Uppsala University, Sweden

Month: April 2015

Learning Together for Change

‘Learning Together for Change’ is an ongoing conference in Arusha, Tanzania, at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology. Eva is attending the conference together with Daniel Stattin and Peter Sundin from Uppsala. 15 Swedish universities are represented, and there are participants from 14 different African countries, in total some 200 participants form three days. The conference is an initiative of the Association of Swedish Higher Education (SUHF) and the International Association of Universities (IAU) and is one way of contributing to UNESCO’s project ‘Education for all’. During the conference we discuss how we can work towards education being a right for all, with particular focus on teacher education. The official opening was grand, with Eva welcoming everyone on behalf of the SUHF. The Vice President of Tanzania, Mohamed Ghariv Bilal and the Minister for Communication, Science and Technology, Makame Mbarwa, both held opening talks. Sweden’s ambassador in Tanzania, Lennart Hjelmåker, gave an appreciated talk. This was followed by intense workshops in the following days, interesting discussions and exchange of ideas between participants. We learn a lot together. The conclusions from the conference are documented and will be forwarded to the UNESCO World Education Forum in Incheon, Korea. 19–22 May 2015.

The European University Association (EUA) took the initiative to hold a moment of silence at Europe’s universities on Monday 27 April, 12:00 noon. The moment of silence was held to condemn all forms of violence against schools and universities, and to honour the victims of the terror attack on Garissa University College in Kenya, 2 April, when 147 people were killed and 79 injured.

The EUA emphasizes that all forms of violence or attacks on educational institutions go against the universities’ fundamental values of freedom of thought and speech, tolerance and autonomy. It undermines young people’s ambitions and basic rights to education and being able to contribute to the development in their country, the greater society and the world. The EUA therefore encouraged all European universities as well as in other parts of the world to unite in condemning all forms of violence against education.

A moment of silence was held yesterday in several places at Uppsala University, as well as at the conference here in Arusha.

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The journey continues to Hong Kong

After Korea we travelled on to Hong Kong where Pirkko Tamsen and Kay Svensson were already waiting for us. In the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong we had four educational and rewarding days with visits to universities, Science Parks, different organizations, alumni events and many meetings with creative exchange. We have had the opportunity to learn more about the development in a dynamic and interesting part of Asia. Hong Kong with its seven million inhabitants has three universities ranked among the top 50 in the world. Uppsala University has student exchanges and research cooperation with all three and with another two universities in Hong Kong. This is an impressively international environment with high ambitions, including interest in developing the cooperation with Uppsala in several areas including joint programmes. There is also great interest in innovation, and we sparked great curiosity when we talked about how the Swedish model works and how successful it is. Here too we saw opportunities for continued connections which can contribute to mutual development.


Our first day (Wednesday) started with a run through of the programme. Then we set off to the Department of Justice to learn about Hong Kong’s legal system – Basic Law. The next stop that day was the University of Hong Kong. We were well received and we have active student exchange since the nineties. We noticed a certain concern for the future roll of Hong Kong.

The next day began with a breakfast meeting together with the Swedish Chamber of Commerce. We had many questions we wanted to discuss so time passed (too) quickly. On to the Patent Office where we learned about intellectual property rights in Hong Kong. At our next stop we were introduced to Hong Kong’s innovation policy by Mr Tsang. Lunch was spent learning about foreign policy together with Mr Lo, deputy secretary for education, and Mr Lau, principal assistant secretary. Concerns over demography and decreasing student numbers possibly causing lowered quality popped up several times in our conversation. In the evening we met General Consul Jörgen Halldin and Amanda Weinstock. It was good to get an account from Swedes on location who know Hong Kong.

Friday morning was spent at Hong Kong Science Park, first at the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) and then at the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks (HKSTP). A great openness and will to cooperate characterized our meetings. Here there was great curiosity about Sweden and perhaps interesting opportunities for some of Uppsala’s many skilled researchers and innovators who would like to enter the Asian market. This is also where Karolinska Institutet will base their activities on regenerative medicine, funded by a large donation of SEK 350 million. Our hosts also invited Uppsala researchers to take part in collaborations. Another area that is being pushed is the development of robots for many different areas of application.

In the afternoon we learned about fighting corruption at a visit to the ICAC – the Independent Commission Against Corruption. They had a great display of all the most spectacular corruption cases they had managed to untangle. Everything from bribes to dodgy construction work and smuggling, Mrs Au Yeung proudly showed us around and told us about all those who had been caught. The day ended with a visit to the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and a meeting with Vice-Chancellor Sung. Here we also have student exchange since the nineties, but the ambition is to increase the numbers travelling in both directions as well as organizing teacher exchanges.

All meetings contained great presentations and gave us many leads to follow up on, but the crescendo was of our own doing. On the Friday evening, Anna Reibring together with the Alumni Office in Uppsala had prepared a first meeting for alumni and friends of Uppsala University in Hong Kong. Lars Nittve talked about his exciting work of creating M+, a brand new museum in Hong Kong. The event was rounded off with a mini Walpurgis celebration, with cardboard student caps and student songs. Thomas Fredengren was also helping out on location. Next week there will be alumni events across the globe in connection with Walpurgis Eve. It is great to see our alumni activities really picking up some steam! It was great to meet our alumni as well as exchange students in Hong Kong and hearing about their experiences.

On the Saturday we had the privilege of attending the fourth Nobel Laureates Symposium on Global Sustainability. Some great lectures and there is hope for the future, but it requires both individuals and politicians to step up to the challenge going forward. The rest of the day was spent packing and preparing for the journey home (Pirkko and Kay). Eva will continue her travels and the next stop will be Arusha in Tanzania. More about that in an upcoming blog post.

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2015 Korea – Sweden Excellence Seminar

The Swedish Academic Collaboration Forum (SACF) is an international cooperation project between six universities, namely Uppsala University, the Royal Institute of Technology KTH, Chalmers University of Technology, Lund University, Stockholm University and Linköping University. The goal of the project is to develop and strengthen existing research cooperation between researchers in Sweden and other parts of the world, and forge connections with business and industry. The project is funded by STINT, which we are grateful for. Together we will hold six ‘Excellence Seminars’, the first of which was held this week in Hanyang University in Seoul, Korea. Welcoming words were given by Urban Ahlin, speaker of the Swedish riksdag, and by Ambassador Lars Danielsson. I (Eva) gave an introductory keynote titled ‘Innovation and research – a local perspective on global challenges’. The first SACF seminar was a success with lively sessions and dedicated researchers. Representing Uppsala University were Kristina Edström, Mats Larhed, Marie Allen, Kersti Hermansson, Peter Lindblad and Börgvin Hjörvarsson, who all gave presentations in the sessions which were themed as follows:

  • Creative economy/Innovative Business and Management
  • Sustainable welfare for quality of life
  • Functional materials
  • Health challenges in a “silver” society
  •  Towards a low carbon society
  • University management

All in all, this was a very successful start for the SACF and I would like to thank everyone who in different ways have contributed to the 2015 Korea – Sweden Excellence Seminar. Cooperating internationally is important and gives us much greater impact. Upcoming seminars will be held in Singapore and China in November 2015, followed by seminars in Brazil and Indonesia in 2016. The final meeting will be held in Stockholm. If you would like to know more about the SACF or take part in an upcoming seminar? Speak to Ulrica Ouline.

On Monday, some of us visited the Medical Center at Hallym University. Uppsala University has since several years back cooperated with Hallym University, on initiative of my predecessor Anders Hallberg. Among other things we organize alternating symposia together, the last one in Uppsala. The next meeting – the seventh of its kind – will be held in Korea.


In connection with the 2015 Korea–Sweden Excellence Seminar, the Swedish Institute organized a combined alumni and pre-departure meeting for the participating Swedish universities. Some twenty Uppsala alumni came to the reception to mingle and share memories of Uppsala. It is always pleasing to see how our alumni truly are our ambassadors on location all over the world and I really encourage our teachers and employees to take the time to meet our alumni when travelling abroad.

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