Antioch University Professor Earns Honorary Doctorate from Umeå University in Sweden

Yellow Springs, Ohio – Dr. Philomena Essed, a professor in Antioch University’s PhD in Leadership and Change program, was awarded an honorary degree in the Social Sciences on October 17 from Umeå University in Sweden. Her second honorary degree, Dr. Essed was recognized for her work advancing gender studies and education at a formal ceremony attended by the country’s king, Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, and 600 attendees.

Dr Philomena Essed standing with laurel wreath on her head at honorary degree ceremony. In background are representatives from the University in Sweden
Antioch University professor Dr. Philomena Essed received as symbols of honor a laurel wreath, a matching gold ring, and honorary degree document at an October 17 ceremony at Umeå University in Sweden. Dr. Essed was recognized for her work in civil rights and education, and presented a lecture, Small Victories for Humanity: Revisiting Ethics of Care in Higher Education prior to receiving the honorary doctorate before an audience of 600 educational and civic dignitaries, including Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf. Photo by Ida Does.

Dr. Essed, who was born in The Netherlands, is a professor of critical race, gender and leadership studies at Antioch University. She also has an affiliate appoint with The Netherlands Institute for Human Rights. Dr. Essed’s teaching, research and practice focuses on social justice, ethics and the elimination of all forms of discrimination so that people can live with dignity. Well known for introducing the concepts of “everyday racism” and “gendered racism” in the Netherlands and internationally, her work has been adopted and applied in a range of countries, including the United States, Canada, South Africa, Sweden, Finland, Russia, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Australia.

“Receiving this honorary degree makes me feel enormously grateful for the fact that I have been able, throughout my life, to pursue knowledge for a just cause,” said Dr. Essed, who is also an affiliated researcher for Utrecht University’s Graduate Gender program. “It is a wonderful recognition of the larger purposes I have always stood for: social justice, creating a world free from racism and other forms of discrimination, and above all confirmation of the dignity of women.”

Dr. Essed holds a PhD from the University of Amsterdam, demonstrating a lifelong commitment to social justice unbounded by discipline, geography, politics, or culture. As an expert witness she has testified at The European Parliament, the UN Economic and Social Council, and the Helsinki Commission among others. She has published extensively in her field; those contributions include: Dutch Racism (2014); Clones, Fakes and Posthumans: Cultures of Replication (2012); A Companion to Gender Studies, which is recognized as a 2015 Outstanding Academic Title from the Association of College & Research Libraries’ Choice Magazine.

“It is the celebration of family, friends, colleagues and all social justice scholars who, like me, persist, against the odds, for a better world. And sometimes, there is the reward of others recognizing the special value of critical and transformative leadership as scholars,” Dr. Essed said. “I thank Antioch University and in particular the PhD Program for Leadership and Change – a great example of how to do learning differently – for providing me on an everyday basis the inspiration and positive environment to embrace care, ethics, social and environmental justice as values at the heart of what universities should be about.”

To learn more about Antioch University’s PhD in Leadership and Change program visit

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
A black and white image of a circle of young and older people in Uvalde, Texas, holding hands after a gun massacre at an elementary school.

United with Uvalde

Dear Antiochians — I’m sharing with you a message written today by one of our awesome Clinical Mental Health Counseling faculty, Ali Corey, to others

More »
Antioch University

Since our founding 1852, Antioch University has remained on the forefront of social justice, inclusion, and equality – regardless of ethnicity, gender, creed, orientation, focus of study, or ability.

Antiochians actively reflect these shared values to inspire positive change in the world. Common Thread is where we document the stories that showcase our communities actions, so the change we work for can be shared widely.  

© 2020 Antioch University. All Rights Reserved.

Skip to content