University of Helsinki: The Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies is a home base for international researcher encounters and a pioneer in the humanities

According to Tuomas Forsberg, Director of the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, the Collegium is a necessary place for networking for international scholars. The international elements of the Collegium are seen and heard, and there are scholars from all over the world at the institution.

“We are celebrating not only 20 years of operations, but also interdisciplinary interaction, multidisciplinary activity and curious minds that propel researchers from around the world towards new insights,” Forsberg notes.

A melting pot of academic disciplines

Researchers need an intellectually stimulating environment. In addition to the added value gained through parallel narrow scholarly perspectives on a common topic, interdisciplinarity also means a deeper theoretical integration within the humanities and the social sciences.

“This is important, as solving today’s problems often requires broader interdisciplinary understanding of the human condition and its historical development. Internationality should not be equated with the number of globally recognised international scholars. Rather, it must be perceived as the daily interaction of researchers from a range of geographical backgrounds.”

More than half of the Collegium’s researchers come from abroad. They have succeeded in obtaining external funding from the most competitive and esteemed sources during or soon after their term at the Collegium, and they have also found success later on in their research careers.

“There are currently almost 70 professors in Finland who have at some point in their careers been fellows at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies,” Forsberg says.

“That’s a significant number for a small country, especially considering the relatively small size of the Collegium. It means that the Collegium has had an impact on the development of academic research in the humanities and social sciences also outside the University of Helsinki, which was one of the institution’s original goals.”

The Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies has given the initial impetus for many internationally recognised research trends, including memory research, digital humanities, medical humanities, and science and technology studies.

Philosopher Martha Nussbaum as the anniversary speaker
The Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies has engaged Professor Martha Nussbaum, one of the world’s best-known philosophers, to give the keynote address at the anniversary celebration on 15 June. Professor Nussbaum works at the University of Chicago, and she is an honorary fellow of the Collegium. The title of her keynote address in Helsinki is ‘Music and the Costs of War: Britten’s WAR REQUIEM, Bodies, and Reconciliation’. For years, Nussbaum has collaborated with Finnish philosophers.

The anniversary celebration will be opened by Director Tuomas Forsberg of the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies; Vice-Rector Hanna Snellman of the University of Helsinki; Morten Kyndrup, Founding Director of AIAS, Former Chairman of UBIAS; and Sean Griffin and Kinga Polynczuk-Alenius, Fellows at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies.