Prince Nikolaus of Liechtenstein and his wife Princess Margaretha will be staying at the University of Dallas in the McDermott Suite from Monday, Nov. 14, through Wednesday, Nov. 16.
The royal couple will be in Dallas to receive the 2011 Spirit of Thanks-Giving Award presented by the Thanks-Giving Foundation. The award honors those “who champion gratitude and thanksgiving around the world,” according to the foundation’s website. The prince and princess were selected to receive the award because of their work to promote human rights and further cross-cultural understanding.
Sybil Novinski, the University Historian in charge of the archives at UD, serves on the board of Thanks-Giving Square and was instrumental in arranging the royal couple’s visit to UD.
“Liechtenstein is about 95 percent Catholic,” Novinski said. “We’re the most Catholic university in north Texas; they’re one of the most Catholic countries. It just seemed right that we should do something.”
Prince Nikolaus’ older brother, Hans-Adam II, is the reigning prince of Liechtenstein and Europe’s wealthiest monarch, according to the BBC. Prince Nikolaus has been an advisor to the Liechtenstein government since 2010 and the country’s non-resident Ambassador to the Holy See since 1986. In 1988, the prince’s symposium on “Thanksgiving – Universal Dimension of Mankind” led the United Nations to declare the millennium year 2000 as the “International Year of Thanksgiving.”
Princess Margaretha, born the Princess of Luxemburg, has also been instrumental in the European scene. Since 2001 the princess has given her support and patronage to “DITT,” or Dyslexia International Tools and Technologies. In 2002 she co-founded New Women for Europe (NWFE), an organization that ensures the representation of women within European communities. The NWFE promotes the education and transmission of human values, such as the family and the dignity of women, to subsequent generations.
The royal couple also has a great interest in philosophy, and the prince is the president of the International Academy of Philosophy. It is partly because of this philosophical interest that the prince and princess will be coming to UD.
President Thomas Keefe is pleased by what the royal couple’s visit means for the university.
“We’re gratified that [the prince and princess] have recognized the academic excellence and great philosophy department that we have at this university,” Keefe said.
Keefe added that the royal couple’s visit is also a way for UD’s scholarly aptitude “to be recognized by the intellectuals in the Dallas community.”
Dr. Philipp Rosemann, chair of the philosophy department, arranged a philosophy seminar in which the prince will participate.
“We wanted to make a gesture to this eminent Catholic from a Catholic university,” Rosemann said. “And the prince was delighted to receive our invitation.”
The seminar will be on Wednesday, Nov. 16, in Gorman Faculty Lounge and will center on Pope Benedict XVI’s address to the German parliament last Sept. 22. In this address, titled “The Listening Heart: Reflections on the Foundation of Law,” the pope considered whether it is possible to have a legal institution that has no religious grounding.
After the professors talk about the pope’s speech to parliament, Rosemann said, “The prince will then speak more generally about the situation of Christianity in contemporary Europe.”
The panel will consist of Dr. William Frank, Dr. Richard Dougherty, Dr. Bainard Cowan and Ph.D. student Taylor Marshall.
The seminar is free to the public and seating will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. Due to their tight schedule, the seminar will be the only time that the royal couple will address the student body.
The prince and princess will receive the Spirit of Thanks-Giving Award on Tuesday, Nov. 15, in Thanks-Giving Square, which will be followed by a luncheon at the Tower Club. That evening, the couple will attend a reception and dinner at the Mansion in Dallas. These events are open to the public at prices ranging from $75 to $1,000. See the Thanks-Giving Square website, thanksgiving.org, for details.
On Wednesday, the royal couple will have breakfast at the university and then attend the philosophy seminar from 9 to 11 a.m. in Gorman Faculty Lounge. The seminar will be followed by an invitation-only luncheon in upstairs Haggar. The prince and princess will then depart for the DFW Airport at 2 p.m.