In August 2019 Qu Dongyu was elected to be the new Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, succeeding Graziano da Silva, who also received an honorary doctorate from ULiège in 2016 on the proposal of the Faculty of Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech.


fter completing a Master's degree in Plant Genetics at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, he obtained a PhD in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

His vision is based on the fact that a world free from hunger is a basic human right and that in the 21st century our societies have the capacity to eradicate chronic food insecurity. Prior to joining the FAO, Qu Dongyu worked as China's Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs where one of his achievements was to promote inclusive and innovative development and ensure the availability of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in rural areas, so that more than 400 million Chinese farmers could use mobile phones as a new agricultural tool.

This vision has accompanied him throughout his professional career, which includes stints in local and central governments, major research institutes and at the China Three Gorges Project Development Company, where he served as the Human Resources Manager. As Vice-Governor of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, one of the poorest and most landlocked regions in China, Qu Dongyu developed action plans to reduce poverty and disasters and promote women's empowerment, agritourism and the creation of mutual learning platforms to improve trust between ethnic groups.

In addition to his expertise in the development of the rice and potato value chains, Dr Qu Dongyu is also recognised as an initiator of validation and certification systems for the recognition of the quality and origin of agricultural products. He has also participated in multilateral initiatives, such as the World Trade Organization and the G20, as well as numerous bilateral initiatives involving countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. He also helped design the flagship projects on South-South Cooperation, in collaboration with the FAO and the World Bank.

In awarding this distinction to Dr. Qu, the University of Liège wishes to highlight the constant multidisciplinary, innovative and interactive nature of his successive activities and functions. From a local, provincial and then national level in China, the influence of Dr Qu's actions is recognised worldwide following his appointment as head of the FAO. In line with the values of Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, Dr. Qu has contributed to, and continues to support, agricultural production in a changing context, reconciling the need to ensure the greatest number of people’s food needs are met with the objectives of sustainable development and resilience.


DOCToRS HONORIS CAUSA upon proposal by faculties in 2020