11 July awards for Flanders' stars of sport, culture and education

The Flemish government traditionally awards medals of honour each year to mark the Day of the Flemish Community, 11 July. This year’s recipients are film director Lukas Dhont, singer Kristel Verbeke, basketball star Emma Meesseman, cancer charity boss Marc Michils – and the entire teaching staff of Flanders’ education system

The awards are given to people or organisations who make a difference to society. This year, more than 20,000 teachers will receive the title, VRT reports on Tuesday. “We need teachers and that is why we should all show our appreciation a bit more often,” minister-president Jan Jambon (N-VA) said at the ceremony in Brussels. Four recent “teachers of the year” received the award on behalf of the entire profession.

Dhont, director of Girl and Close, was given the title for his “pioneering film work, superb screenplays and allowing the Flemish film and entertainment landscape to shine internationally”, Jambon said.

Meesseman and the Belgian Cats basketball team became world champions earlier this year, an achievement that Jambon credits with giving a boost to women’s sport. Meesseman is “an example for countless girls who dream of a sports career and make major sacrifices to do so.”

Michils was director of cancer charity Kom op tegen Kanker for 10 years until his retirement. Jambon decribed him as someone who, despite adversity, wholeheartedly remains optimistic and works to improve the lives of sick people. 

Finally, Verbeke is best known as one of the original members of pop group K3; she now works to reduce child poverty through her work with the non-profit Kinderarmoedefonds.


#FlandersNewsService | © BELGA PHOTO HATIM KAGHAT

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