President’s address to the Steering Committee
BSRUN started its existence with high hopes in Turku Castle when the University of Turku celebrated its 80th anniversary in February 2000. Back then the University wanted to take a leading role in university cooperation in the Baltic Sea region and took the coordinating role in the Network and not just a membership in a structure coordinated by someone else. The same was repeated later on in eight very successful EU Erasmus staff and student mobility projects where BSRUN members were given important roles.
As you all know, BSRUN was established as a Network of cooperation and we managed to create a well-functioning platform of cooperation which we also steered through some rough waters including the pandemic. Then, the war in Ukraine changed our operating environment completely and made us introduce a working pattern with the Steering Committee and even the Plenary Meeting split in two autonomous parts which was something we could not have possibly foreseen when our rules and regulations were drafted.
I have been following with interest the reactions of our members to the situation with suspended joint activities but no suspended memberships. This gave those willing to leave in an organised and civilised way a good opportunity to do so. I am happy to tell you that even this has gone well so far (only two founding members decided to leave already in March with not a single word of thanks. In their opinion we apparenly failed miserably. I am quite confident, though, that BSRUN did not start the war).
We have now a structure in place for the future with the Berlin School of Economics and Law taking over the Coordination for the EU part and UNECON continuing business as usual for Belarus and Russia with five members who have already agreed what to do in 2023.
We will be convening willing EU members by the end of 2023 to review the situation on the invitation of the Berlin School of Economics and Law. I am very grateful for Andreas Zaby to show us the way towards a brighter future with our own tested model of coaltion of the willing, able and motivated.
Finally, let me take this opportunity also to thank you all for your support to BSRUN on SC in these challenging circumstances. I do hope that there will be better times ahead and that, hopefully, the resilient ones will be rewarded accordingly. Some left the ship, but the true believers continue sailing, Therefore, Santa Claus will be bringing presents also in the future to another structure, Bengtskär lighthouse, our symbol which also survived a war (or two)…
Looking back, I do not have any regrets, only good memories including with many of you. Thank you for those, too! It would be good to meet again, sometime, somewhere…