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FAQs regarding the war between Israel and Hamas

How Lund University is responding

Pro-Palestinian demonstrations on campus are taking place nationally and internationally at the moment. Below is a compilation of commonly asked questions received by Lund University concerning the war between Israel and Hamas, and the demonstrations.

"Lund University is monitoring developments in Israel, Gaza and the region with considerable dismay and concern. Lund University condemns all acts of terrorism and attacks on civilians wherever in the world they are perpetrated, and in all situations stands up for human rights.

Regardless of conflict in the world, Lund University is to be a safe haven. Lund University stands up for the equal value of everyone and has a place for students and staff members, regardless of ethnicity or religion or other belief. We have a zero-tolerance policy towards threats or harassment on campus.

The statement above from the University was issued on 15 November 2023. 

The statement still applies and concerns the situation in Gaza.

Vice-Chancellor's blog from 15 November 2023 – (in Swedish)

It is not the University's task to pursue foreign policy issues, which means that staff members, students or interest groups cannot demand that the University as an employer, education provider or public authority manifest political opinions or expect the University to take a stance on political issues.

The University is to stand free of pressurisation.

Lund University has no ongoing overall cooperation agreements in Israel or in the region.

Lund University stands up for academic freedom. Lund University's researchers have the freedom to decide themselves how they collaborate and who they collaborate with according to the laws and regulations laid down by the Swedish parliament and the Government. 

This could mean that the University, through exchanges and collaborations, also works in regions where there is war or conflict. A fundamental position is that student exchanges and research collaborations have the potential to change and improve peoples’ conditions around the world.

Lund University makes no distinctions between human suffering. The University’s solidarity with Ukrainian academia and the condemnation expressed by the University regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine concerns Russia, an authoritarian country that does not permit dissent or political opposition, having invaded a democratic country. 

The action is a threat to Europe’s and Sweden’s security and democracy – and thereby to free academia. 

At the request of the Swedish government – and after vice-chancellors in Russia expressed support for their country’s political and military leadership – Lund University froze collaborations with Russian higher education institutions. 

It is reasonable under such circumstances to exclude Russia and Belarus from academic collaborations even though Lund University normally always advocates academic collaborations before boycotts. Both Russian and Belarusian researchers and students are still welcome at the University.

Lund University's Vice-Chancellor Erik Renström pointed out in the media in 2022 that the Government's request to stop academic collaborations with Russia and Belarus was a considerable infringement of academic freedom. 

The Vice-Chancellor deemed that the University was compelled to make an exception contrary to its important principles concerning academic freedom.

The EU's sanctions and decisions proscribing the use of funding from the Horizon programme in collaborations with Russian universities have also led to the discontinuation of individual research projects.

Through Global Responsible Engagement, Lund University contributes to and encourages international collaborations while also highlighting the importance of security and ethical aspects. Each individual researcher has a responsibility, with the support of a checklist, to ensure that conducted research is sustainable in terms of ethics and security.

It is the University's task to help academic colleagues around the world. There is a great commitment among many of Lund University's staff members to do just that. We have supported Ukrainian academia since the war broke out there.

At present, the University deems that the situation is far too difficult in the Middle East to establish any new collaborations there. In addition to the human suffering in Gaza, the war between Israel and Hamas has also meant that schools and higher education institutions have been destroyed. Here, it is important that academia can provide support when it is possible.

Lund University works via Scholars at Risk and through this network can take in vulnerable researchers from around the world and provide them with a safe haven. Regarding Palestinian researchers, we have not yet received any requests.

International tuition fee-paying students at Lund University who find themselves in serious economic difficulties due to urgent and unexpected events have the option to apply for a Lund University Hardship Scholarship. 

Lund University Hardship Scholarship

Lund University is a member of the Scholars at Risk network. Scholars at Risk is a network of over 500 member universities in 42 countries that supports and defends the principles of academic freedom and defends human rights for researchers around the world. Through this network, academics at risk can find a safe haven at one of the member universities. No requests have been received as yet regarding Palestinian researchers.

Scholars at Risk –

The University is also awaiting a decision from the EU on the use of Erasmus funding to help students from the Middle-East region, in the same way as the EU opened up Erasmus to help students from Ukraine.

Lund University complies with Sweden's national legislation on research and education. This applies, for example, to dual-use products (civil and military purposes), which are controlled by the National Inspectorate of Strategic Products.

Lund University emphasises the importance of freedom of expression and academic freedom. Peaceful demonstrations are the right of every citizen in society and the University always defends this right. 

Lund University welcomes an open exchange of views in society. The University stands for dialogue and not conflict, and for respect being shown for the opinions of others. Lund University does not accept harassment of staff members or students, or that the safety of staff members or students is jeopardised. 

Read more in Vice-Chancellor Erik Renström's blogs at

Blog on the doctoral degree conferment ceremony – 30 May (in Swedish)

Blog on the tent camp in Lundagård, Lund – 14 May (in Swedish)

Contact information

kontakt [at] kommunikation [dot] lu [dot] se (kontakt[at]kommunikation[dot]lu[dot]se)