This blog is written by Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Posts appear Monday & Wednesday.
Patrick Verkooijen was awarded a PhD despite writing only half a thesis. William Moomaw was one of his doctoral advisors.
Two days ago, I discussed activist scientist William Moomaw. Audiences at recent events have been told he’s a Nobel laureate, but that isn’t true.
It turns out Moomaw is a close associate of Patrick Verkooijen – the CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation, which organized the climate summit that wrapped up yesterday. In fact, he was one of Verkooijen’s PhD thesis advisors.
That thesis is highly unusual. We’re told it’s “widely perceived as an important contribution to the emerging field of sustainable development diplomacy.” But Verkooijen didn’t write the entire thing himself. He only wrote half of it.
While working for the World Bank, he teamed up with Hans Hoogeveen, an employee of the Dutch agriculture ministry. Together they produced a 210-page thesis titled Transforming Sustainable Development Diplomacy: Lessons Learned from Global Forest Governance. Afterward, both received a PhD in diplomacy – sustainable development diplomacy.
The table of contents informs us that:
I’ve canvassed several academics who work in different fields, at different universities. None of them has ever heard of a jointly-written doctoral thesis. It wouldn’t be permitted, they told me, at their institutions.
Awarded in 2010 by Wageningen University in the Netherlands, Verkooijen’s doctorate was completed “in close collaboration” with the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Boston. Specifically, Verkooijen studied at Fletcher’s Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP).
Three decades ago, fake Nobel laureate Moomaw left his laboratory behind (he has a PhD in chemistry) and founded that very center “to meet the growing need for international environmental leaders.”
One wonders who, precisely, felt any need for international environmental leaders in the early 1990s? One wonders how a chemist came to be regarded as sufficiently expert in global politics and international treaties to supervise an entirely new program of study.
In any case, a current CIERP official explains in a 2019 promotional video: “Every year I lead a delegation from the Fletcher School to the international climate change negotiations where the students can observe and even participate (1:07 minutes).” A second official says: “Our students end up working for consulting firms, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, the United Nations, World Bank, central banks, government, you name it” (1:35 minutes).
In other words, the activist chemist founded a training center for environmental lobbyists. The public has been paying, via student subsidies and research grants, for people to receive academic degrees in this kind of activism. That’s a serious problem because NGOs, the World Bank, and other UN organizations have no democratic oversight. They aren’t answerable to the public. There is no mechanism by which the public can fire/vote out the leaders of these entities when they pursue policies at odds with the public’s priorities. Targeted, organized influence over public policy, absent public accountability, is a disaster in slow motion.
Despite his abnormally thin list of academic publications, Verkooijen became a CIERP professor soon after his doctorate was awarded. (Wageningen University likewise made him a professor.) By 2011, Verkooijen and Moomaw were two-thirds of a dissertation committee that gave the thumbs up to another doctoral thesis about forest management written at the school.
In sum, therefore:
#1 – Patrick Verkooijen, the CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation (and rising UN star) is closely linked to fake Nobel laureate William Moomaw
#2 – Moomaw founded a center to train “international environmental leaders”
#3 – CEO Verkooijen studied at this center under Moomaw, who was one of his doctoral advisors
#4 – Moomaw was party to an exceptional arrangement in which Verkooijen was awarded a PhD despite having written only half a thesis
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