Greek President receives Honorary Degree

Posted on: 17 January 2020

Trinity recognised the rich academic and cultural links between Ireland and Greece today by awarding an honorary degree to the Greek President H.E. Prokopis Pavlopoulos. He was awarded Trinity’s highest honour by the university’s Pro-Chancellor The Rt. Hon Lord Justice Donnell Deeny.

Preasráiteas do na Meáin ó Choláiste na Tríonóide
Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos shaking hands with Provost Patrick Prendergast after receiving an honorary degree today.

Mr Pavlopoulos was accompanied by his wife, Mrs Vlassia Pavlopoulou, and the ceremony was attended by the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina.

Mr Pavlopoulos was awarded a Doctor in Laws. He has been President of Greece since 2015 and is on a State visit to Ireland to celebrate the Irish-Greek bilateral relationship, our partnership within the EU and the academic and cultural links between the two countries.

Welcoming Mr Pavlopoulos, Trinity Provost & President Patrick Prendergast said:

We are delighted to welcome the Greek President to Trinity College Dublin and to recognise the rich academic and cultural links between Ireland and Greece. Such links are particularly important for Trinity, through the work of the Department of Classics, and the Regius Chair of Greek, as well as special connections between archaeological experts and students in both countries.

As a long-serving Head of State in Europe, the Greek President has devoted a great deal of his time to the question of the future of Europe and has sought ways of establishing a better shared understanding of the European ideal, as well as meeting the challenges before the EU today.

He has also played a key role in the Arraiolos group of 13 European Heads of State who look at key issues within the European Union.

President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina listening to the address given by the Greek President today.

President Michael D. Higgins was invited by Mr Pavlopoulos to join the group and to deliver the Aristotle Address in October 2019. Previously delivered by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the Aristotle Address is the highlight of the annual Athens Democracy Forum, hosted by President Pavlopoulos, organised in cooperation with the New York Times, the United Nations and the City of Athens.

The Public Orator, Professor Anna Chahoud, said Mr. Pavlopoulos’s presence at the ceremony reminded us that Europe had its origin in ancient Greece and its future in the dialogue between the nations sharing that inheritance.

She said:

In President Pavlopoulos we have a faithful guardian of democracy, equality and liberty—are these not the three pillars on which the form of government created in ancient Athens rests? 

 He has devoted his life to the service to New Democracy from its early inception to his election to the Hellenic Parliament, to his roles as parliamentary spokesman for New Democracy and as Minister of the Interior, until the Hellenic Parliament elected him to the Presidency in 2015. Finally, and most significantly, his presence reminds us that Greece and Ireland have long historical and cultural connections to be cherished.

Provost Patrick Prendergast, President Michael D. Higgins and Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos pictured prior to the honorary degree ceremony today.

In his address to the ceremony, entitled Let Us Defend International Law, Mr Pavlopoulos expressed concern that international law was under attack.

He said:

It is our obligation to defend international law, given that it is called upon to confront challenges of immense importance for mankind as a whole, including climate change, terrorism and the refugee crisis. The management of the refugee crisis has assumed such importance that it affects the very existence of man and his fundamental rights.

… despite its defects, international law is the most expedient – if not the only- institutional and political channel though which we may seek and, to some extent, achieve the peaceful co-existence between different states and peoples and the resolution of disputes through institutionalised processes. 

Media Contact:

Aoife Carr, | |