Madam mayor, Ladies and gentlemen!
Expressing gratitude for a good meal is a fine Norwegian tradition. I have been given the honour, on behalf of the leadership of the University of Stavanger and its students union, to thank our hosts for the food. Before doing that, however, I would like to say a few words.
Let me begin by thanking mayor Christine Sagen Helgø and the City of Stavanger for being our hosts, not only this evening but also in general. The mayor and the city are always ready to show their support for the university, and are important partners for our leadership, staff and students.
The mayor, for example, will be hosting international students in these very premises later this autumn. Our foreign visitors will undoubtedly be very impressed at being entertained so royally. I would like to thank you on their behalf. Raissa Noronha, the member of the student council responsible for international issues, should have been with us this evening and at the UiS tomorrow, but has unfortunately been called to an important conference in Oslo.
The students union has regular meetings with the city council. It is gratifying that the mayor, city politicians and council officials always listen to the wishes and ideas of the UiS students and leadership on a wide range of issues, from accommodation to traffic conditions and more. Work is currently under way on a policy document concerning Stavanger as a university city. The council has initiated this process, but has been exemplary in involving students, the university and the business community.
When the university, the students, local government, businesses and the community as a whole join forces in creating a good place to study, success will not be hard to achieve. The students union held a conference in May to present the student body’s strategy for the university up to 2025.
This proved a great success, and many important and interesting topics were discussed. As the president of the students union at the UiS, I am proud to note that we are the only students union in Norway to have drawn up a strategy for the way our institution shoulddevelop in academic terms, through outreach programmes and within research and innovation.
If I may address Dr Flierman and Katrin Dircksen directly, I would like to say how pleased we are at this visit from the European Consortium of Innovative Universities. The UiS makes a strong contribution to value creation in its local region through its graduates, its research activities, commercialisation and other collaboration with the public and private sectors. Both the leadership and the students regard membership of the ECIU as important for the university’s continued development, for its internationalisation work, and for mobility, innovation and entrepreneurship.
We are accordingly looking forward with great anticipation to the outcome of this visit. We believe that membership of the ECIU will confer many benefits, and that our university also has something to contribute in return. The student body at the UiS accordingly fully supports joining the ECIU. Madam mayor.
On behalf of the UiS leadership – our heartfelt thanks for a beautiful meal. I would ask everyone to join me by toasting, in traditional Norwegian fashion, the good collaboration we have with the city and the community we form part of – and the hopes we have of an equally positive partnership with the ECIU. Skål.