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16/10/2020 - 12:15

Let's spread compassion

Jón Atli Benediktsson, Rector of the University of Iceland, sent the following message to University staff and students today (16 October 2020):

"Dear students and colleagues,

My heartfelt thanks, once again, for your solidarity and tenacity. We often see these two words together, and perhaps they are not worth much in and of themselves, but they represent that which is most important for us all in this fight against COVID-19. They are the key to success in all learning and research.

Although the virus is no milder than it was in previous waves, still we can look to the future with a certain optimism. This will not last forever and scientists have decisively joined forces to develop a vaccine and drugs that will help the whole of humankind. We don't know, however, exactly when a vaccine will be available or how effective it will be. We must not grow lax in following the rules that have been set. Solidarity and tenacity are our best defence against infection.

We are all weary of this protracted state of crisis caused by the pandemic and many people are experiencing growing anxiety. There are a lot of things we can do to help ourselves feel better. I would like to draw your attention to the services of the University's Student Counselling and Career Centre regarding relaxation and mindfulness and their range of educational material on mental health. Their website also features helpful advice on studying in these unusual times and information on the Student Psychology Clinic. I would also urge staff and students to take good care of their physical health and remind you that remote exercise classes are available for staff while the University Gym is closed.

Let's stay positive and support those closest to us. As we go into the weekend, we would do well to remember the words of the Irish writer Oscar Wilde, who was born on this day almost two centuries ago. The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.

Let's spread compassion, dear students and colleagues.

Jón Atli Benediktsson, Rector"