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27/06/2022 - 14:35

Education is the cornerstone of freedom and prosperity

Education is the cornerstone of freedom and prosperity - Available at University of Iceland

"Education is not only a powerful tool it is also the cornerstone of freedom and prosperity. I hope that you, dear graduates, will use the powers of your education and the knowledge it has brought you for good; contributing to prosperity and peace wherever your endeavours may take you in years to come."

So said Jón Atli Benediktsson, rector of the University of Iceland on Saturday at the graduation of 2,594 candidates from both undergraduate- and graduate studies.  Students graduated from all five University schools. 
Jón Atli said that even though Icelanders are an independent nation all the world's nations form one humanity. "No nation stands alone, we have to work together as one."  

Rector said that the distance to Kiev in the Ukraine is only around 3,300 kilometres; equivalent of driving around Iceland three times.  "The world is shrinking and the horror of war has struck at the heart of Europe. The consequences of the war in Ukraine has reminded us of how small our world really is. We who share this globe are in fact one big family as our desitiny is entwined in so many ways.  We need to consider the global scene in all aspects of industry and society in Iceland, whilst cultivating our cultural inheritance. The University of Iceland has taken the lead in this respect," said the University rector and added that Icelanders were determined to support refugees who have had to flee their homes in Ukraine due to the unjust invasion of their neighbouring country.  

Two ceremonies due to a large number of graduates

There were two ceremonies due to the large number of gradates who now either go on to make their marks in their careers or embark on further studies in Iceland or abroad.  In the first stage of the Graduation Ceremony, which started at  10 am, undergraduate and postgraduate candidates from the Schools of Social Sciences and Engineering and Natural Sciences and and  will receive their degree certificates. The total number of graduates from the School of Social Sciences was 653 and 311 from the School of Engineering and Natural Sciences.

The second one started at 1.30 P.M. for candidates graduating from undergraduate and graduate studies from the Schools of Health Sciences, Humanities and Education. The total number of graduates from the School of Health Sciences was 578, 279 from the School of Humanities, and 773 from the School of Education.

Jón Atli also talked about the importance of international affairs in his address and the University policy places great emphasis on quality in of the university's operations to strengthen both teaching and research for a competitive standing in a global context. One of the main goals of the university is to take down barriers, open the university up and work across units with fruitful dialogue and collaboration with society, industry and universities worldwide.
"Our main emphasis is to place internationally acknowledged standards at the core of all our operations," said rector. "The University of Iceland's strategy solidifies a commitment to be an open and international university.   This will contribute to continuing prosperity in Iceland and ensure that your degrees will always be valuable on the global scene.

Jón Atli talked about the important role the University holds in the Aurora cooperation - a network of excellent European universities. He said that the collaboration will in the near future ensure increased opportunities for university students to take part of their studies at prestigious international universities; especially due to  advances in information technology.  

We may never shy away from global challenges

In addition to talking about new buildings on campus such as the Icelandic House, a renovated Hotel Saga that will house the School of Education, and new housing for health sciences, rector commended the in the turbulence of recent events.  All those receiving their diplomas today have experienced the unequivocal impact of the corona virus on university operations.  

"Even though the last few semesters have indeed been challenging, they have also been the source of new experience and new knowledge in many fields. On the bases of that knowledge we base the development of new solutions and drugs for viral diseases.

Jón Atli said that the University of Iceland was ready to shoulder responsibility in a world that is both wonderful and treacherous.  "Each and everyone of us must find a way to enjoy life and be happy, but we may never shy away from global challenges. I urge you, dear candidates, to be brave, to continue to set the bar high, allow yourselves to dream big and have great visions. But as important as dreams are, actions speak louder.