Universities Can Contribute to Peaceful and Sustainable Development

Last week, I had the privilege of attending a seminar titled Mediterranean Crisis: University Cooperation for Sustainable Development and Peace. The conference was held outside Rome and gathered students from the Balkans, the Middle East and Europe to discuss peace and sustainability issues. The ultimate purpose of the event, the second of its kind and organised by Università Roma Tre in Rome, was to involve universities in an effort to promote peaceful and sustainable development in for example the Middle East. One key task is to involve students from the affected areas in the region and get them to start talking to each other.

Students, researchers and other university people got to hear about the work with Master’s programmes that has helped to build up the academic structure for example after the wars in former Yugoslavia and Lebanon. There were a large number of good conversations that I hope will lead to further cooperation with support from both the EU and the UN. I am also thinking that the University of Gothenburg has a good potential to participate in this work.

We have now formally welcomed our new students at an event held at the Museum of World Culture in collaboration with Chalmers University of Technology. Vice-Chancellor Stefan Bengtsson and I gave a joint welcome speech to more than a thousand new students, both Swedish and international. It was a nice gathering and we had a good time.

The University’s new doctoral students had their mandatory introduction day last Friday. The Wallenberg Centre was filled with eager doctoral students from all Faculties who were informed about what it is like to study at the University of Gothenburg. I also said a few words and welcomed them to the University.

Finally, I must say that it feels good to now have become Vice-Chancellor ‘for real’. Although I technically started my new job on 1 July, I must admit that it feels extra good after being formally inaugurated at the inauguration ceremony held a little over a week ago. I want to sincerely thank all staff and others who helped make my day special!

Eva Wiberg