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Four new members for Fryske Akademy

Managing Director Nelleke IJssennagger-van der Pluijm with the newly appointed members: Jacob Fokkema, Sietske Poepjes, Wim Benes and Hinne Wagenaar. (photo: Marieke Balk)

At the Akademy Day on Friday 8 September 2023, four new Academy members were appointed: Hinne Wagenaar, Sietske Poepjes, Wim Benes and Jacob Fokkema. The members were appointed for their special contribution in the field of science or society with regard to the Frisian language and culture.

HInne Wagenaar (61, living in Hilaard, born in Nijemirdum) - A theology of his own, the uniqueness of Fryslân and the Frisian identity, and connecting that to the world of church and faith, is central to Wagenaar's life. This is expressed, among other things, in a series of important scholarly publications on Frisian missionary history and in setting up a postgraduate course Geloven in Friesland for pastors and pastors. For his role as an ambassador of the Frisian story and a Frisian spirituality, with an eye for people, history and multilingualism, for his role as a connector of people, community and culture, and for his role as a booster of a full-fledged use of Frisian alongside other languages used here in the realm of church and faith, and in particular for Nijkleaster, Wagenaar is granted membership.

Sietske Poepjes (44, living in Makkum, born in Harlingen) - Former deputy Poepjes has worked for a language policy with ambition and concrete goals. She dedicates herself to Frisian as an ambassador, a motivator and a booster. Where she goes, she propagates the Frisian language and culture. She motivates society big and small to use the language and shape the culture in a contemporary way.

Wim Benes (57, living in Leeuwarden, born in Harlingen) - The Frisian language and culture also need digital tools. Benes was one of the first to understand how we not only communicate through the screen, but also how strongly the screen communicates with us. He ensured that these new concepts came to us in Frisian at an early stage as well. Through his efforts, in cooperation with the Fryske Akademy and other organisations, the wonderful Frisian collection of recorded sentences for CommonVoice was created, when CommonVoice existed only in English.

Jacob Fokkema (75, living in Schiedam, born in Leeuwarden) - Promoted in record time after graduating on a difficult thesis, subsequent international career, Fokkema eventually became rector magnificus at his alma mater in Delft. Jacob Fokkema served on the science committee of the Fryske Akademy and later chaired its Supervisory Board. He devoted himself to the entire scientific infrastructure in Fryslân, stood at the cradle of the University Campus Fryslân. He also did the necessary work at the international knowledge institute Wetsus, and he is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Stichting Academie van Franeker.