WORLD – FINLAND
On 9 June 2023, 20-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Tunberg will be awarded an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Theology at the University of Helsinki, according to a publication on the university’s website.
The title of honorary doctor is the highest degree of recognition awarded by the faculty.
At first glance, it might seem highly unusual that world-renowned climate and environmental activist Thunberg would be awarded an honorary doctorate from a department whose specialty is religions and belief systems.
However, according to Tuomas Heikkilä, professor of church history at the University of Helsinki, Greta Tunberg’s climate activism has much in common with theology, as theology department studies fundamental questions of humanity, which include climate change.
Greta Thunberg rose to fame in 2018 when, at the age of 15, she began sitting in front of the Swedish parliament on Fridays instead of studying, demanding concrete action from the authorities on climate issues.
In 2019, Thunberg was named Person of the Year by the American magazine Time. She was also awarded the Nordic Environment Council Award and received an honorary doctorate from the University of Mons in Belgium.
A statue has been erected in her honour in Winchester, UK, and she has been nominated several times for the Nobel Prize.