António Guterres, Honorary PhD, calls for a solitary response to the refugee crisis

During the appointment ceremony at the Universidad Europea, attended by Felipe González, who gave the citation address

The Universidad Europea Academic Council granted an Honorary PhD to António Guterres for his contribution to helping refugees, in recognition of his support for stateless people, and for safeguarding the rights of those forced to leave their country due to war, revolution or political persecution. Guterres gave a speech that focused on the refugee crisis in Europe in a context in which “the sovereignty agenda is gaining ground on the human rights agenda".

“In this context of a Europe that is incapable of coming together to solve this problem, we are witness to the sad spectacle of crowds crossing the Balkans from border to border. That image of chaos is the result of Europe’s inability to organize itself to solve the problem, and it has created a current of rejection in public opinion that favors populism”, explained the recently appointed Honorary PhD. He also believes that Europe’s actions have set a bad example to other countries that look to “richer” countries; precisely those who have proven to be the least solitary with this humanitarian problem.

The ceremony citation address was given by Felipe González, President of the Spanish Government from 1982-1996. During his speech, he highlighted his friendship with the new Secretary General of the United Nations, who he has known for 25 years, and whom he has attributed “moderation” as one of his main characteristics, but noting that this moderation comes from “the strength of his convictions, his personality, tenacity and determination”. González also said that “there are few candidates to lead the UN and the best has been chosen”.

Guterres’ investiture was requested by the School of Social Sciences and Communication for his leadership as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, a position he held until December 2015 (prior to his recent appointment as the new UN Secretary General for the period January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2021).