UiS and the war in Gaza

The war in Gaza affects students and staff at the University of Stavanger and creates strong engagement. On this page, you will find information about how UiS is addressing the war.

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Et barn i ruiner løfter et teppe
A child in Gaza. (Photo: Pixabay, Hosny Salah)

At the board meeting 6 June 2024 the UiS board agreed on ending institutional cooperation with Israel.

We are all deeply affected by the brutal war in Gaza, and we empathize with the victims. The destruction and human costs are tremendous. Rector Klaus Mohn and the University of Stavanger stands in solidarity with the victims. Our thoughts are with those who have lost their lives, their loved ones, and those who are currently living in suffering and fear.

UiS has staff and students from both Israel and Palestine. There are fewer than five staff members. In autumn 2023, we had 8 students with Palestinian citizenship. These students are enrolled in Norwegian-language study programs.

There may be students and staff at UiS from Israel and Palestine who are registered with other citizenships.

Students and staff are being supported

Our staff were immediately contacted after the terrorist attack on Israel on October 7, 2023, and the subsequent war in Gaza. Staff are being supported by their leaders.

In January 2024, we welcomed six incoming exchange students from Nablus, Palestine. These students are being supported by their faculty and the Nablus association in Stavanger.

We have none incoming students from Israel, and we have none outgoing students to the affected areas.

Prior to the board meeting on March 14, an open letter was sent from staff regarding an academic boycott of Israel to the rector and university board. Below, you can read about UiS's activities related to Palestine and Israel, which was also on the agenda at the University Board's meeting on March 14, 2024 (orienteringssak i Universitetsstyret 14. mars 2024 – Norwegian only).

UiS's purchasing policy linked to Israel

Some employees wonder whether Israel's warfare on the Gaza Strip has consequences for our purchasing policy.

Universitetsbiblioteket i Stavanger
UiS follows recommendations and guidelines from national authorities.

As a public enterprise, UiS must comply with national authorities, and follows their recommendations and guidelines. So far, no state boycott of Israel has been introduced.

UiS adheres to DFØ's guidelines for purchasing, and recommendations from Ethical Trade Norway. We follow up our suppliers in line with recommendations from DFØ and their guidance for public procurement (Rettleiing for offentlige anskaffing).  

Some employees have specifically asked if it is possible to buy a new PC as a replacement for the current HP machine. The reason is that HP is criticized for supplying technology used by Israel in the warfare in Gaza. As of today, UiS does not have any alternative within the university's purchasing agreements that would satisfy this wish.  

At their meeting 6 June 2024 the board agreed to take initiative to terminate procurement agreements involving Israel through SIKT (Norwegian Agency for Shared Services in Education and Research).

Collaboration with Israel and Palestine

UiS has for many years had collaboration agreements with Israel and Palestine.

An-Najah National University in Nablus

Collaboration with Palestine

UiS has for many years exchanged students and staff with An-Najah National University i Nablus i Palestina. Nablus has been a twin city with Stavanger since 1996. There are no outgoing students as of now due to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' travel information. One student was offered an exchange in autumn 2023, but this was canceled because the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised against all travel at the relevant time.

We have put a lot of effort into continuing to get incoming students to come to UiS, and six incoming students arrived in January 2024. These are exchange students at the Faculty of Arts and Education and will be here for one semester.

Previous incoming students: spring 2023: four students, spring 2022: two students, spring 2021: three students spring 2020: three students and spring 2019: one student. No outgoing students in the period 2020–2023.

We also have a cooperation agreement with Palestine Ahliya University through the NORPART project AIESI (Applied Informatics for Energy System Integration). The project started in 2021 and has an end date of December 2026.

Collaboration with the University of Haifa in Israel

At their meeting 6 June 2024 the UiS board agreed on terminating all institutional collaboration agreements with Israeli institutions. UiS will neither enter into any new agreements as long as hostilities are ongoing.

As of 6 June 2024 UiS has a cooperation agreement with the University of Haifa (Norwegian only). This bilateral agreement applies to outgoing students and applies to bachelor's degrees in nursing (internship). No outgoing students as of now due to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' travel information. One student was offered an internship in spring 2024, but this was canceled due to the current situation. Due to the war and travel ban, this agreement has been removed as a recommended possible destination for our students as of now.

Earlier figures show a total of 28 outgoing students in the period 2013–2019, and one student in the spring of 2023.

Research collaboration

On the research side, one project with ICL Israel is registered in our financial system. The Polysulfate feasibility study project is linked to IER. The project started in 2021 and has a completion date of 6 June 2024.

What can you do as an employee?

UiS supports freedom of expression and diversity of opinion and wants staff and students to get involved.

Stående debattleder og sittende deltakere foran publikum
«Woman, life, freedom» at The University Library in November 2022.

The university must be a common arena for free expression, diversity of opinion and social debate. It is desirable that as many students and staff as possible should show solidarity, care and respect and express their political values ​​and views. As an open university, we must be an open debate arena for all social issues.

Here are some ways employees can get involved:

Write a chronicle

If you want to write a column, but don't quite know how to proceed, you can get support from communications advisers at UiS. Get in touch with the communications adviser at your faculty or with the team for research communications: Karen Anne Okstad or Elin Nyberg.

Expert list on war and conflict

UiS has an expert list on war and conflict (Norwegian only) for media. Contact a communications advisor if you want to be on the list. See all our expert lists: Finn ein forskar på ekspertlistene våre (Norwegian only).

Panel discussion at The University Library

If you wish to facilitate a debate or arrange something that may be of interest to a wider audience, you can get help and support from The Departement of Communication and Public Affairs (Camilla Larsen or Børre Jakobsen) or The University Library (David Sviland).

Here are examples of events that have been realized on the initiative of employees:
How can we meet the rapid growth in internationalisation at Norwegian universities?
Deeply moved by the stories of Iranian employees and students

Guidelines for declarations of support and flagging

UiS has routines for flagging, declarations of support and other markings for major events and conflicts in the world.

All countries of the world.

There are many issues that one can have an opinion about, support or condemn. We have come to the conclusion that it is not our role as an institution to come up with statements of support and condemnations. The main rule at UiS is that we as a university should not stand up in the name of the institution to distance ourselves from various wars and oppressive regimes. Our role is to facilitate freedom of expression and diversity of opinion. Among other things, we wish to facilitate an open debate arena for all social issues. In this way, we can engage, for example, with colleagues and students in countries where education and research have more difficult conditions than in Norway.

If the university is directly involved in the incident, the assessment will be different.

Routine for flagging at UiS

UiS has five flagpoles in a row outside Arne Rettedal building. The middle one acts as the main flagpole.

The sami flag

These rules apply:

  • The Norwegian flag (the national flag - with splits and tongue) is raised on the main flagpole on all official flag days. An exception, see the next point
  • Sami people's national day, 6 February: The Norwegian state flag is raised on pole number two, at the same time as the Sami flag is raised on pole number four.
  • Other regular flag days: Semester opening, annual party. Then normal flags (trade flags/party flags) are used on the main flagpole and UiS flags on the others.
  • Open day: UiS flags on all poles.
  • The National Science Week – own flag/banner, on order from the Department for Communication and Public Affairs (AKS).
  • Skeivå Rogaland Pride: UiS flag on pole number two and rainbow flag on pole number four, during the period the festival is in progress.
  • Trade flag/festival flag (national flag) at half-mast at funerals of employees, students and other persons with a strong connection to UiS
  • Other countries' flags can be flown next to the Norwegian flag out of respect for international courtesy (formal visits of the type of ambassadors, heads of state, etc.). The flag is raised on certain days. Cleared with Department for Communication and Public Affairs (AKS).
  • Exceptions to the flag routine must be approved by AKS. Rector wants a restrictive practice.

Do you need someone to talk to?

Some may be emotionally affected and need to talk to someone.

To kvinner sitter med hendene foldet.

Employees affected by the war can contact their immediate supervisor. They can also contact Bedriftshelsetenesta (see HMS-håndbok) at Intranett.

Students affected by the war can make use of the following offers:

Book an appointment

If you need to talk, you can book an appointment with Studentsamskipnaden. If it is urgent to get help, there are several help offers for students that can be useful.

The student phone

Studenttelefonen is a free and anonymous low-threshold helpline for all students and pupils who need someone to talk to. We have a good knowledge of student life, and we have a duty of confidentiality. The telephone is open at night from 17:00–07:00 every day. It is open on weekdays, weekends and public holidays. Call 116 123 and press "3".

Student chaplain

UiS also has its own student chaplain. The student chaplain can be of support to you as a student when you feel that something is demanding

The government's handling of the conflict

Overview of the government's handling of the conflict in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Grå røyk stiger opp over utbombet by

On the government's website you will find an overview of matters relating to the Israel/Gaza crisis (Norwegian only)