Research group at imec & Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Caroline Pauwels – Honorary Director & Current Rector VUB


Personal Description

In 2015, I organized the first World Difference Day (, that focuses attention on freedom of speech and media. It is something I hold close to heart and I was happy to initiate an event on this topic. That year, 800 people came to the Bozar to discuss this fundamental freedom. The enthusiasm and interest inspired two more Difference Days to follow. In addition to having a debate, we also honor people or institutes that express or promote freedom of speech.

I studied Philosophy (UFSIA) and Communication Sciences (VUB). I am currently Rector at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, but prior to that I was Director at SMIT, a position which I started in 2000. In 2014, I received the Francqui Chair at Ghent University, and between 2012 and 2016 I held the Jean Monnet Chair. I am or was part of many boards and councils, for example, as government commissioner at the VRT and as member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and Arts.