The International Association of Universities (IAU) turns 70. As vice-chancellor of University West in Sweden and on behalf of my staff and students, I want to congratulate the IAU.
We are living in difficult times with an ongoing pandemic that challenges the world and every single human being on our planet. This shows how vulnerable our world is and how quickly our living conditions can change for the worse.
This pandemic also illustrates what we have already known for a long time, namely that today’s major challenges are global. They require both excellent knowledge and panoramic ability, they require international and transdisciplinary approaches.
Achieving this requires leadership, courageous leadership, and a strong commitment to sustainability. International collaboration and common goals can help us find strength when forces and interests try to slow down or prevent us from putting global needs first.
The International Association of Universities is putting global needs first. The work of the IAU contributes to both leadership, sustainability, internationalisation, and highlights the role of technology in higher education. This pandemic teaches us how we can use and profit from technology, helping us continue HE seminars for our students and bridging long distances allowing us to conduct conferences, PHD-seminars and examinations far beyond our national borders.
Therefore, I hope the International Association of Universities will continue its fantastic work and bring people and universities together to work towards our common goals. We are extremely grateful for all the valuable information and knowledge you provide and spread generously.
My university, University West in Trollhättan on the West Coast of Sweden, is one of the youngest in Sweden. Exactly 40 years younger than the IAU! One of our values is “Crazy enough” – not crazy, but crazy enough. It means that we challenge ourselves each day to think out of the box and take risks, but – like the famous physicist Niels Bohr said – in a way there is always a small chance and hope that the almost impossible can become a truth.
In that sense, from us in Sweden: congratulations and we wish you the best of luck in the work that lies ahead!