NEEDS project stops in Tromsø: meeting students to discuss the importance of transnational societal security work

The NEEDS project consortium travelled to UiT The Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø, Norway on 8 March to meet students and other practitioners in a Multiplier Event. The aim was to introduce the project and its future work as well as to discuss the importance and practical examples of transnational societal security work.

The Multiplier Event was hosted by project partner UiT The Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø and was the second such event organised by the NEEDS project. The event was held in collaboration with the lead partner Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) to exchange perspectives on transnational societal security work with students. It was attended by colleagues and students from UiT, as well as external experts and practitioners on civil security from across the Baltic Sea Region.

The NEEDS project aims to address the skills gap and mismatch between societal security education and the knowledge needs in the field. It is a flagship project under EUSBSR PA Secure which aims to involve and engage students from the beginning in building transnational societal security, as they will be future experts in the field. The NEEDS Project brings together Higher Education Institutions and practitioners to work on furthering better, internationalised, needs-based education and studies in societal security.

Multiplier Events are an opportunity for the project to present its progress and achievements, as well as a chance for stakeholders to not only learn about the project and its outputs but also to take an active role in shaping the project or results that are developed.

The NEEDS project organised two of the Multiplier Events. The first was held in Hamburg in December 2022, directed at practitioners of societal security and the second in Tromsø on 8-9 March 2023, directed at students.

The Multiplier Event in Tromsø aimed to be a dialogue with students and make them aware of the work that has been done and what they can do in the future. During the event, the project partners introduced the project with a specific focus on student involvement. The event enhanced the question of how students can be involved and why they should be able to contribute to societal security, as well as giving them the opportunity to talk about the future and careers in the field.

Additionally, Ørjan N. Karlsson, Special Director at DSB and the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection, emphasised the general need for crisis action in a timely manner when he held his input speech on societal security to the students. “We are waiting too long to do the right things (…),” he said.