By Professor Jens Ringsmose, Rector of the University of Southern Denmark
Soon, the peace of Christmas will descend upon our universities, reminding us that peace is often to be found in glimmers of hope. Like the Christmas Eve in 1914, when the soldiers in the trenches looked each other in the eyes and agreed not to kill each other on Christmas Eve.
Christmas peace is a moment of calm in a troubled world, and it seems especially needed this year both globally and at the European universities.
Because these years of geopolitical confrontations and the seething clash with the ‘authority of reason’ have become part of university life and are challenging our fundamental values.
To me, these challenges show beyond any doubt that as universities we need to be absolutely clear about our fundamental values of freedom of research, freedom of teaching, freedom of debate and freedom of expression, and insist that universities are fundamentally international.
These values have been the foundation for the great success of universities over centuries. And they are vital for universities to contribute to solving our shared global challenges – for us to spark light and hope in a time of gloom.
At SDU, we are driven by a strong ambition to develop society through excellent research, outstanding graduates and collaboration. We have strong roots in Southern Denmark and are internationally orientated. Because we know that only together with our network of European research universities and the society around us can we contribute to solving our collective global challenges.
In that light, 2023 has been a good year at SDU.
Our quantum research, which is going to shape the future, is in a class of its own, and this year we have expanded our position of strength with the new basic research centre Polima and the establishment of SDU Quantum Hub, that brings together all our talents in quantum research.
This Autumn we opened our new Faculty of Health Sciences New HEALTH, which brings together the University and the University Hospital in Odense. This will create an extraordinary framework for research, education and innovation in the healthcare sector in the coming years. Find out more about the project here.
Now, we are looking forward to an exciting new year full of opportunities and great collaborations, both regionally and internationally. The University of Southern Denmark wishes all YERUN partners a merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous 2024.