Confronting violence with words and images
On Thursday 16 February 2023,UCLouvain has awarded honorary doctorates to three individuals fighting for freedom and a more just society: Adelle Blackett, a law professor who fights for dignity at work; Oleksandra Matviichuk, a fundamental rights activist whose NGO recently received the Nobel Peace Prize; and Elia Suleiman, a filmmaker and actor whose work denounces all forms of violence.
UCLouvain brought these three individuals together to the theme of “Confronting violence with words and images”. They engage in the contemporary world crossed by multifaceted violence to denounce all discrimination and inequality, to fight against forms of repression and to defend human rights.
By honouring them, UCLouvain stresses the importance of freedom of expression and differing points of view. Dialogue, through which knowledge evolves through exchange and argument, is essential to society’s evolution.
Watch the aftermovie of the ceremony
Two days of meeting with the university community
Portraits of the three honored personalities
Adelle Blackett (55) is a professor of law at McGill University in Montreal. She specialises in labour law. Her research and teaching interests include trade regulation, slavery, development and critical race theory. Through her academic work, she has made significant contributions to the inclusion of the most vulnerable groups via laws concerning labour and forced labour. She has lent her expertise to various international organisations, including the International Labour Organization (ILO), for which she helped develop standards on decent work for domestic workers. She embodies the values of human dignity, equality, non-discrimination, and freedom, as well as the values inherent to the fight against forced labour. She focuses on those we do not see, whose dignity at work is ignored: the invisible, the weakest, the most vulnerable. Adelle Blackett's UCLouvain sponsors are Prof. Filip Dorssemont, professor at the Faculty of Law, and Séverine Dinjar, administrative director of the Institute of Economic and Social Research (IRES)
Oleksandra Matviichuk (39), a Ukrainian human rights lawyer, campaigns for human rights in Eurasia. She heads the Center for Civil Liberties, winner of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize. The Kiev-based NGO promotes human rights values, democracy and solidarity in Ukraine and the rest of Eurasia. It also aims to strengthen public oversight of human rights in national and local government activities. Winner of several awards, including the OSCE Democracy Defender Award, Ms Matviichuk has led numerous international advocacy campaigns for the release of political prisoners. She has written several reports for various UN bodies, the Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE, as well as various submissions to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Oleksandra Matviichuk's UCLouvain sponsors are Prof. Sandy Tubeuf, professor at the Faculty of public health, and Alina Shkoryna, ukrainian student in sociology.
Elia Suleiman (62) is a Palestinian director, screenwriter and actor. He is the author of several films in which he denounces the repression of the economic, political and cultural order by highlighting contradictions and the absurdity of certain human behaviour. He refuses the logic of identity confinement and advocates openness toward others and tolerance. Often compared to Jacques Tati and Buster Keaton, he handles burlesque and gravity with the same poetic sense. “Elia Suleiman invites us to laugh with him at the madness of the world and to try to resist it,” writes the interpreter Massoumeh Laidji. The filmmaker is also known for his peaceful commitment to Palestine and the Palestinian people, but his work is not limited to this struggle: all of his films have a universal dimension. Two of his works (“Chronicle of a Disappearance” and “Divine Intervention”) won awards at the Venice Film Festival and the Cannes Film Festival. On 10 December 2022, the European Film Academy presented him with the European Achievement in World Cinema Award for his body of work. Elia Suleiman's UCLouvain sponsors are Prof. Béatrice Lampariello, Professortat the Faculty of Architecture, Architectural engineering and Urban planning (LOCI) and Etienne Dalemans, PhD student at the Chair of Anthropology of contemporary Europe.