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Stockholm University President new Vice-President of the Magna Charta Observatory

President Astrid Söderbergh Widding is the new Vice-President of the Magna Charta Observatory, an organization that protects institutional autonomy and academic freedom.

Astrid Söderbergh Widding
Astrid Söderbergh Widding Photo: Eva Dalin

Last year President Astrid Söderbergh Widding was elected member of the Magna Charta Observatory’s Governing Council. The Magna Charta Observatory is an association with a mission to safeguard the academic core values of institutional autonomy and academic freedom. Astrid Söderbergh Widding starts her mandate as Vice-President in June, succeeding Agneta Bladh, who is a former State Secretary and President of the University of Kalmar, as well as an alumna and former employee of Stockholm University. Astrid Söderbergh Widding will be a member of the Executive Committee of the General Council, and will take an active part in the work to safeguard and develop the academic core values, in close collaboration with other organizations such as EUA (the European University Association) and Scholars at Risk.

“Magna Charta Observatory is a keeper of academic core values. In a time when autonomy and academic freedom are under threat from many directions the Observatory is more important than ever”, Astrid Söderbergh Widding says.


Global observatory fights for academic core values

Stockholm University has been a member of the observatory since the Magna Charta Universitatum was established in 1988. Today there are over 900 higher education institutions and organizations from 88 countries behind the declaration, which has gone from being a European issue to becoming a global one.

Another important change is an amendment to the declaration of 1988, which in addition to emphasizing the crucial importance of the academic core values, also takes into account the special challenges of today. The amendment emphasizes that the core values are something that never should be taken for granted, constant efforts are required to achieve – and to maintain – them. Universities have to meet increasing expectations placed on them locally as well as globally. Magna Charta Universitatum 2020 will be launched digitally on 16–17 June, through both signatures at universities around the world and a webinar on core values.

“At Stockholm University, the Magna Charta Universitatum pilot project Living Values was carried out in 2018. It was an important experience that I will take with me into my new assignment”, Astrid Söderbergh Widding says.

Read more about Living Values at Stockholm University