Profs at German university want to award Snowden honorary degree

Nov. 18, 2013 at 9:47 AM

ROSTOCK, Germany, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- U.S. secrets-leaker Edward Snowden may get an honorary doctorate from Germany's Rostock University, as a dean praised Snowden's courage and civil disobedience.

Hans Jurgen Wensierski, dean of the university's philosophy department, said the world shouldn't forget Snowden after he "dedicated himself" to exposing truth, the Berliner Zeitung reported Monday.

Rostock wants to award the former National Security Agency contractor the honorary degree after he leaked thousands of confidential documents that revealed NSA's huge spying program. Snowden, wanted by the United States, was granted temporary asylum in Russia.

"We are impressed with the civic courage and civil disobedience of Mr. Snowden," Wensierski said. "Moral courage is a central theme in research and teaching of the social sciences and humanities."

Wensierski said civil disobedience as displayed by Snowden was a key part of modern democracy, citing Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. of the United States, South Africa's Nelson Mandela and India's Mahatma Gandhi as "citizens who infringed states' laws in the service of the greater good."

The German version of The Local said Wensierski and two colleagues submitted an application for Snowden to receive the honorary doctorate. The application is being reviewed by the university.

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