Eugeen Verhellen passed away on friday October 6th.
Eugeen Verhellen was teaching at Ghent University for many years. As a professor he pioneered on children’s rights, long before the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
He strongly believed on children as competent actors and fully-fledged members of society. That was one of the main issues in all his lectures and publications, both nationally and internationally. In his research and advocacy work he continuously made it clear how human rights also apply to children and young people. Which in a way became his motto: 'Pedagogy is all about human rights.'
He doesn’t only leave a mark academically, but also on the field of children’s rights. He was the driving force for several children’s rights NGO’s and for the public institution of the Flemish Children’s Rights Commissioner.
For VBJK this is a special goodbye. Every day, we develop the approach of children as competent beings and meaning makers, however young they are. We work towards accessibility of basic provision for all children and their families, as all children are entitled to high quality services. And we as well, try to combine research, practice and policy.
But it is also a sad and personal goodbye. Our colleague Ankie Vandekerckhove used to work with Eugeen and became the First Flemish Children’s Rights Commissioner. She calles Eugeen her ‘warm and wise mentor’, who showed her the way on the interesting children’s rights path. 'It was a privilege to know him, to work with him and to discuss with him.'
He will be missed.