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Radboud Universiteit

07/16/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/16/2019 08:53

Honorary doctorates for visionary lawyer and leading political scientist

Radboud University will confer two honorary doctorates on 17 October. They are for the Thai lawyer, Prof. Kittipong Kittayarak, and for the American political scientist, Prof. Theda Skocpol. Radboud University is also celebrating its 96th Dies Natalis, the university's anniversary, in the Stevenskerk that day.

Among other things, Kittayarak is committed to improving the circumstances in Thai prisons and ensuring a humane approach to drug-related issues. Skocpol writes about revolutions, the welfare state, and about changes in American politics, such as the emergence of the Tea Party within the American Republican Party.

Kittipong Kittayarak

Dr Kittipong Kittayarak is the Executive Director of the Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ) and Professor by special appointment at Chulalongkorn University. He is also a lecturer at the Thai Bar Association. As Permanent Secretary of Justice, he played an important role during the reform of the police and Ministry of Justice in Thailand. He was involved in the accession of the TIJ to the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme Network. He is often asked to appear as an expert and panellist for important international forums, such as the United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFEI). Kittayarak studied at Chulalongkorn University, Cornell University, and Harvard University, and received his PhD from Stanford University.

Piet Hein van Kempen, Dean of the Faculty of Law about Kittayarak: 'He is a visionary who, for a long time, has had an extraordinary impact on the influence of jurisprudence in society, as well as in Thailand and the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). Internationally, Dr Kittipong, as he is usually known, is lauded for his contributions to the reform of the Thai legal system. While working in various offices, he has committed himself to improve the circumstances in Thai prisons, for instance. He is also known as an advocate for the improvement of the penal system, access to the law for women and children in particular, and for a humane approach to drug-related issues. Academics can be inspired by his interdisciplinary approach and his conviction that the most effective way to reform human rights and the constitutional state starts with teaching students.'

Theda Skocpol

Prof. Theda Skocpol is one of the most prominent American political scientists of the past forty years. The central question in her multi-award-winning work is how changing institutions facilitate or hamper the actions of individuals and organisations in politics. Within the research into that topic, Skocpol's main contribution has been that the state and the government are not seen as constants (and thus irrelevant in a certain way), but are understood as an ever-changing combination of institutions that individuals and organisations need to take into consideration. With that message, she has long spoken out against those who predict the erosion or even the end of the nation state, for instance due to globalisation. From her vision of the ever-changing state and government, Skocpol published important comparative empirical studies about revolutions and the welfare state. Skocpol also writes about the changes in American politics, such as her recent study about the Tea Party within the American Republican Party. Additionally, she supported the establishment of professional networks for young academics (the Scholars Strategy Network) and broadly promotes citizenship in society.

Skocpol's work intersects with the ambitions and the profile of Political Science in Nijmegen: for thirty years, Political Science research has revolved around the changing role of state and government against the backdrop of Europeanisation and globalisation, and the changes this brings about in the relationship between citizens and government. Political Science in Nijmegen also tries to contribute to critical citizenship though the alumni of its degree programme. This year also marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Political Science department at Radboud University (Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen at the time).