Tag archives for SI ALumni

Happy New Year!

2016 was a great year for the Swedish Institute Alumni Network. SI supported about 70 events around the world. The Swedish Institute wishes you all wonderful holidays and a Happy and Prosperous New Year. We look forward to continue to work with you in 2017.

SI Alumni Network 2016 from Swedish Institute on Vimeo.

Interview with Swedish Institute alumnus: Dmytro Iarovyi

The Embassy of Sweden in Ukraine has interviewed three Swedish Institute alumni. This article is the last in a series of profiles published by the Embassy of Sweden during October.

Dmytro Iarovyi, originally from the Luhansk region, is the current Head of international communications at the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine.  A few years ago, Dmytro was looking for opportunities to study abroad and, according to him, Sweden offered the best combination of affordability and quality. After receiving a grant from the Swedish Institute, Dmytro spent two years studying International Administration and Global Governance at Gothenburg University.

“It was the brightest experience of my life”, says Dmytro. “The teachers were great. Moreover, thanks to the practical component of my course, I was able to do a two month internship in New York for the delegation of Ukraine to the UN”.

Dmytro’s study abroad experience involved a good portion of sight-seeing and leisure. He was pleased with Gothenburg’s mix of big city clubs and small town cycling lanes, and considers it his “favorite city in the world”. Being part of an SI-programme also allowed him to form lasting connections with international students. Thanks to an SI-organized kickoff at the start of the academic year, Dmytro met other SI-students and made a great group of friends. Together they rented a car and travelled all around Europe.

Upon returning to Ukraine, Dmytro was so inspired by his time abroad that he decided to continue promoting his experiences and values from Sweden.  As an active member of SI’s alumni network, Dmytro has co-hosted a workshop on leadership with the help of SI’s funding. He has also independently hosted a workshop on public broadcasting for Ukrainian students and SI alumni.

Dmytro wholeheartedly recommends the SI’s programmes to other Ukrainians looking for a European experience and has tirelessly promoted study abroad opportunities. “For those who want to learn about good practice in governance and administration, with a uniquely Swedish perspective on gender and development, studying in Sweden is an invaluable opportunity. I would highly recommend applying for these scholarships – if I could, I would do it again and again.”

The interview was published at the Embassy of Sweden in Ukraine website. You can read the original article here.

Interview with Swedish Institute alumna: Mariia Tyshchenko

The Embassy of Sweden in Ukraine has interviewed three Swedish Institute alumni. This article is the second in series of profiles published by the Embassy of Sweden during October.

Mariia Tyshchenko is the founder and director of the NGO Poruch (“Nearby” or “Alongside”), as well as an associate professor in the political economy department at Kyiv National Economy University. A tireless activist and educator, Mariia’s main interests center on sustainable development and social cohesion.

“I was already interested in sustainable development. When looking for programmes where I could explore this in more depth, I stumbled upon the Swedish Institute’s summer school”, says Mariia. The 2010 summer school on strategic sustainable development involved spending one week in Mundekulla, followed by one week in Karlskrona. The whole experience was funded by SI.

“Mundekulla was in the middle of nowhere in northern Sweden. We lived on an estate that was completely sustainable”, remembers Mariia. “They grew their own food and recycled pretty much everything. They even had sustainable toilets! Having to differentiate between ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ plastic was a bit of a shock for us Eastern Europeans.”

Moreover, the community sported a small grocery store without a shopkeeper. The store’s profitability relied on visitors putting the right amount of money down for the items they bought. This made a deep impression on Mariia. “For me, it was proof of the high levels of social capital in Sweden. Coincidentally, social trust correlates with low levels of corruption”, says Mariia.

Of course, in addition to their learning experience, there was plenty of time for the students to enjoy themselves. “I was lucky enough to have my summer course coincide with the Swedish Midsummer celebrations. It was a party like I’ve never experienced. We were even wearing our vyshyvanky (Ukrainian national dress)!”

Mariia was heavily inspired by the summer school’s overall philosophy of social responsibility, as well as the strong presence of women activists in Sweden. Mariia returned to Ukraine with a feeling that she could change the world. As a result, Poruch was born, an NGO with the aim of building communities and fostering sustainable development in the regional areas of Ukraine. Their current projects involve social cohesion training in Donbas and integrating internally displaced people (IDPs) into their host communities. This was directly inspired by the social cohesion she observed in Sweden.

Mariia has continued to maintain her relationship with the Swedish Institute and its alumni. During its 5 years of existence, Poruch has organized dozens of events, many supported by SI and the Embassy. The vast network of activists and experts Mariia formed at SI’s summer school has also been a valuable resource: to this day, the SI summer school alumni work together on various projects all over Ukraine.

In 2015, Mariia went to Sweden once again, this time to SI’s Summer Academy for Young Professionals, with the aim of increasing the practice of good governance in the wider Baltic Sea Region.

Overall, Mariia is happy with her choices. “Attending SI’s summer schools broadened my horizons while enhanging my career profile” she says. “Ukraine still has many unsolved domestic problems and challenges. By studying the Swedish experience we can add to our own knowledge”.

The interview was published at the Embassy of Sweden in Ukraine website. You can read the original article here.

Interview with Swedish Institute alumnus: Oleg Shimanskyi

Photo: Oleg Shimanskyi

The Embassy of Sweden in Ukraine has interviewed three Swedish Institute alumni. This article is the first in a series of profiles published by the Embassy of Sweden during October.

Oleg Shymanskyi, born and raised in Kyiv, is currently working as a strategic communications consultant at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center. After earning a Bachelor of Laws he moved to the Netherlands to study European Public Affairs at Maastricht University – a seemingly natural path for Oleg, who had been involved in the European Youth Parliament during most of his studies.

In 2013, Oleg received a grant from the Swedish Institute (SI) to study entrepreneurship at Lund University for a year. Apart from continuing to gain experience abroad, his venture into business studies also reflected a social enterprise trend in Ukraine at the time. “I wanted to get a grip on how to start a social enterprise”, Oleg recalls. “I decided that the way to change society would be through the private sector”.

Oleg enjoyed the hands-on, interactive way of learning at Lund University. “At the very first lecture we were split into small groups and each of them was given 100 kronor to invest in whatever we wanted to” he says, “and the group that had made the most profit a week later became the winner”. Oleg was also in awe of Sweden’s nature and would explore the vicinities with his local friend, who he was lucky enough to know from before. “He always used to drive with a fishing rod in a trunk of his car”, Oleg recalls with a smile.

Oleg has been an active participant in the SI alumni network since returning to Ukraine. To name just one of his activities, he spoke at events where he informed Ukrainian students about the opportunities to study in Sweden, while at the same time he attempted at activating the local alumni community together with the other recent graduates Sparked with interest in Swedish culture and language, some of his friends decided to study in Sweden themselves and have fallen in love with the country.

As closing remarks, Oleg says: “Ukrainians who want to gain experience in Scandinavia can afford to do that thanks to the Swedish Institute’s funding. It is a great opportunity to obtain top-quality education and discover one of the most interesting cultures in Europe”.

The interview was published at the Embassy of Sweden in Ukraine website. You can read the original article here

Alumni Event: Sustainability Priorities and Challenges in Poland!

Title of Event: Sustainability Priorities and Challenges in Poland

Country of Event: Poland, Warsaw

Name of Organizers: Antanas Bubnelis, Justyna Staniewicz, Marek Nowak, Wojciech Gadomski, Rafal Mikolajczyk

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