Jón Atli Benediktsson, Rector of the University of Iceland, sent the following message to University staff and students today (30 April 2021):
"Dear students and colleagues,
The University of Iceland has strong obligations to the entire nation and strives to share knowledge with the public so it may benefit everyone. The University of Iceland and Reykjavík University have been working together with the government over the past few months to develop an online course on artificial intelligence, which is now open to the public. The goal is to make knowledge about artificial intelligence accessible to everyone. It will also help to secure Iceland's competitiveness – the course is part of the action plan for Iceland in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The plan's overarching aim is to cultivate and advance knowledge and disseminate it throughout society.
Few things more clearly demonstrate the importance of knowledge and scientific discovery these days than the COVID-19 vaccines. This week, the vaccination programme in Iceland has made significant progress, bringing us promise of better and brighter days ahead. Still, we must not become complacent since, as we know from experience, a small mistake could be costly. We must continue to closely follow the advice from the authorities on physical distancing and other infection control measures.
The government has launched a special jobs initiative to increase the number of student summer jobs this year. The plan is to create over 3,000 temporary positions for students at public institutions and municipalities. The University of Iceland has applied to hire 300 students this summer and the jobs will be advertised shortly. The University of Iceland's summer course offerings will also be announced very soon.
Spring has certainly shown its face here in the south recently, with sunshine and mild breezes. And spring has brought not only the migratory birds that now fill the skies, but also our annual outreach programmes for children and young people, which are just around the corner. Preparations for the University of Youth are in full swing and the Knowledge Train is about to set off around the country. These award-winning programmes were both cancelled last year due to the pandemic. The Knowledge Train is celebrating its tenth anniversary with visits to three destinations in May: Húnaþing vestra, Strandabyggð and Fjarðabyggð. As always, it will bring with it fun and learning, offering exciting courses and workshops for pupils and teachers.
You certainly have a lot on your plates right now, dear students, in the thick of the spring exam period. Yet again, though, I want to remind you of the importance of looking up from your books and clearing the mind every now and then. Today, for example, is the perfect opportunity to enjoy a bit of music at lunch time, as the string quartet Siggi concludes this winter's highly successful University concert series. The concert will be streamed live from Litla Torg from 12.15 pm. It will also be available online afterwards, so you can listen at your leisure. And don't forget to get outside and enjoy the springtime.
Have a good weekend, dear students and colleagues, and take care.
Jón Atli Benediktsson, Rector"