South 40 resident Michael van Walt has been knighted by the Dutch government for exceptional service to society with a global impact. On the occasion of the birthday of His Majesty the King of the Netherlands, a national holiday, Michael was awarded the rarely bestowed royal distinction of Commander in the Order of Orange-Nassau (a Knighthood) for his life-long dedication and commendable achievements in support of the unrepresented and oppressed nations and peoples of the world; his tireless mediating activities to resolve intrastate conflicts through the non-profit organization Kreddha; as well as his academic pursuits.
The Dutch ambassador to the United States formally informed Michael of the honor bestowed on him. The ambassador would have come to San Francisco to bestow the medal in a ceremony, but due to COVID-19 restrictions had to do so by telephone. Owing to the pandemic, an official award ceremony will take place later this year, presumably in the Netherlands.
Michael is an international lawyer specializing in intra-state conflict resolution, has served as advisor and consultant to numerous governmental and non-governmental organizations in peace talks in regions ranging from Chechnya to Papua New Guinea, and is currently Executive President of Kreddha, an international, non-governmental organization for the prevention and resolution of violent intra-state conflicts which he founded in 1999.
The author of two books on the current status of Tibet and two on conflict resolution, Michael has held visiting teaching and research positions at Stanford, UCLA, Indiana, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and the Golden Gate University School of Law. He is now engaged in work on the causes of conflicts and obstacles to their resolution, focusing on the ways in which history is perceived and mobilized by the antagonistic parties.
Michael told his neighbor, Guy Biederman, “I have noticed that this award has provided an opportunity to connect/reconnect with many people, some of whom I had not been in touch with for ages. I got messages from people I barely knew at university, for example, and this enabled me to reconnect, which is especially nice during this COVID isolation.”