From the Director
A Threat Out of the Blue
(Published on www.srii.org, 27th of October 2014)
Sweden has several research and dialogue institutes in the Mediterranean region. The ones in Rome, Athens and Istanbul, respectively, receive an annual grant from the Swedish Ministry of Education for administration and rents. On 22 October, without any prior consultation or pre-warning, we were informed that the new state budget to be presented the next day by the Government would contain a proposal to the effect that all subsidies to these institutes were to be cut by 2017.
In reality this means that the targeted institutes would have to be closed down and that their presence in the region since the 1920s onwards would come to a sudden end. Massive protests have been launched against this proposal from both academics and journalists, first and foremost in Sweden but also elsewhere. Together with my fellow Directors in Rome and Athens I am grateful for such strong support and mobilization, which we do need for our struggle in order to protect our Institutes from threatening assaults of this character.
The fight will go on. In the meantime, for those of you who are able to decode a text in Swedish, please read a short article about the significance of the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, written by myself and the Deputy Director Önver Cetrez and published on www.svd.se.