Södertörn University has awarded an honorary doctorate every year since 2013. They are awarded to people who have made significant contributions to society and culture, promoted the university’s education or research, or inspired or contributed to its development in other ways. Södertörn University’s Faculty Board has decided to award the honorary doctorate for 2024 to journalist and author Anna-Lena Laurén. Over the past few decades, Laurén has worked as a reporter and correspondent for many Swedish and Finnish media, focusing on coverage from Russia and Eastern Europe. She was recently appointed the Kyiv correspondent of Dagens Nyheter, a major Swedish broadsheet.
“Anna-Lena Laurén is an outstanding journalist, stylistic writer, narrator and conveyor of knowledge, and has a unique and important voice in the public sphere. Her texts cut through the media noise, thanks to their incomparable combination of investigative journalism and sympathetic pathos, macroanalysis and micro perspectives. Due to Russia’s aggressive invasion of Ukraine and the polarisation we see in the media, her significance to the contemporary media landscape has never been more pronounced,” says Stina Bengtsson, chair of the Faculty Board at Södertörn University.
Laurén has written several books about Russia and Eastern Europe and has received prizes for both her journalism and her authorship. These include the Swedish Publicists’ Association’s “golden pen” award, Guldpennan, in 2015, Journalist of the Year in Finland in 2020, Årets stilist (stylistic writer of the year) in Sweden in 2021, and the prestigious Jolopriset in 2022, in memory of author and journalist Jan Olof Olsson.
“Receiving this award is a great honour. I believe it confirms the importance of foreign correspondents, in the field, for understanding the world around us. Journalism and intellectual conversation, research and debate in Swedish have an intrinsic value, just as there is an intrinsic value in learning about countries, languages and cultures over long periods. There are no shortcuts to deeper understanding, which presupposes open government and impartial intellectual debate,” she says.
The citation for the award of 2024’s honorary doctorate is:
“Laurén’s authorship and journalism are an excellent fit with Södertörn University’s research focus on the Baltic Sea region and Eastern Europe, as well as the university’s ethos. Her work provides important inspiration for the research into the Baltic Sea region that is conducted at Södertörn University, and her committed, knowledgeable, nuanced and informative voice is a role model for everyone in the public sphere. Laurén’s way of working demonstrates the incredible importance of having a journalist in the field on a long-term basis, with a wide contact network that stretches beyond the usual channels and sources in the governing elite. She is a unique and important contemporary voice, and is therefore awarded Södertörn University’s honorary doctorate for 2024.”