Published: 03-05-2022 10:35 | Updated: 03-05-2022 10:36

Congratulations! Hats off to KI’s new PhDs and honorary doctors

The conferment ceremony on 29 April 2022 begins with a procession in Stockholm City Hall’s Blue Hall. Photo: Erik Flyg

The conferment ceremony in Stockholm City Hall on 29 April celebrated Karolinska Institutet’s new doctors of medicine and honorary doctors HRH Prince Daniel, Dr Soumya Swaminathan and Professor Shinhiro Takeda. The ceremony was attended by HRH Crown Princess Victoria, the municipal council chairperson and the Indian and Japanese ambassadors, along with the proud supervisors and families of the new PhDs. The ceremony was infused with the importance of working together towards better health for al

Honorary doctors Professor Shinhiro Takeda, Dr Soumya Swaminathan and HRH Prince Daniel receive their titles first. Photo: Erik Flyg

After the procession in the Blue Hall to the strains of Karolinska Institutet’s ceremonial march, President Ole Petter Ottersen opened proceedings with his speech, in which he invited the audience to reflect upon the responsibility that comes with being good at something, and being good for something.

“Dear promovendi, dear future alumni, wherever you go, whatever career you carve out in the near or distant future, please do remember the responsibility that is embedded in this very small word: ‘all’. By taking on this responsibility you will show what we – as scientists and university – are good for.”

The ceremony continued with the conferment of titles on KI’s new honorary doctors of medicine: HRH Prince Daniel, for his strong and long-standing devotion to public health; Dr Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist at the World Health Organisation (WHO), for the critical part she played in deepening the relationship between the WHO and Karolinska Institutet; and Professor Shinhiro Takeda, for being the architect of a world-leading combination of academic and clinical activities for developing and implementing ECMO, an advanced, life-saving respiratory support technique for seriously ill patients.

A speech about scientific challenges

In his speech, conferrer Professor Martin Bergö, Academic Vice President for research, stressed the challenges facing science when money is redirected from academia to defence and the dangers of disinformation:

“Therefore, one of our most important tasks will be to tirelessly inform family and friends, teachers and politicians, hairdressers and bus drivers, kings and queens, and full-time Netflix-viewers about the beauty of science. And the reason is simple: Humanity’s future is in science’s hands.”

The ceremony continued with the conferment of the 124 new medical doctors, who were led by the Student Chief Ushers to recieve their hats and diplomas from conferrer Professor Robert Harris, Academic Vice President for Doctoral Education. All were applauded by families and other guests before the banquet began.

Having been waiting a particularly long time for official recognition due to the pandemic, the evening’s promovendi made extra merry at the banquet in the Golden Hall, entertained by music from Rickard Söderberg and the A Scalpella choir.

The Prince held the acceptance speech

Prince Daniel speaks for the honorary doctors during the banquet in the Golden Hall. Photo: Erik Flyg

During the banquet, Prince Daniel stood up to hold an acceptance speech on behalf of the honorary doctors, and gave a vivid description of how people’s life circumstances affect their health. He also took the opportunity to commend his fellow honorary doctors for their contributions to the development of international partnerships.

Collaboration and friendship ran like a thread through the evening’s speeches, which amply demonstrated how important it is for science to seek collaboration and for researchers to be able to forge partnerships to succeed in the vision of better health for all. In many ways, this was encapsulated in a single line from “People”, a number from the musical “Funny Girl”, sung by Rickard Söderberg: “People who need people – are the luckiest people in the world”.

124 new medical doctors officially graduate during the ceremony. Photo: Erik Flyg
President Ole Petter Ottersen and Crown Princess Victoria depart together. Photo: Erik Flyg
The conferment ceremony is held in Stockholm City Hall’s Blue Hall. Photo: Erik Flyg