Prague, March 9 (CTK) – Czech theologist and Catholic priest Tomas Halik, 67, will receive an honorary doctorate of the prestigious University of Oxford in Britain on June 22, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes yesterday.
Halik is to be the fourth Czech to receive this title.
The University of Oxford, founded in 1096, granted its honorary doctorate to the first and second Czechoslovak presidents, Tomas Garrigue Masaryk (in 1923) and Edvard Benes (1940) and to the first post-communist Czechoslovak and Czech president, Vaclav Havel, in 1998, LN says.
Along with Halik, the honorary doctorate from Oxford will be given to Paul Krugman, columnist of New York Times, Spanish film director Pedro Almodovar and Apple designer Jonathan Ive in June.
In the case of Halik, the Oxford commission also mentioned the fact that he had won the prestigious Templeton Prize, dubbed the “Nobel Prize for Theology,” in 2014. The commission appreciated his international effort to lead a dialogue between religions, LN says.
Halik was informed that he would become “the Honorary Doctor of Divinity” at Oxford on Tuesday. He said he considered it the highest academic award one can get.
He added that this would also mean an international recognition of the Czech Republic and that he would like to help improve its prestige abroad.
“I would like people to respect our country not only for the athletes’ performances, but also in the intellectual field,” he said.
Last year, Halik was also appointed vice-president of the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy (RVP) in Washington, which associates philosophers and researchers in social sciences from the whole world.
The proposal for granting him the honorary doctorate was filed with Oxford by the Harris Manchester College with which Halik has cooperated for several years. The college houses the lecture room of Tomas Halik, LN writes.
It says Czech developer and billionaire Ludek Sekyra, criticised for his links to Prague political businessmen, opened the “Sekyra House” students’ centre in the complex of this college in November 2014.
Sekyra, who has been Halik’s close collaborator in the past few years, said he was proud of his honorary doctorate, LN says.
At present, Halik and Sekyra are preparing an international think-tank to be based at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague, from which Halik graduated and where he received a doctor’s degree in 1972.
“We intend to establish the Centre for the studies of political philosophy, ethics and religion at the Faculty id Arts and we are creating a network of international cooperation with prestigious universities in the whole world, including Oxford and Harvard,” Halik said.
He has been speculated about as one of possible presidential candidates in the 2018 election, LN says.
However, Halik has dismissed his ambition to run for president. He told LN that he would like to focus on “demanding tasks on the international intellectual scene.”