News | 27. Oct. 2021

Honorary Degree for Martina Hartmann

On October 21 2021, the Masaryk University awarded MGH president Prof. Dr Martina Hartmann an honorary doctorate in history. Founded in 1919, the Masaryk University in Brno is the second largest university in the Czech Republic and has ten departments. With the doctorate honoris causa, the university recognised Martina Hartmann's scholarly achievement and her engagement for cooperation across the borders.

To the resonance of the university fanfare, the rector, deputy rector, representatives of the departmens and the honoree herself filed into the university aula dressed in the traditionally coloured talars of the departments. The ceremony began with the Czech and the German national anthems, played by a trio of musicians with great virtuosity on their wind instruments. The dean of the department of social sciences held a laudatio praising the fruitful working relationship between his university and the MGH that had been fostered by Martina Hartmann since 2012.

It was a moment of great solemnity as the head of the institute of classical philology melodically read aloud the Latin oath, with which the honoree was adjured to cultivate the friendly relations with the Masaryk University and to hold up the light of scholarly enlightenment. The ceremony was sealed with the handing over of the honorary degree and the university's gold medal with a portrait of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, the founding father and first president of the state of Czechoslovakia who also supported the founding of the Masaryk University in 1919.

In her acceptance speech, Hartmann honoured the achievements by historians of the Masaryk University who as MGH editors had contributed to a supranational "amor patriae". As she emphasised, the cooperation between the Masaryk University and the MGH had contributed to internationalise the MGH edition programme in the best sense. The Corona pandemic had once again underlined the importance of border-crossing solidarity and collegiality, she said, pointing out the value of historical source research in combatting fake news and one-sided historical interpretations. Martina Hartmann declared that it was her intention to strengthen the cooperation between the Masaryk University and the MGH, in particular by making it possible for young scholars of the Historisches Institut to come for a month to study in Munich. To this purpose, she proposed to create a scholarship programme. The ceremony ended harmoniously with a piece of medieval vocal music sung by members of the music department.

Martin Wihoda, who as professor for medieval history at the Masaryk University and a corresponding member and editor of the MGH particularly embodies the spirit of cooperation, organised the visit for the guests from Munich. In discussions, the Czech scholars, students, and PhD students showed great interest in Germany and the work of the MGH. Since until well into the modern period many Czech history sources were written either in Latin or German, the students were able to speak German surprisingly well. The presentation of the honorary degree to MGH president Martina Hartmann was pervaded by the common wish to study our European past and continue a lively communication across the boarders.

A report (in Czech language) on the presentation of the honorary doctorate to Martina Hartmann on the website of the Masaryk University Brno