Mayor Zaragoza inaugurates the academic year defending the "transition from force to words"

MemÚria del curs acadŤmic 2016-2017 de la Universitat AutÚnoma de Barcelona

The UAB began its 50th anniversary celebrations with the inaugural ceremony held on 21 September at the Monastery of Sant Cugat del Vallès. Federico Mayor Zaragoza defended the culture of peace in his opening lecture.


The UAB inaugurated the 2017/18 academic year and began the celebration of its 50th anniversary on 21 September at the Monastery of Sant Cugat del Vallès. Federico Mayor Zaragoza, former Director-General of the Unesco, was unable to attend the ceremony for health reasons, but he did send in a video of his speech, which defended the cultyre of peace and put special emphasis on the role of women and knowledge in the challenge he referred to as a "transition from force to words".

Mayor Zaragoza pointed out the fact that 21 September is International Peace Day and he voiced the need for the United Nations and multilateralism to stand even stronger agianst a world order dominated by "a group of six, seven, twenty rich countries". He also defended the urgency of fulfilling the sustainable development goals: "We must not leave for our future generations a deteriorated planet in what habitability is concerned".

The ceremony, broadcast live on the RTVE website, was presented by journalist Marta Cáceres and conducted by the Comediants theatre company, which interspersed the event with a representation of a series of fables from the Book of the Beasts by Ramon Llull. The UAB chamber orchestra and choir also performed pieces composed specially for the celebration of the UAB's 50th anniversary.

"A Basic Structure of Society"

The UAB's General Secretary  Cristina Riba presented the university's annual memory (2016-2017) and shared some of the more outstanding research and academic data, and institutional initiatives with the attendants. According to her, "the 2016-2017 academic year, the University has accomplished its mission to generate and transfer knowledge with excellence".

Rector Margarita Arboix began her speech demonstrating a "profound concern" for the current political situation in Catalonia and affirmed that "dialogue and negotiations are the only possible option" in finding a solution. She also referred to the terrorist attacks of 17 August to highlight the solidarity shown with all victims and her "most emphatic rejection" towards the attacks.

Rector Arboix praised the work done by all academic and administration members in making it possible for the UAB to succeed in so many areas in the past 50 years since it was created. "We are one of the basic structures of our society", she assured. She also had a word for the Government of Catalonia, whom she urged to include the recovery of university funding in its 2018 agenda, as well as to improve the precarious situation of many university staff members.

Fifty Years Interacting with its Surroundings

Mayor of Sant Cugat del Vallès Mercè Conesa affirmed that she considered her town a "univeristy town" thanks to the ties it shares with the UAB, which date back to the inaugural ceremony of the first academic year in the history of the UAB, in 1968. According to Conesa, we are now celebrating not only the celebration of fifty years, but also "fifty years of coexistence between the UAB and the surrounding cities". She continued to say "investing in the university means investing in the future".

Santi Vila, Minister for Business and Knowledge of the Government of Catalonia, declared that "the UAB is one of the few institutions that fully embody the freedom and progress achieved in the past few decades". He aslo stated that the UAB makes a decisive contribution to the fact that Catalonia has "the strongest university system in the south of Europe". Minister Vila also defended equality when accessing university studies.


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