific and popular articles and books. He is also renowned for his commitment to sustainable development. (only in french)


Esther Duflo, Honorary Doctorate from the University of Liège

The University of Liège has awarded an honorary doctorate to Nobel Prize-winning economist Esther Duflo, whose work focuses on development economics, poverty, health, education, access to credit and the fight against corruption.


Zanele Muholi, Docteur·e honoris causa de l'Université de Liège

The University of Liège has awarded an honorary doctorate to Zanele Muholi, the South African photographer, activist and campaigner for the LGBTQIA+ cause.

Photos of the event

Credit : ULiège©S.Seyen

Retrospective of the 2022-2023 academic year


Rétrospective en images de l'année académique 2022-2023

Les temps forts de l'année académique 2022-2023 à l'Université de Liège.

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