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The Board of Directors of the VUB announced on Wednesday September 12 the nomination of Prof. dr. Romain Meeusen as new Vice-rector International Relations, and Prof. dr. Luk Van Langenhove as Assignment Holder for International Institutes and Networking. Prof. dr. Sonja Snacken, Romain Meeusen’s immediate predecessor, withdraws from her function due to personal reasons.
In accordance with its Organic Statute, Vrije Universiteit Brussel counts four Vice-rectors. Upon election, rector Caroline Pauwels appointed Jan Danckaert (Education and Student Policy), Karin Vanderkerken (Research Policy), Hugo Thienpont (Innovation and Industrial Policy), and Sonja Snacken as vice-rectors for a period of four years. Romain Meeusen will take up his position as Vice-rector initially for two years to conform to the mandate of the other vice-rectors.
In his new function, Luk Van Langenhove joins the two other Assignment Holders of the VUB: former rector Paul De Knop (Assignment Holder Infrastructure) and Prof. dr. Robert Cleymaet (Assignment Holder of the Institute of Dentistry). As Assignment Holder for the International Institutions and Networking, Luk Van Langenhove will be responsible for the coordination of the already existing international institutes of the VUB and the VUB-participation in International Networks, answering to demand of French president Macron to form a “European University Network”. Within this context he will also guarantee the follow-up of the Memorandum of Understanding and the Memorandum of Agreement with the universities of Warwick and Paris-Seine.
Romain Meeusen is as a full professor of the Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy of the VUB. In the past he has been active as head of the department of Human Physiology at the Faculty of Physical Education and Kinesitherapy and has held various chairs, including the Franqui chair of the ULB in 2009. Within the Faculty he has been Vice-Dean for Student Affairs (2012-2014), Vice-Dean and Acting Dean Physical Education and Physiotherapy (2013-2014). Since 2012 he is also a member of the Senate of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and sits in the Research Council and Innovation and Valorisation Council.
Meeusen has been active in various international functions as well, being a former president of the Belgian Society of Kinesiology and the Belgian Federation of Sports Physiotherapy and having given more than 900 lectures at (inter)national scientific colloquia. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the European College of Sport Science (ECSS) (2000-2013), and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) (2010-2013), where he was the first international member to become a Board Director. In 2017 he received an honorary Fellowship of the society for the promotion of science in Japan. He was also Adjunct Professor at the University of Cairns (Australia) and the University of Canberra, Australia. (2018-now).
His experience in international research and board activities, and his reputation as a much appreciated academic at the VUB and in the international academic community makes him particularly suited to help direct the International Relations policy during the next two years.
Luk Van Langenhove
Luk Van Langenhove received his PhD in psychology and criminology at the VUB in 1987. After a career as a researcher at the VUB and top civil servant at the Federal Ministry for Science, Research and Economy, he has played a major role in the domain of international education as founding director of UNU-CRIS, the Institute for Comparative Regional Integration Studies of the United Nations University in Bruges. At the moment he is Academic Director of the Institute of European Studies at the VUB (IES).
Van Langenhove played a crucial role in paving the way for the VUB and UGent to be designated to strengthen UNU-CRIS in 2017. Thanks to his extensive academic and political network, he is well positioned to help realise the internationalisation programme of the university.