Ambassador Wilfried Geens
Founder of Franklin College
Honorary Degree Recipient

Ambassador Wilfried Geens received his academic degrees in Political Science at the Belgian universities of Antwerp and Leuven, and a Post-graduate degree in International Relations at the Johns Hopkins University Bologna Centre, Italy. After a teaching assignment in political science and European history in the post-graduate program at the American School in Switzerland, and later in Fleming College, he became in 1970 one of the four founders of Franklin College, the forerunner of our present Franklin University Switzerland.  At Franklin College he was the first Academic Dean. With his Franklin co-founders he was instrumental in the accreditation process of the college to assure recognition of the academic standards both in the US and Switzerland. 

After nine years of academic administration and teaching in Lugano, Ambassador Geens returned to his native Belgium to pursue his original professional calling to enter the Foreign Service. He was posted at the Belgian Delegation to the United Nations in New York, and subsequently in Lisbon and in the cabinet of the Belgian Foreign Minister in Brussels. He then was posted as Consul General in Sydney and Barcelona. He was deputy chief of mission in Moscow, Ambassador to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Ambassador to Israel, and finally Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland.

Since his retirement from the Foreign Service, Ambassador Geens returned as diplomat-in-residence to Franklin to teach seminar courses in International Organization. He was keynote speaker at Franklin’s Commencement in 2005.