Renowned German theologian Wolfgang Huber receives honorary degree
Prof Dr Wolfgang Huber, an internationally renowned German church leader, academic, public figure and opinion shaper on social ethics, received an honorary degree from Stellenbosch University (SU) in South Africa.
Huber received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), honoris causa.
German Ambassador Dr Horst Freitag was present at the graduation ceremony.
Apart from Huber, the University also conferred honorary doctorates on the businessman and physician, Dr Edwin Hertzog; the musician, playwright and environmental activist, David Kramer; and the academic, legal scholar and former SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Andreas van Wyk.
Background: Wolfgang Huber
Huber's ties with South Africa began in the 1960s during his involvement with the Protestant Institute for Interdisciplinary Research (FEST) in Heidelberg. His pioneering study (1972) on the public role of church and faith became a seminal contribution to what is now known as public theology, with which Stellenbosch University is associated worldwide.
Prof Huber has often visited South Africa. He maintains academic cooperation with this country and cherishes his close ties with South Africa, particularly with Stellenbosch University. He is a patron of the University's HOPE Project, often acts internationally in the University's interests and is a research fellow of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study. A chapter in his 2012 biography is dedicated to South Africa, and makes special reference to Stellenbosch University.
He has played a leading role in the international ecumenical movement in Germany, Europe, and South Africa because of his involvement in the anti-apartheid South African Council of Churches during the height of the apartheid period, as well as through official visits. He was president of the influential Protestant Kirchentag; was actively involved in the peace movement of the 1980s; and served on the executive committee of the World Council of Churches until 2001.
He taught at Marburg, Heidelberg, and in America from 1980 to 1994. As an academic theologian he established himself internationally as a leading social ethical thinker and influential public intellectual, and involved himself with South African ecclesial initiatives and study projects. His intellectual force is demonstrated by his authoritative publications on democratisation, justice and human rights, freedom and solidarity, conflict and peace, bio-ethics and the ethics of science, education and social care, public values and policy, the role of the media and the witness of the church, as well as on ethics as a discipline.
From 1993 until his retirement in 2009, he was the Evangelical Church bishop of Berlin-Brandenburg and chair of the national Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany. In retirement he teaches as honorary extraordinary professor in Berlin and Heidelberg, serves on many public bodies, and provides public service in numerous ways.
As a public figure, Huber represents the voice of the Christian faith
in public life, the media and the formation of public opinion in
Germany. He has served in key national commissions, provides important social, political and moral leadership. A festschrift dedicated to him contains contributions from, among others, two former German presidents. He has received many awards and prizes, including an honorary doctorate from Warsaw in Poland.
German Embassy Pretoria