The anniversary celebration kicked off on Friday 19 October with an anniversary seminar where the Norwegian Minister of Education and Integration, Mr. Jan Tore Sanner, participated. Together with rectors and deans from the Norwegian mainland universities, he outlined what expectations the Ministry has of UNIS in the coming years. UNIS has since its modest start in 1993 expanded from a course for a few Norwegian students to a university centre with world-class research and students from the whole world, the Minister said.
– Today, UNIS is by far the largest scientific institution in Svalbard, and it plays a central role in the international science community in the archipelago. Quite a journey!
The one and only!
He also pointed out that the strategy for research and higher education in Svalbard states that UNIS is the Government’s institution for providing higher education in Svalbard. – In other words: You are the one and only for us!
After 25 years it is easy to conclude that UNIS has been – and will continue to be – essential for achieving the essence of the government’s Svalbard strategy, the Minister noted.
– But we also celebrate a cornerstone in the Svalbard community today. Students and employees are deeply engaged in the local community. And the locals are also engaged in UNIS. The last 25 years have laid a solid foundation for further development of world-class research and education, the Minister concluded.
Brunch with the students and Open Day
After the anniversary seminar, the students invited staff and guests to the traditional Friday Gathering with food, drinks and entertainment by the students.
On Saturday morning the Minister met with a group of students in Sjøskrenten student housing, where the students had prepared a delicious brunch.
An hour later, the Open Day kicked off, where UNIS and research partners in the Svalbard Science Centre invited the town to come have a look at what research we do here. The Minister also opened an exhibition made by the children in the kindergartens and the school, in collaboration with UNIS.
About 300 people came to have a look and not least get some birthday cake that was served in the cafeteria. In the evening the celebrations concluded with a grand anniversary dinner for staff and invited guests. Among the gifts UNIS received, were a NOK 250 000 scholarship programme for young researchers from the Svalbard Environmental Protection Fund and a day on the Governor’s ship “Polarsyssel”.
More pictures from the anniversary celebrations: