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“We should all be water ambassadors”: the importance of water for peaceful global co-existence

Monday, 26 February 2024

Henk Ovink, advisory board member for 4TU.Resilience Engineering, receives honorary doctorate at TU Delft

Rethinking, reshaping and redesigning for future water security is at the core of Henk Ovinks work, for which he received an honorary doctorate at TU Delft during the 182nd dies natalis, 12 January 2024.

Henk Ovink has worked for many years on topics of water and sustainable urban development, having a proven track record in international roles, as well as being active in academia.

Ovink served on President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy rebuilding task force where he led the long-term innovation, resilience, and rebuilding efforts. Also, he developed and led the Rebuild by Design competition. Nowadays, Ovink being principal for this initiative, Rebuild by Design continues to play an important role as a model to help governments create research-based, collaborative processes that prepare communities and regions for future challenges.

The importance of a collaborative approach to water security has always been a recurring theme in Ovinks work. In 2015, Henk Ovink became the first “Special Envoy for international water affairs for the Kingdom of the Netherlands”, based in New York. Since 2018, Ovink has been a member of the Strategic Advisory Board for the 4TU.Resilience Engineering centre. Today, Henk Ovink is the executive director for the Global Commission on the Economics of Water and senior fellow at the World Resources Institute.

Pioneering work on transformative design for climate change

Neelke Doorn, professor in ethics of water engineering at TU Delft, handed out the honorary doctorate, stating that Henk Ovink received this honour for his pioneering work on transformative design for climate change, and for his leadership in communicating and practicing the importance of water for peaceful global co-existence.

In addition to Henk Ovinks high profile work on partnering with practitioners and scientists, Doorn also drew the attention to his ability to foster a learning atmosphere with students. Ovink inspires students to dare start a journey that is difficult and uncertain, to accept failures and dream about making a difference. This makes Henk Ovink not only an ambassador for science and research, but for education too.

Henk Ovink receives the honorary doctorate from prof. Neelke Doorn.

More information

Detailed biography of Henk Ovink on the 4TU.RE website.

Watch the video of the ceremony; start at 01 hr 02 min: