We are now very close to being able to file 2021 in the archives. A year that has been both a continuation and a reprisal of the turbulent 2020. Before we enter these days of much needed rest, I want to thank you for all your good work and share some of my reflections from this year.
The other day, I met a team from the Communications Office at Café Lindell to wrap up this calendar year. I was asked who I would like to have a cup of coffee with to talk about important, fun or interesting things regarding the university. Feel free to watch the video clip above to find out how I answered.
In recent weeks, we have all been reminded that the pandemic is far from over. The importance of keeping a distance and minimizing the risk of infection as a guiding principle in our daily actions cannot be overemphasized.
As another variant of the virus has now emerged, there is a growing awareness in society about how short the step is from the "new normal" to once again having to deal with decisions about far-reaching restrictions, in order to ensure human health and safety.
At the same time, this year has shown very clearly the fantastic adaptability and willingness to cooperate throughout Umeå University. I feel very proud of how you and everyone who works and studies here has handled the year with perseverance and patience. From a winter of digital collaboration and online teaching, through a spring and summer of hope, vaccines and an optimistic view of the future, to an autumn term when we have almost been able to work and meet on campus the way we are used to.
Furthermore, we all know that things have not only been characterized by pride, harmony and admirable cooperation. Local media have investigated Umeå University's responses when employees have been reported for sexual harassment or misbehaved in other ways. These articles have highlighted important issues at the university and we need to improve the work of dealing with and counteracting cases of harassment, sexual harassment and bullying within the entire organisation. This is a priority issue that the university management and I take very seriously. Two decided measures have already been implemented and the work will continue resolutely in 2022.
For most of us, we now have a well-deserved holiday over the Christmas and New Year period. The work we do is important, but so are the periods of recovery, reflection and recharging of the batteries.
I want to conclude by wishing all employees and students a joyful Holiday Season and a very Happy New Year. Looking forwarding to seeing you again in 2022!