CEMUS +25: The CEMUS Diaries – Stories from past, present and future

A year of celebrating 25 years of student-led education, 20 years as joint Uppsala University and SLU centre, 15 years of transdisciplinary research and research education

Join us in celebrating CEMUS and all the people that made it happen, and discussing the past, present and future environment, development and sustainability issues.

As part of the jubilee we are doing a story/essay series that will be published every week throughout the year. The title for this is “The CEMUS Diaries – Stories from past, present and future” and it will be a series of short stories written by present and former staff, students, work group members, associates etc.

The format and style is at the moment very loose and open. It can be short articles, novels, poems, memories, funny anecdotes. It can be a look-back at past times, a reflection of the contemporary or a prediction of the future. It can be text, videos, art etc. Together it will cover a wide range of narratives, perspectives and personalities that somehow are all connected to CEMUS. These stories will then be posted on our webpage, Facebook and CEMUSE magazine and in the end of the year put together in some kind of publication as well.

You can read the first entry below from December 31, 2016, and then we’ll post one new entry per week (minimum). Enjoy!

Week 1 – 2017 we celebrate CEMUS by Daniel Mossberg

2017 we celebrate CEMUS

by Daniel Mossberg

Director of studies and Acting programme director at CEMUS

2017 we celebrate CEMUS and all the people that made it happen – students, professors, course coordinators, researchers, university administrators, practitioners, writers, artists. People, human beings, working tirelessly together to make the world into a better place. We remember those magic moments when our efforts exceeded our expectations and try to learn from our many failures. 25 years is a long time in a human being’s life, and still somehow time flies.

I came to Uppsala University back in 1998, studying whatever courses interested me at the time – art history, philosophy, anthropology. Having a previous interest in environmental issues and social justice, I took my first course at CEMUS in 2002, Environment and Development Studies – Theory and Analysis (Miljö- och utvecklingsstudier – teori och analys), followed by the Method and Project-course (Toan och Moppen om ni minns). Together the courses made up a full time semester at CEMUS. The passionate and knowledgeable course coordinators (thank you Niclas Hällström, David Kronlid, Robert Österbergh) always questioned our preconceived understanding of the world, and in combination with wise and experienced guest lecturers the course was the best I had taken at the university. That spring semester changed my life and made me see how education could change the world – one heart, mind and student at a time. Later as a student representative and course coordinator I saw the potential of what CEMUS as whole could be and do in the world, that’s why I’m still here.

They say 2016 was a horrible year, annus horribilis, and in some sense maybe 2016 was worse, but each year holds its own horrors, terrors, death, but also love, compassion, courage. CEMUS can’t save the world on its own, but we can be a refugee of sorts where ideas, people meet and learn, unlearn together in education as well as in research. The same can be said of the role of Uppsala’s universities and colleges. Year by year, together, humanity can make the world a better place for all – planet and people. We have the genius to save this place.

Listen to “This Place” by Joni Mitchell.

Some numbers and timelines in relationship to CEMUS +25:

  • 25 years of student-driven, student-led, student-initiated, student-teacher-collaborative education on undergraduate and master level with guest lecturers and course work groups.
  • 20 years of joint Uppsala University and SLU centre, bringing together the best people and ideas from Uppsala’s two universities.
  • 15 years of transdisciplinary research and research education, with courses, workshops, conferences, research projects framed and started by PhD- students, researchers, professors in collaboration, challenging traditional disciplinary boundaries and raising new research questions.
  • Low estimate – over 10 000 students from all over the world have taken a course at CEMUS since 1992.
  • Each student has studied at least 7.5 credits/högskolepoäng which amounts to 200 hours spent on one course over one semester.
  • 10 000 student’s times 200 hours amounts to 2 million hours which equals 83 333,3 days around the clock, the same as 228,3 years spent on learning and unlearning about environment and development issues, for sustainability.
  • Another low estimate – over 2500 guest lecturers have contributed with their knowledge, wisdom and passion since 1992.
  • Over 500 external course work members have volunteered their time, energy and expertise during the work with the student-led courses since 1992.
  • CEMUS board (nämnd) have involved university teachers, researchers, administrators, students from Uppsala University and SLU from many different disciplines, and external actors with experience of work within the sustainability field.