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Climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks with the media at the European Council building, in Brussels, on March 5, 2020.Virginia Mayo/The Associated Press

British Columbia’s provincial health officer and Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg are receiving honorary degrees from the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Bonnie Henry and Thunberg are among 18 people being honoured this spring as part of a tradition that recognizes individuals for their substantial contributions to society.

UBC president Santa Ono says Henry has served as a leading voice on public health during the pandemic while 18-year-old Thunberg has been an inspiration on climate change issues.

Henry has participated in international initiatives such as a polio eradication program in Pakistan and the World Health Organization’s response to the Ebola outbreak in Uganda.

Thunberg, a three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, has made her mark by challenging world leaders to take science-based action against climate change as she sparked activism around the globe.

Henry will receive her honorary degree at the Vancouver campus of the university while Thunberg will be granted hers at the Okanagan location in Kelowna.

Also among the honorary degree recipients is Irwin Cotler, a former justice minister of Canada who is referred to as “counsel for the oppressed” for his role in representing political prisoners in various countries.

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