Summer greetings from Karin Dahlman-Wright
Dear colleagues and students – all of us who make up Karolinska Institutet, our joint medical university!
Research is about confronting obstacles, continuing regardless of doubt, reconsidering one’s hypotheses and patiently retesting them. I delivered these words in May at this spring’s doctoral conferment ceremony in the Stockholm City Hall, one of those celebrations that are filled with optimism, pride and expectation. I was then speaking of the role of researchers but it also serves to describe my time as acting vice-chancellor. During this period, I have faced many complex issues that needed to be considered from a variety of perspectives. At times, I have been left in doubt about whether we have done the right thing. Sometimes I have taken a few steps back in search of solid ground. Reality is seldom simple – rarely black or white – even though we often wish it was. However, despite many difficult decisions, occasional doubts and sometimes winding paths, the will to patiently continue to strive towards a stronger KI has been firm – both on my own part and on the part of the people around me at KI.
When reality is complex, it is easy to make mistakes. As I said in my speech at the graduation ceremonies this spring: Never forget that we all make mistakes. It is how one deals with one’s mistakes that defines who one is. By learning from experience, one grows as a person. If, in making a mistake, one arrives at new insights, forgiving can never be wrong. It is my conviction that a university that recognises its history, combines it with pride in all that is good and patiently strives forward, will be a successful university.
And Karolinska Institutet has a solid foundation on which to stand. Here we educate new students, term after term, who will eventually enter a professional life in sectors of society were there is a large demand for staff with a high quality education. We offer graduate programmes in which students can develop a scientific approach. Our research, irrespective of whether it deals with small steps or giant leaps along the way, can lead to valuable knowledge and improvements that benefit health and care as well as society at large.
Now we must embrace the future! Together we work to ensure that we offer conditions for students, teachers and researchers, as well as technical and administrative staff, to carry out high quality activities in new, modern facilities. Here, we also have the opportunity to create excellent collaborations between KI and the different parts of the County Council. This is because a medical faculty and the healthcare sector are mutually dependent. It is in the healthcare sector that our students receive the training they need but it is also there that medical challenges arise, and where the answers that research provides can be of significance.
Soon, Ole Petter Ottersen will take over the role of vice-chancellor of KI and I shall finally, after what seems an eternity, be able to resume the role of pro-vice-chancellor; the position for which I choose to be a candidate and which I take on with confidence. Because, even if there are also challenges in that role, together with you I shall continue to work for the future, be prepared to reconsider opinions and patiently test new ideas.
But now let all of us feel the breeze of future optimism and pride that characterises doctoral conferment ceremonies as well as graduation ceremonies, and let us all enjoy the summer so that we can return in the autumn prepared to work to achieve an even better university.
Thank you for my time as acting vice-chancellor and have a wonderful summer!
Karin Dahlman-Wright, Acting Vice-Chancellor