MAKING OUR LIVES BETTER
UNIVERSITY OF FRIBOURG
CANTONAL UNIVERSITY, GLOBAL REACH
The Miséricorde campus of Fribourg University takes its name from the former cemetery that once occupied the site. It is considered the finest example of 1930s architecture in Switzerland.
Founded 130 years ago, the University of Fribourg is an integral part of life in the canton. By actively strengthening cohesion between the fields of economics, politics, culture, science and religion, this august institution helps to sustain the high quality of life that Fribourg offers its citizens. What is more, the sphere of influence of a number of its institutes extends well beyond Switzerland. A case in point is the International Institute of Management in Technology (iimt), which offers excellent continuing education programmes (MBA, CAS), as Astrid Epiney, the University’s Rector, points out. “The iimt works closely with firms in the technology sector, such as Swisscom (telecommunications), Groupe E (energy) and banks.” Fribourg University is also active on the policy front through its Institute of Federalism, a think tank on all matters related to this particular political system. Its work also includes advising foreign governments and NGOS. Professor Epiney adds, “It is not about exporting the Swiss model. Federalism is a highly adaptable concept that can be fashioned in a multitude of different ways.” Another area of specialisation is multilingualism. It somewhat makes perfect sense that a university based in a region where Frenchand German-speaking communities live side by side would have a particular interest in the cultural dimensions of multilingual settings. “The Institute of Multilingualism is considered a national centre of excellence”, carrying out basic research and advising on identity and cultural issues. The Swiss Centre for Islam Society focuses on the role that faith plays in forging the identity of a section of the Swiss population. Its mandate, conferred by the Swiss Confederation, is to analyse how individuals can live out their Muslim faith while upholding the rules of a constitutional state like Switzerland. In doing so, the Centre fosters mutual respect as well as the cohesion of a society in which different religions and beliefs coexist. Astrid Epiney welcomes this move, “The Centre helps to prevent a particular section of the community becoming marginalised. Ultimately, everyone, as well as the economy, will reap the benefits of the resulting stability.” The jewel in the University’s scientific crown is the Adolphe Merkle Institute (go here to read more about its Director). Established 10 years ago, this centre of research in nanotechnologies, the only one of its kind in Switzerland, is considered among the best in the world, and works very closely with industry.