The climax of a week of celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Miami University’s European Center in Luxembourg was an academic convocation on Wednesday evening. The 700 or so guests included alumni and current students attending the Mudec programme, faculty from Ohio and Differdange, host families and a number of local dignitaries including former prime minister and European Commission president Jacques Santer and Luxembourg City mayor Lydie Polfer.
The highlight of the evening was the conferral of the title doctor honoris causa on Crown Prince Guillaume. In his acceptance speech, the prince said he felt “deeply humbled” and referred to similar titles being bestowed upon his father Grand Duke Henri at Mudec’s 25th anniversary celebrations 1993 and on his grandfather, Grand Duke Jean in 1979. He also cited the 2018 Honorary Luxembourg-American Business Award that he presented to Miami University president Gregory Crawford in New York in May.
Keynote speaker Georges Schmit gave his audience an overview of the economic history of the grand duchy. He illustrated how it has diversified over the years, from an agricultural based economy to one reliant on mining and steel production and then, via the launch of Radio Luxembourg and the establishing of the financial services sector, to research and development and the development of the space sector through the launch of SES all the way to the recent setting up of the Luxembourg Space Agency. “There is no doubt that the space resources journey will be long and its terrain hilly,” Schmit said. “Yet the initiative sets a long-term ambition for Luxembourg…in the meantime more opportunities are pursued by startups and companies that have already set up in Luxembourg.”
The ceremony included musical performances from a choir and a string quartet from the Luxembourg city conservatoire. Afterwards, guests enjoyed a reception to round off a packed week of events that had included visits to many of Luxembourg’s historical sites and natural beauty spots as well as lectures, film screenings and dinners.