The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany is the highest tribute Germany pays for services to the nation. Professor Sibrand Poppema, member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) and President of Sunway University in Malaysia, has been awarded the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit in recognition of his outstanding contribution to research and education relations between Germany and the Netherlands.
“I am truly humbled receiving this honor from the Federal Republic of Germany, realizing that so many people have done great things to promote the relations between our two countries. Therefore, I really appreciate the hard work of colleagues in the Netherlands and Germany who put the application together and submitted it to the German Federal President. Also, many thanks to the embassies in the Netherlands and Malaysia that made it possible to present the award here in Malaysia,” said Poppema, who is currently President of Sunway University in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia.
International cooperation in research and education
Sibrand Poppema has long promoted good relations between Germany and the Netherlands. He was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his commitment to building a strong research and education relationship between Germany and his home country. An example is his contribution to the European Medical School Oldenburg-Groningen (EMS), which is the tangible result of intensive cooperation between the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg and the University of Groningen. In addition to medical degree programs in Dutch and English, the EMS also offers a medical degree program in German based on the Groningen model. Poppema’s role in founding the joint international graduate school between the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) and the Medical Faculty Mannheim of Heidelberg University was also cited as a reason for his receiving the award.
Professor Christopher Baum, Chair of the BIH Board of Directors, congratulated Poppema on this prestigious award. “We are very proud that a member of our Scientific Advisory Board has been recognized with the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Meritfor contributions to international cooperation,” Baum said. “This demonstrates that the BIH is well positioned to advance medical translation and translational research internationally.”
Poppema has been a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Berlin Institute of Health since 2013. He brings longstanding expertise in the field of pathology, especially the microscopic examination of tissue, to his work on the board. The Scientific Advisory Board is responsible for supporting the Executive Board and the Supervisory Board in scientific and strategic matters with external expertise and meets twice a year. The Scientific Advisory Board currently consists of thirteen international experts in translational research and systems medicine.
The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany may be awarded to Germans as well as foreigners for achievements in the political, economic, social or intellectual realm. It is the only honor that may be awarded in all fields of endeavor and is the highest tribute the Federal Republic of Germany can pay to individuals for services to the nation. Foreign citizens receive the award in particular for contributions to building good relations between their home country and Germany