President Bach was given the title of “doctor honoris causa” of the University of Gdansk in a special ceremony in the city on Wednesday. During the ceremony, which marked the 50th anniversary of the University, President Bach was made an honorary doctor in recognition of “his contribution to the development of the International Olympic Committee and in his activities in support of human rights and world peace.” The citation also made reference to the success of the Olympic Agenda 2020 reform programme, to “clean” sports and athletes’ rights.
Previous recipients of the award have included Lech Wałęsa, Elie Wiesel, former French President François Mitterrand and the former German President, Richard von Weizsäcker, whom the President had known personally. At the ceremony he paid tribute to him, saying: “he had always supported me in his endeavours, and was always a fatherly friend.”
In the “Laudation”, Professor Andrzej Gąsiorowski said: “When one evaluates the activities of Doctor Bach, he retains a clear perspective of what a human being is and what is in his or her best interests. This is especially apparent in the connection of three areas of his activities: engagement in competitive sport at the highest level, promotion of the ethics of competition, and action in support of the equal treatment of sportsmen and women from all parts of the world.”
Accepting the distinction, the President said: “The University of Gdansk brings together so many of the elements that are at the heart of the IOC and the Olympic Games, and our goal to make the world a better place through sport. Solidarity is another core value of “our” university that resonates all the more here in Gdansk, the city of freedom, where the Solidarity Movement of Poland was born,” he added.
The awarding of an honorary doctorate by Gdansk University follows a rigorous procedure with external auditing, and eventually a secret vote of the 100 members of the University Senate was made to confirm the award.
President Bach stands for peace, solidarity respect and fair play. This award is a recognition for the values of President Bach and the entire the Olympic Movement.Andrzej Kraśnicki President of the Polish Olympic Committee
Also present was the President of the Polish Olympic Committee, Andrzej Kraśnicki, who paid special tribute to President Bach. “This is a great honour for the Polish Olympic Movement. President Bach stands for peace, solidarity respect and fair play. This award is a recognition for the values of President Bach and the entire the Olympic Movement.”
Among those sending congratulations to the President and to Gdansk University was the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, whose letter of congratulations was read out at the ceremony in the magnificent “Dwór Artusa” Museum in the Old Town of Gdansk.