(Original Swedish post published 1 March.)

Time flies and last week I didn’t have time to blog. Two of the highlights were visits from ambassadors. On Tuesday we had a visit from the German Ambassador, Dr Hans-Jürgen Heimsoeth. Germany is the country that sends most exchange programme students to Uppsala. During the last five years nearly one in ten incoming exchange students have come from Germany. German universities are also well represented in the Erasmus Mundus consortia in which Uppsala University participates. Uppsala University has 139 cooperation agreements with Germany; 46 of them involve exchanges of teaching staff and 93 student exchanges, two of which are university-wide. Uppsala University cooperates with 48 different higher education institutions. We have more far-reaching partnerships with two German universities in our networks: Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (U4 and The Guild) and Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen (Matariki and The Guild). Needless to say, the programme included a visit to the Department of Modern Languages and its German section.

The next ambassador last week came from South Africa: H.E. Faith Radebe visited Uppsala University in conjunction with a seminar arranged by the Forum for Africa Studies. It gave us a chance to provide information about our collaboration and ongoing and planned projects. INSPIRE is an Erasmus Mundus Action 2 project that has provided scholarships for students and researchers from South Africa for studies and exchanges in Europe. There has been a special focus on promoting innovation and enterprise. EMISHA is a capacity-building project funded by the EU that brings together nine universities from two continents to strengthen innovation and entrepreneurship in South Africa. Another development is an ongoing application to the STINT Sweden South Africa Collaboration project that resulted from the visit of vice-chancellors to South Africa just under a year ago. The Southern African–Nordic Centre (SANORD) was also discussed.

The rental of premises in the University’s Centre for Economic Sciences (Ekonomikum) attracted a good deal of attention on Tuesday and led to some criticism of the University’s rental rules. The University rents premises to external organisations when premises are available. Under the Higher Education Ordinance, student associations always have the right to book premises. With regard to political parties, the practice is that all parties represented in the Riksdag are treated equally. In this case, the University has followed current practice for rentals to external actors. However, we will take up procedures and guidelines for rentals at the next Management Council meeting. This seems all the more timely in view of the general elections next year.

Now I’m sitting on the train with Vice-Rector Stellan Sandler and University Director Katarina Bjelke – we’ve been visiting Örebro University to discuss potential areas of cooperation. Educational programmes for specialist nurses were particularly mentioned. Good if we can pull together in the region to better meet the needs for certain skills.

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