In search for even more knowledge?

For those who want even more, we have created the PACT programme where, with curator Alicja Gescinska, we open the door to critical thinking. Through high-profile lectures and related books and training, we aim to inspire dialogue and to deepen knowledge of the world. It promises to be a fascinating adventure as we seek greater understanding and insights about the world around us.

Social engagement

What began as the brainchild of the late VUB rector Caroline Pauwels and was named the Pauwels Academy of Critical Thinking has grown under current rector Jan Danckaert into a socially engaged programme that puts scientific knowledge sharing and dialogue first.

Jan Danckaert: โ€œCaroline had the idea of bringing major international speakers to Brussels through an โ€˜academy of critical thinkingโ€™. She thought there was a need for more critical thinking, more dialogue and more nuance in the social debate. She wanted to give a platform to different voices from Belgium and abroad. We hold and cherish that idea, but weโ€™ve also expanded it. In these volatile times, scientific knowledge is more important than ever, and our scientists contribute to the solutions of tomorrow. We want to share their visions and solutions with everyone who, like us, wants to take on their social commitment and create real impact in our society. Thatโ€™s why weโ€™ve brought out this public programme with the whole university. Not just in Brussels but in Flanders too.โ€

The power of knowledge and science

Scientia Vincere Tenebras: conquering darkness through science. This motto has appeared on our universityโ€™s seal since its foundation. Today, this philosophy is more relevant than ever. More than ever, knowledge and science nourish our faith in a possibilistic and achievable world, where we as humans are in control. 

As an urban engaged university, VUB wants to be a driving force for change. And this change starts with us. We challenge you to be part of it. By interrogating your own insights and testing them against scientific knowledge, youโ€™ll come to new insights, solutions and actions.

Studenten planten bomen

The world needs you. Action!

Change begins with self-reflection and critical thinking, but it doesnโ€™t stop there. As an Urban Engaged University, we invite our students, academics and colleagues to go the extra mile and act. They can take part in projects and activities based on five themes: People, Peace, Prosperity, Planet, Partnership. These themes are inspired by the UNโ€™s Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to eradicate poverty by 2030 and make our planet a sustainable place to live.

The World Needs You

Info & contact

VUB's public programme is put together with thanks to VUB academics, students, alumni and partners. 

Are you organising your own activity that fits into VUB's public programme and would you like to collaborate with us? Do you think something is missing from our programme? Is there a current topic you would like to know more about? 

Let us know, we might find a match!

 Send us an email:  Subscribe to our mailing list and receive invitations



  • Chairmens
    • Jan Danckaert, VUB rector
    • Eddy Van Gelder, former chairman of the VUB board

  • Coordinators:
    • Pieter Ballon, vice-rector for Research
    • Ann Van Driessche, director Marketing, Communication & Engagement