Celebrating 25 years

UNIS celebrated its 25th anniversary over two days with students, staff and distinguished guests. Minister of education and integration, Jan Tore Sanner, said UNIS the last 25 years has laid a solid foundation for further development of world-class research and education.

Visitors to UNIS Open Day were served birthday cake in the cafeteria. Photo: Eva Therese Jenssen

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:

Jan Tore Sanner, Minister of Education and Integration, enjoyed brunch together with UNIS students in Sjøskrenten. Photo: Eva Therese Jenssen/UNIS.
Local children explain the geological history of Svalbard to Minister of Education and Integration, Mr. Jan Tore Sanner. Photo: Inger Lise Næss/UNIS.
Jan Tore Sanner, Frank Nilsen
Minister of Education and Integration, Mr. Jan Tore Sanner (left), gets insight in the UNIS oceanographic research field by professor Frank Nilsen. Photo: Inger Lise Næss/UNIS.
The UNIS meteorologists’ weather ballon was quite popular among visitors at Open Day. Photo: Inger Lise Næss/UNIS.
Lots of fun stuff to observe for both children and adults in the UNIS teaching lab during Open Day. Photo: Inger Lise Næss/UNIS.
Early practice makes the master. Children got to do some science during the UNIS Open Day. Photo: Børge Damsgård/UNIS.
Wesley Farnsworth shows visitors aerial photos of Longyearbyen where geologic processes can be clearly seen. Photo: Inger Lise Næss/UNIS.
Harald Ellingsen Nalân Koç
Norwegian Polar Institute’s Research Director, Ms. Nalân Koç (right) opened the exhibition “Svalbard from above” during the UNIS Open Day. Here she is with UNIS director Harald Ellingsen. Photo: Inger Lise Næss/UNIS.
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