Researchers must alleviate irrational fears

Is the idea of national selfishness rational, asks Fadumo Dayib, University of Helsinki doctoral student and candidate in the Somalian presidential elections. Global responsibility is one of the themes in this week’s Science for a Better World seminar marking the University’s anniversary year.

The number of major global challenges that cannot be solved locally is increasing. One of such challenges is the large number of refugees, something that most Finns have noticed in their everyday lives.

“The world is globally connected, and our society cannot afford to turn inward. And yet, populist politicians are claiming that Finland must focus on its national interests,” says Fadumo Dayib (@fqdayib).

Demand for facts

Dayib rose to international fame last year, when she became a candidate in Somalia's upcoming presidential elections. A recent graduate of Harvard University’s Master’s programme in public administration, Dayib is now focusing on her doctoral dissertation at the University of Helsinki. In her dissertation, Dayib analyses how the Resolution on Women, Peace and Safety by the UN Security Council is implemented in the Horn of Africa.

The University of Helsinki's 375th anniversary year culminates in the Science for a Better World seminar this week, 12–13 November, and Dayib will be there both as a doctoral student and a political figure to discuss the role of science in solving global challenges.

”In the discussion on refugees, researchers can offer facts instead of irrational fear-mongering. For example, statistics indicate that as the population of Finland ages, it makes economic sense to take in refugees,” Dayib points out. “At the seminar I want to talk about how contemporary phenomena interconnect, and how this is why domestic and foreign policy must walk side by side, even in Finland. We should also be looking at integrating refugees into our society in a much more comprehensive way.”

Solutions from the top

In addition to Fadumo Dayib, the discussion on global responsibility at the Science for a Better World seminar will feature Pasi Saukkonen, a researcher of political science and identity and Ozan Yanar, Member of Parliament.

Other themes in the open seminar include health, climate change, the role of science in effecting change, the significance of new information in the formation of our worldview as well as the impact of digitalisation on education.

The top names in science have been enlisted to provide answers to these major questions, including Nobel Prize in Chemistry winner Sir John Walker, a pioneer of molecular biology, and cosmologist Lawrence Krauss, who has received awards for his efforts to popularise science, as well as esteemed cancer researcher Kari Alitalo and the world’s most cited researcher in geosciences Markku Kulmala, from the University of Helsinki.  Welcome!

The Science for a Better World seminar 12–13 November, programme and registration

Helsinki Challenge Grand Finale 12 November