TLU blog

Wisdom, Trust and a New Rector

The worldview based on wisdom and knowledge is under pressure. In an increasingly open space of thought, the voice of self-wisdom is getting increasingly louder. It is being imposed by people who are anti-vaccine, climate sceptics and deep state advocates.

Mati Heidmets

Universities, however, have a special role to play in tackling the fog of the post-truth era. Our mission is to provide a reliable worldview based on knowledge and wisdom. We must keep society afloat, not let it slip into the swamp of the wise men of the village and black-and-white orators. 

In the near future, it’s a great challenge for universities to create, maintain and expand a rational and evidence-based worldview – the same applies to us here in Tallinn on Narva Road, Räägu Street and in Haapsalu as well. In response to this challenge, we are educating teachers who are balanced and broad-minded, promoting critical media consumption, valuing an evidence- and fact-based outlook and also electing a new rector this spring.

The rector is the face of the university, as the university is the face of the rector. In many parts of the world, someone who can make things work, a manager or a good organiser, is usually the face of a university. Someone who can run a bank for ten years, then do the same with a university and later move into the field of freight transport. All the while succeeding at what they do.

In our cultural space, however, it is customary to favour a rector with an academic background. During the pressing post-truth fog era, an academic background provides a clear advantage. It allows universities to be developed not solely on the basis of business and matrix structures, but also on an outlook based on evidence and universal values. 

This is the kind of management we are looking forward to seeing from our new rector of Tallinn University. For our part, we promise to support our new rector while also keeping a friendly, critical eye out for his ventures.