Course opening 23/24


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The president is committed to universities being a space for "reflection, coexistence and commitment" in the face of polarization and social confrontation.


15 | 09 | 2023



FotoManuel Castells

María Iraburu has presided over the University's official official opening of the academic year 2023-24.

The president of the University of Navarra bet that "reflection, coexistence and social commitment are the axes that define the university space". María Iraburu emphasized that these are challenges for the university in general and the University of Navarra in particular, in the face of the times we live in of "strong polarization, simplistic statements, contrary to any reflection and critical vision; of confrontation and blind positioning to the needs and legitimate interests of others: at final, a vitiated atmosphere that can fracture society." 

This was stated during the official opening ceremony of the 2023-24 academic year, which took place at the classroom Magna of the academic center and was attended by academic and civil authorities, as well as professors and students. Reflection, coexistence and social commitment "are attractive and to some extent countercultural goals and, therefore, difficult to achieve" and are "a stimulus to exercise the healthy rebelliousness of the university environment, which should always be kept alive," said the president.

Regarding reflection, he pointed out that we are all in need not only of knowledge, but also of wisdom. "First of all, our students, who are our raison d'être and who hope to find here not only an environment of openness and respect, but of intellectual audacity that allows us to explore the great questions of human life." And also, society, which cannot prosper "without people who question the prevailing paradigms and open new horizons that illuminate action".

The second challenge, according to Professor Iraburu, is that of peaceful and plural coexistence: "True university coexistence would not be based on the homogeneity of positions or opinions, or would be the result of atony or individualism. True coexistence assumes and is enriched with diversity and pluralism, with dialogue and participation". 

In this sense, he referred to the current need to cultivate and enhance the physical and especially mental health of young people. "I think it is not risky to say that the meeting between people, with the possibility of sharing thoughts, challenges, joys and sorrows is an effective and very collegial way to respond to that need."

Finally, he spoke of social commitment. "It is true that -as we like to remind our interlocutors with public responsibilities- all the activity of the University of Navarra, the research, the teaching, the attendance, is a task of service to people and society, and this commitment is reinforced by the fact that it is a non-profit university with a social purpose. It is not up to the university to provide specific solutions to problems, but to contribute with its own purposes to peace, social justice and freedom for all". 

"In this task," he continued, "universities of Christian inspiration have a rich heritage in the so-called "social doctrine of the Church," a treasure not always known that can enlighten and inspire both believers and non-believers.

"It is not up to the university to provide specific solutions to problems, but to contribute with its own purposes to peace, social justice and freedom for all."

With this speech, the president welcomed the new students, professors and professionals joining the academic community and also wished the Navarre institutions and their leaders "a very fruitful stage that will contribute -as the president pointed out in her inauguration- to the common good of the people and institutions of our Foral Community".

The event was attended by various authorities, including María Chivite, President of the Government of Navarra; Unai Hualde, President of the Parliament of Navarra; Cristina Ibarrola, Mayor of the City of Pamplona; Valentín Velasco, acting Government Delegate in Navarra; Juan Cruz Cigudosa, Minister of University, Innovation and Digital Transformation; Francisco Pérez, Archbishop of Pamplona and Bishop of Tudela; Jaime Goyena, Senior Prosecutor of Navarra; Joaquín Galve, President of the High Court of Justice of Navarra; and the President of the Public University of Navarra, Ramón Gonzalo.


Inaugural lesson: the metaphor of the mirror

After a Mass at chapel of Amigos Building, officiated by the Archbishop of Pamplona, the opening ceremony began with the parade of the academic procession, in which 206 doctors participated. Both the Mass and the parade were enlivened by the choir of the seminar International Bidasoa. 

Already in the classroom Magna, the first intervention was by position of University Secretary, Jesús María Ezponda, who read the summary of the report academic of the course 21-22. Next, the professor of the School Ecclesiastical Philosophy María Jesús Soto was in charge of delivering the inaugural lecture entitled "The broken mirror. Philosophy and identity". 

In his speech, he spoke of the metaphor of the mirror, "which has been and is a constant in Western thought, as well as in the rich Eastern tradition, for whose culture mirrors are endowed with great mystical power". María Jesús Soto reviewed the different meanings of the breaking of the mirror, from a phenomenological-literary and philosophical perspective, and stressed that the mirror is, above all, an "instrument of the gaze". According to him, "it sometimes appears as a figure of the cracking of the world and the disintegration of the self, and imposes the choice between its reflection and reality".

Thanks to the mirror, explained the philosopher, the human being can, "not only discover his image; but also denotes his aptitude to have access, beyond the visible, to an intelligible point of view". For the professor, this results in a core topic of interpretation for some pointed passages of modern-contemporary literature about the mirror, such as in Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm's Snow White (1812). "In all cultures, the mirror has the same function and symbolism: it allows one to see oneself as one is; it allows one to see oneself in the sovereignty of one's consciousness," she concluded. 

Opening of academic year 2023-24