One KTH. The words – which sound almost like a PR agency came up with them – have gained powerful and explicit meaning this spring.
The concept of one KTH has been clearly apparent in our diverse and yet united ways of handling a both crisis and tremendous change – which have been unlike anything that either we at KTH or the rest of the world have ever known.
This spring – which has involved several months of questioning and the frantic and sometimes vain search for answers and words such as quarantine, ICU and underlying illnesses – we have managed to adjust extremely well.
The tremendous level of engagement at KTH makes me feel proud, happy and grateful. Despite the fact that our campuses have been deserted, and that nothing has turned out as planned, we have all helped out to keep our activities going.
There has been engagement at every level and within all work groups. All those, for example, who have worked and gathered together materials in order to support the healthcare service. Or those who have worked day and night to adapt the education we offer; within e-learning, new educational methods have been discovered successfully with the help of technology – all within an extremely short space of time… Or the lecturers who have worked hard to make teaching possible on a remote basis… Or the various crisis groups that have sought answers and communicated them swiftly… And all the employees who have continued to visit KTH’s campuses because it is not possible to carry out their tasks on a remote basis.
Or the researchers who have tried to find helpful solutions in the struggle against the virus, and who so clearly demonstrate the societal benefits that KTH offers – even during the current pandemic.
Or all those who have carried out all of their work at home using a computer and Zoom, despite the longing for colleagues and small talk.
It’s impossible not to feel a sense of pride. I don’t think any of this would have been possible if we hadn’t been united in our efforts. So thank you for your strong commitment and perseverance.
After the summer, we will – to a certain extent – return to the way things were before the pandemic. Actually, that’s not really true. Rather than going back, we will be moving forward. Since we will apply what we have learnt during this time. Our campuses will open, the students will return, and we will take both a physical and digital approach according to the methods that are best suited to our activities.
While we have received daily updates on Covid-19 cases and deaths during the spring, naturally life goes on as normal. We mustn’t forget that! For me personally, the past few months of spring have meant the arrival of a new grandchild – my fifth. And so life continues to flourish in various ways – especially now amid the hackberry trees, lilac and graduations.
Getting really close to the life you want to live and recognising its power, while many have been forced to meet sickness and death, constitutes the strange paradox of life. It reminds us that we are human, and that we should take care of each other and of the environment.
Before we need to think seriously about what the autumn will entail for KTH and us personally, it’s time for a much-needed holiday. I hope you all have a lovely, relaxing break – even if it doesn’t necessarily turn out quite as planned. And after that, you will be warmly welcomed back. To our KTH.