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Lykke Friis to be correspondent for Danish newspaper

Job — The University of Copenhagen's long-standing prorector leaves the world of universities for a job as correspondent for the Danish media Berlingske in Berlin. She offers, in passing, a bit of career advice to UCPH students.

Lykke Friis has for many years analysed the news from Europe – especially from the EU’s central power, Germany – as a kind of media envoy from the University of Copenhagen.

Now, Friis herself is to dig up the news from Germany as the correspondent for the Danish media Berlingske. She will be based in Berlin. This was made public on 4th July, shortly after Lykke Friis stopped as prorector at the University of Copenhagen.

“It is what you would call a ‘permanent freelance’ position, where I am employed by Berlingske, but with the opportunity to continue my involvement in The Danish Cancer Society and on various boards of directors. And in the small hours, I can be a writer too,” she says.

“I happen to be completing a book called “A suitcase in Berlin”, which is about the duality of these times in Germany. It is, at the same time, a country in growth, and a country that is in the middle of an identity crisis over what it means to be German, and over whether too many have been allowed in to the country that do not live up to the criteria for being German,” she says. “I can’t predict where this story ends. This is what it is like to write about current conditions.”

Lykke Friis, a political scientist, has for many years been one of the media’s observers of German events. She says that the new position as correspondent differs from this work by being more driven by current events.

“It’s a different line of business than doing the analyses, so I need to learn the craft of journalism, and I’m going to do some further education, which fits well with the university’s requirements for lifelong learning.”

You will stand with a notebook at press conferences?

Yes: This is also why I have decided to move to Berlin. I must of course also cover the rest of Germany, and this is not possible from Copenhagen. It is crucial that I am on site, and this is also how you dig up the stories.”

No stress

Lykke Friis can look back on a wide-ranging career that includes work for the Confederation of Danish Industry and as Minister for Climate. She has advice for students who need to make plans for their own future in these years, and who feel the pressure.

“If I were to offer one piece of advice, it is that life is not a linear process. Neither is a career. And this will be even less so in the years to come. This is a hard fact, but you should not get stressed over this. You should see it as opportunities that open up for you,” she says.

“If you go down one path, it will have an impact, that is clear. Because I myself have jumped around a bit, I would have to start again if I wanted to go back at the Department of Political Science, because I did not write all the big books. And you need to be aware of this. But you must dare to try something new, and not believe that you can plan everything. I hadn’t planned this, even though many people thought I had some kind of plan hidden away.”

“There is something in the spirit of these times that we have to struggle with. Because it is OK to say: I’m doing this, and I want to see how this turns out.

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