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Center for Advanced Studies - News & Events - Harald Pechlaner awarded honorary doctorate from Matej Bel University

20 October 21

Harald Pechlaner awarded honorary doctorate from Matej Bel University

Doctor honoris causa of the Slovak Matej Bel University Banská Bystrica for many years of cooperation in research and teaching

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© Matej Bel University

For about 15 years, Eurac Research in Bolzano, Italy and Matej Bel University in Slovakia have been working together. Harald Pechlaner, who has long been committed to academic exchange between Western and Eastern European countries, has now been awarded the honorary title of Doctor honoris causa by Matej Bel University in Banská Bystrica.

"Harald Pechlaner is a researcher who transcends the boundaries between East and West in the scientific community dedicated to the study of tourism on a global scale. His cooperation with the Faculty of Economics at UMB in the field of research and teaching is exceptional", Rector Vladimír Hiadlovský paid tribute to the Head of Eurac Research's Center for Advanced Studies and Professor of Tourism at the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt.

Several times Eurac Research and Harald Pechlaner, at that time still leading the Institute for Regional Development, hosted university lecturers and students from Eastern European universities, among others from Ukraine or Georgia. With the university in Banska Bystrica, for example, the EU-COSME project "Via Transalpina" was implemented. The aim was to develop a sustainable transnational tourism product, namely a hiking experience on the Via Alpina Yellow Trail™. A number of European TEMPUS programmes were also realised in cooperation with the Slovak partners. TEMPUS stands for Trans-European-Mobility Programme for University Studies and specifically promotes academic exchange between Western and Eastern European countries. There is also an international partnership between the Chair of Tourism in Eichstätt-Ingolstadt and Matej Bel University, which has resulted in, among other things, a successful Master's programme with a focus on tourism and sustainable regional development, management and geography.

"The Central European countries, which include Slovakia, have an important function in closing the sensitive European interface between West and East", explained Pechlaner in his ceremonial speech and underlined the need for further cooperation. The conferral of the honorary doctorate took place on 7 October 2021 during the ceremonial meeting of the UMB Scientific Council in the historic auditorium of the University's Faculty of Economics.

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Harald Pechlaner and Vladimír Hiadlovský© Matej Bel University
Harald Pechlaner© Matej Bel University

About Matej Bel University in Banská Bystrica

The Matej Bel State University was founded in 1992. It consists of six faculties in which about 8,000 students are enrolled. The Department of Tourism is an important historical building block of today's university. It was founded in the capital Bratislava in the 1960s and came to Banska Bystrica in 1973 as a department of the University of Bratislava. Later, the Faculty of Economics was established around it. The university is named after the historian, pedagogue and Protestant theologian Matthias Bell (Matej Bel) (1684-1749), who was born near Banska Bystrica in the then Kingdom of Hungary. Banska Bystrica is located in the centre of Slovakia. Historically, it was a famous mining town in the Middle Ages. A medieval saying goes: "The golden Augsburg rests on the copper Neusohl". The rise of the Fugger copper empire was based primarily on Neusohl (Banska Bystrica). Augsburg, Bad Hindelang, Banska Bystrica and other historic mining towns in the Alps cooperate within the framework of the European Fugger Route. Here, too, there is a connection between Slovakia and South Tyrol with the mining town of Vipiteno / Sterzing.

Harald Pechlaner

Harald Pechlaner is the Head of the Center for Advanced Studies at Eurac Research and holds the chair of Tourism at the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt. His research area concerns the sustainable destination development and selected questions about Global Governance combined with economics and politics. Since 2014 he is Adjunct Research Professor at Curtin University (Perth, Australia) and President of AIEST (Association Internationale d’Experts Scientifiques du Tourisme), the oldest tourism experts’ association based in the St. Gallen University. Furthermore, Pechlaner is leading the Competence Center for Tourism in Berlin as Scientific Director and he is a member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts.

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