In recent years, societies have faced major global crises. Rector Sari Lindblom remarked that global and national societal trends are the sum of complex factors and place great demands on university education.
“Tackling global challenges requires long-term research and expertise, as well as the understanding engendered by such expertise. Solving complex global and local challenges requires many decision-makers and much collaboration and interdisciplinarity.”
According to Lindblom, flexibility and the capacity for adaptation, or resilience, is a key ability for both individuals and communities as well as entire societies.
“At the University, we educate experts for an unknown future. The conduct of research is about making discoveries, and knowledge is constantly regenerated, which is why the ability to act amid change is crucial. Skills in analytical and critical thinking and the ability to solve problems are the competencies we provide at universities. Universities are bringers of hope,” Lindblom noted.
Lindblom also emphasised the importance of belonging to a community for the establishment of resilience.
“In our diverse community there is no room for racism or other forms of discrimination. It is crucial that each of us feels they are a part of the University.”
“Only by increasing and investing in skills can Finland’s future success be guaranteed”
In her speech, Rector Lindblom pointed out that the programme of Finland’s new government includes some decisions that are good for universities, and others that bring uncertainty about our future.
“The government’s decision to adhere to the university index is vital to Finnish universities. Reliable core funding in the long term guarantees continuity in research and education. Also important for the future of Finland is the pledge to raise research and development expenditure to 4% of the gross national product by 2030,” she stated.
On the other hand, action on the part of the Finnish government to enhance the level of education and skills appears less certain.
“The increasingly strict immigration policy proposed has especially raised concerns in our community. We are one of the largest employers in the country, with a key role in the recruitment of international talent,” Lindblom said.
Rector Lindblom pointed to the fact that Finland needs more international talent.
“Only by increasing and investing in skills can Finland’s future success be guaranteed. This is why obstacles to entering, staying and legally residing in Finland must not be renewed and strengthened but dismantled with determination.”