It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you all to Sweden and to the 82nd NOM meeting.
I would also like to welcome you to the beautiful city of Gothenburg. It was here, in Gothenburg, that the first meetings among Swedish student unions took place in order to found the national student union which became SFS. After the first world war the European student cooperation had been founded. In order for the student unions to participate, a national student organization was needed.
It was not a coincidence that the history of SFS began in Gothenburg. Gothenburg has long been a city of international exchange. The port of Gothenburg dates back to the 17th century, and has been a window to the world. The sea is, somehow, a reminder that we are connected to the rest of the world.
It connected the student movement to the world a hundred years ago. And it still does today.
Not long from here, Ukrainian students are stopped at the border trying to flee the war. SFS condemns the acts of war by Russia and stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
Just a few weeks ago, Iranian students were attacked by the armed forces of the regime at their campus. A targeted attack against students is an attack against all people in pursuit of knowledge. SFS have condemned these attacks and expressed our solidarity with the students.
International solidarity has a special place in our movement. The academic sphere is to its core an international one. Knowledge-seeking knows no national borders. In NOM, the Nordic and Baltic student cooperation, we know this very well. The student movement is based on international solidarity.
A vital part of the international student movement is to be able to meet here today. It has been two years since we last were able to meet like this in person and I’m very glad to see that we stand strong and look forward to fruitful discussions during the upcoming days.
The pandemic years have been harsh on students – and the student movement. National borders were closed from one day to another, different national restrictions were implemented and campuses were shut down. It was necessary to minimize the consequences of the virus. But we are so happy to be able to meet you all again.
These last years have brought new light upon the questions of students’ mental health and work environment. We have seen an increased awareness of the importance of the physical learning environment. But we have also seen that the social security structures around students often are insufficient. Students tend to fall through the cracks.
We think of these days ahead of us as an opportunity for us to learn. Learn from the many interesting speakers, of course. But not the least to learn from one another; person to person, organization to organization.
In this room we are approximately 40 people. But as NOMlings, our organizations together represent about 1 million students. Each of you represents 25 000 students. This fact is the starting point for NOM. I hope we will carry this with us into these three days.