Dear friends of UNIS, friends of the Arctic and colleagues
I am here not only as a friend of UNIS and Svalbard, but tonight I am also representing The Norwegian Scientific Academy for Polar Research where I am now the President.
It is a close relationship between the Polar Academy and UNIS as UNIS is the home of the Academy here at Svalbard. UNIS is also represented in the board of the Academy by its director and UNIS also administrates our Office manager position, whom is also UNIS staff
25 years are not many years in a historical perspective, but it has been 25 years, where UNIS in many ways has significantly contributed to the positive changes which have taken place in Longyearbyen. It is not normal that somebody that young have a so great impact on society.
I have been following UNIS, from day one as I was present together with some of you who also are present here tonight, when the idea of something who could replace the Coal Industry was discussed. That something became UNIS and UNIS has grown to be a very important institution here in Longyearbyen. A great success thanks to forward-looking politicians, an excellent and professional staff and not at least good leadership.
Science is an international language and probably the largest social network in the world with a mission to provide knowledge benefiting the greater public and not merely special interest. The Polar Regions are laboratories where new knowledge can be developed, where novel modes of teamwork can be initiated, and where innovative modes of organizations can be tested.
And in the middle of this is UNIS providing “Research-based education for the next generation of Arctic experts.”
It could not have been better. Thanks again and good luck with the years to come and we look forward to continuing our close cooperation
Anton G. Kjelaas
President – Norges Vitenskapsakademi for Polarforskning