The Harvard Club of Belgium awarded the 2018 Leadership Prize to Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, an eminent Belgian climatologist and full professor at the Université catholique de Louvain. The purpose of this prize is to promote the principles and values of leadership of Harvard University. It is awarded each year to a person or organization that is established in or maintains strong links with Belgium. Architects of positive change in Belgium, the winners reflect the integrity and leadership long advocated by Harvard University.
In conferring this prize to him, the board of directors of the Harvard Club wanted to underscore his research and work on climate change. A former Vice-Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, Member of the Académie royale de Belgique and the Federal Council for Sustainable Development, Honorary Member of the Club of Rome (EU Chapter) and the Circles of Naturalists of Belgium, Commander of Walloon Merit and Grand Officer of the Order of the Crown, Professor van Ypersele has played a major role in the vision and awareness of climate change in the world. His distinguished expertise in climate change and sustainable development also led the former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to appoint him, in 2017, to an eminent group of scientists tasked with drawing up the Global Sustainable Development Report, which will be published in 2019. Keen to pass his knowledge down to future generations and to draw their attention to current issues, Professor van Ypersele is amongst others co-director of the Master programme in science and management of the environment at the Université catholique de Louvain.
Professor van Ypersele, climatologist: "I am honoured to receive the prestigious leadership prize of the Harvard Club of Belgium. This recognition confirms the importance of our battle against climate change and that of all the efforts which I undertake, together with many others, to protect life on our planet. More than ever the diagnosis is clear: we have to initiate the change process rapidly if we want to win this race for life.
Jean-Albert Nyssens, President of the Harvard Club of Belgium: I am proud and delighted that our selection committee has chosen Professor van Ypersele and his fight against climate change. Incidentally, this choice was made before the heat wave of last summer. On a more serious note, the signals are becoming increasingly stronger and our policymakers and business leaders must accelerate the process of change if we are to save our planet and the living conditions on it – unquestionably one of the most daunting challenges humanity has had to face. This prize highlights the importance of the issue and the world leadership of one of our countrymen on the topic.
About the Harvard Club of Belgium
The Harvard Club of Belgium (HCB) is one of the oldest and largest American university associations in Belgium. This organization brings together more than 900 Harvard graduates who live and work in Belgium or maintain close ties with our country.
Michaël Gillon (2017), Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (2016), Dominique Leroy (2015), Frans van Daele (2013), Jef Colruyt (2012), André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard (2011), Herman Van Rompuy (2010), Alain Hubert (2009), Sister Jeanne Devos (2008), Désiré Collen (2007), Jacques Rogge (2006), Michel Tilmant (2005) and Ludo Verhoeven (2004).