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AU will contribute to more informed debate on research and education

At Denmark’s Political Festival on Bornholm this year, AU aims to contribute to a more informed debate on the universities and push research higher up on the political agenda.

Phot: Peter Bondo Christensen, AU

AU’s programme at Denmark’s Political Festival includes debates on progression in the educational system from basic education to higher education, smarter research investments and presentations of research on some of society’s current challenges.

The programme has been designed to help make research and education far more visible on the political agendas that are the main focus of the festival.

“If we are to make the universities’ positive influence on society figure more prominently in the public and political debate, sitting on our hands is not going to help. We have to be where the debate is taking place, make it more informed, and take advantage of the fact that the university’s stakeholders – citizens, politicians, industry and the foundations – are all gathered in one place. This makes Denmark’s Political Festival an important platform for the university,” explains Rector Brian Bech Nielsen.

Highly topical research themes on the programme

This year, each of the university’s four faculties are represented, and each will present an academic theme that invites dialogue and engages stakeholders on a broad level. The themes include lobbyism, citizenship, the role of the humanities, foreign language degree programmes, the advanced technologies of the future and prioritisation i the healthcare system.

One of the presenters of the latter theme is Rikke Søgaard, professor at the Department of Public Health and the Department of Clinical Medicine. She views the diversity of participants as one of the major strengths of Denmark’s Political Festival:

“Denmark’s Political Festival is a truly fantastic forum, because it allows citizens, politicians, researchers and specialists to meet and debate a complex, but also unavoidable issue. In the healthcare system, prioritisation is a necessary evil which in principal affects all of us. I look forward to having my theories challenged and to gaining greater insight into other perspectives.”

Other partners participating in the programme are Universities Denmark, Aarhus University Hospital and the Danish University Extension in Aarhus.

The research vessel Aurora – a tangible symbol

For the third time, AU’s activities at Denmark’s Political Festival will take place on board RV Aurora, which will be coming to port during a research trip in the Baltic.

“Aurora has become a popular attraction at Denmark’s Political Festival and a well-known symbol of AU’s presence among the many tents at the political festival. In itself, the ship tells a story about the wide reach of our research, and I’m pleased that we’ve managed to schedule a stop at Denmark’s Political Festival among the ship’s many research trips,” says Rector Nielsen.

Denmark’s Political Festival will take place from 16 to 19 July in Allinge on the island of Bornholm. On Thursday 16 June, AU will host an informal get-together for Aarhus University employees who are participating in Denmark’s Political Festival, either in a professional capacity or as private individuals.

  • On www.au.dk/folkemoedet, you can read more about the programme, watch videos and interviews, and follow AU live at Denmark’s Political Festival during all four days (In Danish).

  • If you have any questions about AU’s participation, you are welcome to write to rsl@au.dk.

About Denmark’s Political Festival

  • Denmark’s Political Festival on Bornholm was held for the first time in 2011 and is modelled on the Swedish ‘Almedan Week’, a major political festival held each year on the Swedish island of Gotland.

  • Denmark’s Political Festival has become a permanent and popular event on the Danish political calendar, and in 2015, it attracted an average of 25,000 daily visitors.

  • According to a ranking of the top ten topics on the festival programme by media bureau Operate, for the past two years, the top four have have been democracy, representative government, integration and employment.

  • Topics related to education and research are fifth on the list.