New VUB fellows include comedian and expert in race relations


Brussels’ Dutch-speaking university has announced the 22 new names in its Fellowship programme, a three-year co-operation between leaders from the public and its academics

‘Breaking down the walls’

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) has announced its new fellows for the next three years, a co-operation between the Dutch-speaking university and leaders from the public and private sectors. This eighth edition of the Fellowship programme sees 22 people from outside the academic world involved, including a comedian, the federal ombudsman and the director of Oxfam Belgium.

“VUB wants to break down the walls between academia and society,” the university said in a statement. “As part of the Fellowship programme, prominent and visionary leaders from the business world, sport, the cultural sector, civil society and politicians are invited to join our educational and research activities. For three years, they share their vision, knowledge and expertise with the university, its faculties, students and scientists. This cross-fertilisation between academia and society ensures that innovative ideas are created and implemented in education, scientific research or entrepreneurship.”

The university will introduce the fellows at a special ceremony on Friday. The keynote address will be given by another of the 22 selected fellows, Dalilla Hermans, a noted journalist and commentator who has been key in opening up discussions on race relations in Flanders and Belgium over the last few years.

Aside from Hermans, comedian Erhan Demirci (pictured above) and Oxfam director Eva Smets, other new fellows include Vincent Mannaerts, the CEO of Club Brugge; Bob Verbeeck, founder of sport and active events planner Golazo Group; and Annemie Maes, member of the Brussels parliament and Jette city council.