Former South African President Frederik de Klerk and Seven Others Receive Honorary Degrees from the University of Haifa

Frederik Willem de Klerk, the former President of South Africa who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 with Nelson Mandela, was among eight distinguished individuals who received Honorary Degrees from the University of Haifa on May 27.
The ceremonies took place in the Hecht Museum Auditorium on the University’s Mt. Carmel Campus. They were a highlight of the 42nd Meeting of the Board of Governors, an annual 4-day conference that brings hundreds of international volunteer leaders and supporters to the University.

The other Honorary Degree recipients, were Lady Irene Hatter, a supporter of equal justice and women’s rights from England, Prof. Julia Kristeva, a philosopher and novelist from France, Prof. Celso Lafer, former foreign minister of Brazil, Uri Lubrani, an Israeli diplomat, Prof Stefan Reif of Israel, an expert on the Hebrew language, Dr. Ernst Straus, an entrepreneur and philanthropist from Switzerland, and Chaim Topol, an internationally know Israeli actor.

More than 19,000 students, who represent a cross-section of Israeli’s diverse society, attend the University of Haifa.  Each year the University awards diplomas to more than 2,400 undergraduates and 2,800 post-graduate students from seven faculties.

Here are brief biographies of the eight Honorary Award recipients:

Mr. Frederik Willem de Klerk

Mr. Frederik Willem de Klerk

Mr. Frederik Willem de Klerk(South Africa) was the seventh and last State President of the apartheid-era, serving from September 1989 to May 1994. He brokered the end of apartheid, South Africa’s racial segregation policy, and supported the transformation of South Africa into a multi-racial democracy by entering into the negotiations that resulted in all citizens, including the country’s black majority, having equal voting and other rights. He won the Noble Peace Prize in 1993 along with Nelson Mandela for his role in the ending of apartheid.

Lady Irene Hatter

Lady Irene Hatter

Lady Irene Hatter (England) has led the struggle for equal justice and women’s rights in the UK and Israel. Along with her husband, she has been one of the University’s most generous benefactors over the years, supporting marine sciences, fellowships and the Hatter Student Center.

Prof. Julia Kristeva (France) is a Bulgarian-French philosopher, literary critic, psychoanalyst, sociologist, feminist, and, most recently, novelist, who has lived in France since the mid-1960s. She is now a Professor at the University of Paris Diderot.

Prof. Celso Lafer (Brazil) — A Brazilian jurist and full professor of Philosophy of Law at the University of Sao Paulo, he served twice as twice foreign minister and once as commerce minister of Brazil.

Mr. Uri Lubrani(Israel) – is an Israeli soldier and diplomat. Between 1944 and 1948 he was a member of the underground Haganah and later the newly formed Israeliarmy. He worked in the Israeli Foreign Ministry, held a number of Ambassadorial posts, and was in the Office of the Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. He also led the Eastern Division in the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Prof. Stefan Reif (Israel) – A renowned expert on Hebrew language and liturgy, Prof. Reif is Founder Director of the Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit, and Project Consultant at Cambridge University Library, and Emeritus Professor of Medieval Hebrew Studies at the University of Cambridge.

Dr. Ernst Strauss (Switzerland) — Dr. Ernst Strauss, an entrepreneur and philanthropist established the Dr. Moses Strauss Department of Marine Geosciences in the Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences in 2009.  It is named in honor of his late father, Dr. Moses Strauss who pioneered the treatment of physical and sexual dysfunctions in Switzerland back in the 1950s, when the topic was highly controversial.

Mr. Chaim Topol

Mr. Chaim Topol

Mr. Chaim Topol (Israel) is an Israeli stage and film performer, singer, actor, writer and producer most associated with lead role of Tevye, which he played on Broadway and in the film version of Fiddler on the Roof. He has been nominated for an Oscar and a Tony Award, and has won two Golden Globes.

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