Dear students, welcome to Lund University and Sweden!

A week has passed since our Arrival Day and I hope it has been an exciting and interesting week for you.

Lund University is very honored that you have chosen to study at our university, and now you are here! Congratulations! I hope that you will have a wonderful time here.

This semester we have once again welcomed a large group of international students from more than 110 different countries all over the world. We are very fortunate to have you here with us. You inspire us and put the world in new and different perspectives. All students and staff benefit from this. The global classroom is very much alive here at Lund University!

The international dimension and internationalisation as such are crucial aspects for Lund University to act and make a difference in an increasingly globalised world. And you are important as ambassadors for us as well as for your countries. Your experiences are important to us since it enhances the international dimension of what we do in both education and research.

With your help and enthusiasm, we will continue to encourage more students and staff to take the chance to go global and make a difference in this world.

You are of course here to study and this part is the most important one in your stay, but do not forget to participate in the extracurricular activities that Studentlund offers, Studentlund encompasses the “nations” – student social clubs, the Academic society AF, that you probably saw when you arrived and the student unions, that handle politics, but are not linked to political parties. Remember that Lund is considered number one in Sweden when it comes to student life, so I strongly recommend you to sign up for the Studentlund membership which gives you access to everything that characterizes Lund University life.

I wish you all the best for your stay here in Sweden! Good luck with everything and remember to have fun!

Eva Wiberg

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Summer is here – time to look back at spring activities!

I hope your spring semester has been as exciting and interesting as mine has been. May has been a busy month with several high-level meetings within the framework of our prioritized networks U21 and LERU.

Together with Marianne Gullberg (Humanities Laboratory) Sanimir Resic (Faculties of Humanities and Theology), Anna Bruce and Gregor Noll (Faculty of Law) I participated at the U21 Language Science & Global Mobility workshop that took place on 25-26 April at the University of Edinburgh.  The objective with the workshop was to develop plans for a U21 initiative in language science, tentatively known as the Global Research Alliance in Language (GRAIL). Discussions were also held around language and migration issues. Recommendations from the workshop were reviewed in early May by leaders from U21 institutions at meetings in Washington DC and Singapore.

The U21 3-day workshop Informing Climate Action 2016 on 2-4 May at the University of Maryland (UMD) in early May was a huge undertaking with participation by several researchers from Lund University on the topics of climate, energy and sustainability research. The workshop was integrated with the 2016 Climate Action Forum on 4 May, which was an open conference linked to the high-level Climate Action 2016 Summit co-organised by UMD, the World Bank and the UN, with the participation of  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. I had the pleasure to speak with the Secretary-General in a bilateral meeting, discussing cooperation between the UN and U21.

The week in Washington DC started with an event at House of Sweden with specially invited scientists, researchers and management from U21 member universities. Together with the Chair of our University Board, Ambassador Jonas Hafström I also took the opportunity to meet with the Chair of Lund University Foundation, Mr Göran Eriksson, to discuss coming activities with our Foundation in the US. Since May I’m a member of the board of LUF, a position that I highly value.

The U21 Annual General Meeting was held at the National University of Singapore on 11-13 May. U21 might soon have its 26th member as discussions are held with the University of Zurich to join the network. This was my last AGM as Executive Director for U21, but I will continue my engagement within the network from my position as Deputy Vice-Chancellor. For more information about U21, please visit  http://universitas21.com

At the annual LERU Rectors’ Assembly on 20-21 May the question of membership was raised. The Assembly agreed on inviting three new members, i.e., the University of Copenhagen, ETH Zurich and Trinity College Dublin. For more information about LERU, please visit http://leru.org/index.php/public/home

Looking towards 2017

An important conclusion after the meetings in Edinburgh and Washington was a commitment to organize a major U21 conference on the topic of migration in 2017 in Hong Kong.  The idea was endorsed at the U21 AGM in Singapore. One of Universitas 21’s missions is to raise a voice in the public debate and commit our resources to help improve the situation in the world today.

The conference in Hong Kong will most probably discuss migration from four different viewpoints:

Health
Language
Climate
Law

Lund University will of course take an active part in all the discussions through our dedicated researchers within these important areas. This is a way of putting research at Lund University in the spotlight. More information to come.

I wish you all a pleasant and relaxing summer!

Eva

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We are proud to host the IDAHOT day at Lund University!

IDAHOT day at Lund University. We are proud to have the rainbow flag on top of our main building today! And in many other parts of the university. We are all humans, let us be kind to each other!

IDAHOTdag 17 mars 2016

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Sweden Excellence Seminar in Indonesia

I have had the pleasure of leading the SACF delegation during the Indonesia-Sweden Excellence Seminar with activities taking place in Yogyakarta, Bandung and Jakarta.  In Yogyakarta 32 colleagues from the Swedish universities of Uppsala, Stockholm, KTH, Chalmers, Linköping and Lund University  discussed around current issues with top Indonesian researchers, focusing on how Swedish and Indonesian researchers can collaborate in the future within:

Maritime Development and Marine Technology
Urban Planning
Local Resilience and Disaster Management
Renewable Energy
Civil Society

The Lund University representatives  included Dean Viktor Öwall, as well as Magnus Genrup (both Faculty of Engineering), Anders Uhlin (Faculty of Social Sciences), Benedict Oppong Asamoah (Faculty of Medicine), Klas Malmqvist (Division at Research, Collaboration and Innovation), Richard Stenelo, Head of International Office and myself. The discussions were very valuable for me as we had the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences with the participating university leaders from Sweden and Indonesia regarding issues such as sustainable research management and the future of higher education.

While I was continuing to Jakarta after the seminar to meet important partners of Lund University and to reconnect to our alumni, some of LU’s participants took advantage of the opportunity to deepen their scientific discussions that started during the seminar. Professor Anders Uhlin organised together with Professor Purwo Santoso (UGM) a workshop with the title “Formal and Informal Politics: Lessons regarding Civil Society and Governance” at Universitas Gadjah Mada, in which also Dr. Benedict Oppong Asamoah participated.

Professor Viktor Öwall and Professor Magnus Genrup participated in a mini-symposium on “Renewable Energy and Urban Planning” at Institut Teknologi Bandung.

Judging by the feedback received, the participating researchers found the seminar valuable in different ways. Getting to know the Indonesian research and educational system was considered as invaluable for future collaboration activities.

Sweden has a tradition in research related to Indonesia. An excellent example is Professor Anders Uhlin from the Department of Political Science who wrote his PhD-dissertation about the Indonesian pro-democracy movement in the 1990s. An Indonesian translation of the book was published right after the fall of President Suharto in 1998 and has apparently been used as required reading in many political science courses up until today, something Anders learnt about both from workshop participants in Yogyakarta and when he gave a guest lecture for more than 100 lecturers and students at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta. For Anders who has not worked that closely with Indonesia for a long time, this was an excellent opportunity to develop both old and new contacts with Indonesian researchers.

For more information, please visit the SACF website.

Eva

 

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The academic world urges publishers to enter a brave new world!

 

Recently LERU, (League of European Research Universities) /published a statement on open access. Swedish and European universities pay significant parts of their budgets to publishers, in a European perspecitve, hundreds of millions of Euros.

In the era of Open Science and  Open Data, Open Access to publications is one of the cornerstones of the new research paradigm, and the business models of the publishers must support this transition. It should be one of the principal objectives of policy makers to ensure that this transition happens.  Open Science is here, and with increasingly tighter budgets within institutions, rising subscription costs and article processing charges, policy makers should make it one of their  principal objectives so that reviewed and transparent research is spread to the entire academic world.

At Lund University we strongly support the LERU initative and look forward to a transition from traditional subscription models to an Open Access future. Researchers are looking for a change in publishing models and Open Access is swiftly becoming the default way in which research publications are made availiable to as wide audience as possible.

Eva

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Lund University welcomes new international students!

This semester some 650 international students arrived in Lund on 11 January. This is a great moment for Lund University, the arrival of you students from all over the world, most of you through an exchange programme! All in all you represent more than 50 different nationalities. We value the diversity this brings to our global classroom. Canada, China, the US, Australia, Germany and Singapore are represented with the largest groups of students this spring. Whether you are a big group of students coming from a country or the only one from your country, you will soon be experiencing the hospitality of Lund University and its students, its inhabitants.

At Lund University we strive to develop the international learning environment and also to strengthen the international perspectives in education. And in this effort you are an important part! We would like to give all our students the opportunity to develop global awareness, be it at home or abroad, and an interest in international affairs.

I am very pleased that you have chosen to study  at Lund University. I promise that we will do our utmost to make you feel welcome and even feel a little bit at home. So, make the most of your time here – get involved, meet new people, explore your new surroundings and have fun! Enjoy your first Swedish fika – the traditional coffee/tea break at least once a day!

Have a nice spring semester at Lund University!

Eva

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November 2015 – Paving the way for research collaborations in Asia

The Swedish Academic Collaboration Forum (SACF) has now taken two steps further in the series of jointly organised seminars. I have had the pleasure of leading two Lund University delegations to two separate seminars, one in Singapore 2-5 November and one in Shanghai, China, 16-19 November. All in all, thirteen researchers from seven faculties at Lund University took part in the two seminars.

The objective of the seminars was to increase Singapore and Shanghai’s knowledge of Swedish research and to facilitate meetings between leading researchers from the two countries. Hopefully this will lead to long lasting connections that lead to fruitful collaborations in both a short and a long-term perspective. The immediate objective is to address and discuss issues facing our societies and world today by way of utilising our joint expertise in several research areas, such as:

Materials Science
Ageing Society
Sustainable Development
Urban Planning
Education

In the feedback received, a large proportion of the participating researchers stated that they found the seminars valuable, but often in different ways. Some established new contacts in Singapore and in Shanghai. Some connected with fellow colleagues from other Swedish universities. A clear outcome was the fact that it is very valuable to learn about the Asian perspective of global challenges of today. And how, for example, the Chinese university system works.

Coming up next year is two more seminars, one in Indonesia and one in Brazil. And a final seminar in Stockholm next autumn that will sum up the learning we have made during this series of seminars and take it to the next level.

For more information on the respective seminars, please visit the SACF website

Eva

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Africa and Paris: “If you want to walk fast, walk alone; but if you want to walk far, walk together”

This week started in a very positive way but ended tragically.

Our Africa day on 10 November meant the start of a deepening and concretization of the work that Lund University’s Africa Group has been planning since they were established. Bringing together researchers and students from different parts of the University in order to discuss cross boundary collaboration was one of the goals. Tthere was a speed dating, research match making of ongoing projects related to the African continent, and valuable presentations of what we can do together with our African colleagues, and what actually is going on in some parts of Africa, including a report from the Africa correspondent for the national newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

The Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria and Ghana, H.E. Svante Kilander presented the situation in Nigeria, this huge country that in two generations time will have doubled their population. There are great expectations and hope for the future, not at least because of the recent results of the election. Education is the way forward, the Ambassador pointed out.

Professor Margret C Lee, from the University of North Carolina, gave the stories of five ”unsung heroes” in Africa – five persons’ lives and efforts for a better Africa. I think we all were very touched by these stories which gave inspiration and hope.
Another goal was to understand what activities SIDA endorse in relation to research cooperations.  Dr AnnaMaria Oltorp, Head of SIDA division for research collaborations gave us food for thought, and said that she was impressed with the work Lund University is doing.

See and hear the discussions in the evening “Debate in Lund” here.

The day after, the Faculty of Medicine arranged an event with dear friends of the University. Presentations were made about global health, with special focus on research projects going on in developing countries. Important research about preeclampsia, HIV, TBC, sexual rights and global surgery was presented.

 
The week ended in tragedy. Our deepest thoughts go to the many victims and their families and friends of the atrocious terrorist attack in Paris! We must always fight for freedom of speech, of religion, and Universities are agents for change here. Wherever we come from, we need to see to it that we as Universities can stand up for changes in mentality, towards democratic attitudes where such attitudes are at risk.

“If you want to walk fast, walk alone; but if you want to walk far, walk together”.
The above African proverb has been quoted numerous times to demonstrate the power that comes with working with others towards achieving something greater for groups of persons, than sole individuals. To us, it emphasizes the power of relationships!  Next week I will meet with colleagues in Shanghai and in London.  We are in it together and we will find comfort realizing that we have friends around the world.

Take care,
Eva

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Our warmest thoughts go to the victims and their families in Paris!

Today we woke up with terrible news from Paris about the brutal terrorist attacks on innocent people, persons who wanted to spend a nice Friday evening. Our deepest condolences and thoughts to all those who were killed or injured and to their families and friends. Our thoughts go to the French people, to all colleagues in France at the French Universities, to our students and staff that are in France, to the French students and colleagues at Lund University.

Warmest regards,

Eva

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South Africa, a state evolving to meet the future

Just over a week ago I had the privilege to participate in a seminar at the University of Johannesburg that coincided with a meeting of U21’s manager’s group. The seminar focused on how higher education in Southern Africa needs to evolve to meet the needs and challenges the continent is facing.

The seminar gave us insight into how African Universities have shaped society, but also the reverse, how society has influenced and still influences the Universities. The African continent is facing major challenges with a population that is expected to grow from today’s 1.2 to 4.8 billion in two generations. Universities have a crucial role, both in the training of future leaders and in contributing in the effort to solve the challenges that the societies are facing with such a sharp increase in population. The South African school system was mentioned, where there are large gaps in quality, and many students do not finish their secondary education. To conclude the seminar addressed the important changes that the educational systems have to go through in order to bring new groups to begin higher studies.

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) is an interesting and instructive example of how the new and modern education system in South Africa is emerging, and how to consciously work towards a positive development.

Meanwhile, discussions on tuition fees have resulted in student uprisings. You have probably followed the news with the hashtags #RhodesMustFall to #FeesMustFall to free HE. And now President Jacob Zuma has announced that tuition fees will not be increased for 2016.

South Africa is a fascinating country. At our visit it was, at least partially, draped in orange and purple. Orange since we were invited to visit the UJ’s “Orange Carpet Reception” where top students and their families were greeted by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ihron Rhensburg, at a reception at which they were given information about the opportunities to study at UJ. All Faculties with their Deans and Senior Managers were present and mingled with the students. Purple since the whole town was full of blooming purple jacarandas!

Thank you so much, University of Johannesburg, for your kind hospitality!

Eva

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