Lecture at the European University Institute in Florence January 2003
I am very grateful for this opportunity to share with you some thoughts concerning the nature of universities and their role in shaping our future.
Since I became rector some years ago I have used much of my spare time to read and study about universities, and have even prepared a little course for philosophy students on the subject. In the University of Iceland, as in most European universities, the rector is elected from among the professors to head the university. Many academics expect the rector to administer, not as a professional manager, but on the basis of his or her former experience as a member of the academic community. Thus, from the very beginning, I had to make clear to myself and others how I wanted to view the university and how I planned to fulfill the function of the chief administrator of our academy.