Vice-chancellor: About war and humanity
Last week we woke up to the news that Russia had invaded Ukraine. It feels unreal and far away, and at the same time so close. I have family and friends in both Russia and Ukraine. People who are on either side of a land border in countries that have long lived as friends. People who are now forced to see their homelands at war.
A dark chapter in the history of Europe has begun, and I cannot describe in words the dismay I feel about Putin's choice to invade Ukraine. It is a threat to international peace and security, and a violation of international law that the Swedish government and the EU condemn in the strongest possible terms. "The Russian invasion of Ukraine is unprovoked, illegal and indefensible," the Swedish Prime Minister said. I can only agree.
At MDU we do not have any colleagues or students who are in Ukraine or Russia at the moment. It might be good for you to know. However, we do have staff and students who have chosen to move to Sweden from both Ukraine and Russia. My deepest concern goes out to you who have family and friends in Ukraine. We will do our best to support those who feel worried and afraid. Professional support is available for those who wish, for example through the Student health care, but above all I would like to urge all MDU staff and students to show extra care for your peers right now.
We are in a difficult and turbulent time, but in times like this we as a higher education institution have an important social task. We will contribute with research-based knowledge that gives people the opportunity to understand – both the events themselves and their own reactions to what is happening. During the past days, researchers from MDU were interviewed by media and have thus contributed with urgent perspectives. This is extremely important in a time of disinformation and polarisation.
In armed conflicts, there are only losers. The Ukrainian and Russian friends I have been in contact with express dismay at the invasion – they, like the rest of us, can hardly believe it to be true. In these times, it is more important than ever that we as a higher education institution stand up for peace and democracy, and that all of us as fellow human beings care for each other – regardless of nationality.
Take care of yourself and of each other!