CLOSURE OF THE SWEDISH INSTITUTES IN ROME, ATHENS AND ISTANBUL

CLOSURE OF THE SWEDISH INSTITUTES IN ROME, ATHENS AND ISTANBUL
The International Association of Classical Archaeology deplores the proposal of the new Swedish government to cut the financing of the Swedish Institutes in Rome, Athens and Istanbul. This will inevitably lead to their closure.
The Swedish government may not be aware that these Institutes are highly appreciated and respected members of the international academic community in many fields of study. They are excellent platforms for internationalization and multidisciplinarity at a high level. The closure of these institutes can only be interpreted as a worrying signal from the Swedish government.
To have an Institute in Rome, Athens or Istanbul is like having an embassy to the very particular and extremely important international academic communities in those cities. European and non-European countries are proud of having Institutes there. To close one of these Institutes may not be exactly like cutting of diplomatic relations, but it signals that the Swedish government gives little importance to international collaboration and contacts in humanistic studies.
This signal would be the opposite of what happened in Rome in 1945, when the library of the Swedish Institute became the place where both the International Association of Classical Archeology and the Unione degli Istituti di Archeologia e Storia dell’Arte in Roma were founded, with the Director of the Swedish Institute in important positions in both institutions.
The Swedish government does not seem to be aware of Sweden’s important iposition in the international community of humanistic studies and, in particular, in the study of the different phases of the Mediterranean civilizations. Today, a deeper understanding of the prehistoric, Greek, Roman, Christian and Islamic civilisations of the Mediterranean is more important than ever for the future of mankind.
The academic prestige of these Swedish Institute is a precious heritage, created by modest but important investments of earlier Swedish generations and governments over almost a century. It is an importance resource for Sweden and for the international academic community, but it can easily be cancelled for ever.
We sincerely hope that the Swedish government’s proposal will be corrected.
Faithfully

Elizabeth Fentress, President, AIAC