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Honorary Doctorate for European Commission President

5 September 2011

An honorary Doctor of Laws degree is being bestowed on the President of the European Commission, His Excellency José Manuel Barroso, in Auckland this Thursday 8 September.

The ceremony to honour President Barroso will be at The University of Auckland’s Fale Pasifika, 24 Wynyard Street starting at 9am. He will also deliver a public lecture.

He is only the second European Commission President to visit New Zealand. The award to him of an honorary degree recognises his political leadership in European and global affairs and his strong contribution to the field of European Studies.

President Barroso is one of the longest-serving global leaders, as head of the European Commission (the European Union's executive branch) since 2004.

He is also a member of the G8 and played a pivotal role in launching the G20 meetings. Previously he was Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Portugal and he has had a long-standing engagement with academia.

President Barroso has held teaching posts in the Law Faculty of the University of Lisbon and the Political Science Department at the University of Geneva, and was Visiting Professor at Georgetown University.

In 1979 he founded the University Association for European Studies. This academic initiative provides a direct connection with The University of Auckland where the Europe Institute was established in 2006 as part of a global network of European Union studies centres.

This network is one of the key academic programmes funded by the European Commission to advance the study of modern Europe and its institutions. The University of Auckland has the largest concentration of researchers in New Zealand working on contemporary European issues.

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After the degree ceremony President Barroso will give a public lecture on "The European Union: A committed partner for the Pacific", discussing the role of the EU in global affairs and its closer relations with the Pacific region (10.15-10.55am, Fisher & Paykel Appliances Auditorium, Owen G. Glenn Building, 12 Grafton Road).

He will look at how to address common challenges such as support for democracy, the fight against climate change, and promoting sustainable and inclusive development.

President Barroso will also deal with the EU's growing relationship with New Zealand as a key and like-minded partner in the region and how it can contribute to achieve these common objectives. He will take questions after his lecture.


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