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Petitioning Swedish Ministry of Education and Research

Maintain Support For International Swedish Instruction and Education About Sweden Abroad

 

Dear Minister of Education and Research Helene Hellmark Knutsson,

 

We are writing to urge you to maintain and, over time, increase your department's support for international Swedish instruction and education abroad about Sweden through the Swedish Institute. This support helps over 41,000 (!) students around the world learn Swedish annually and promotes education and research about Sweden that extends far beyond their universities. Students who study Swedish may become your country's global ambassadors. More significantly, however, is that this support also helps foster education about environmental sustainability, democracy and social transparency, gender equality, and children's rights.

 Swedish instruction and academic programming abroad is offered at dozens of major universities on nearly all continents, from Harvard, UC Berkeley, and the University of Illinois to the University of Hong Kong, Fudan University in Shanghai, Sorbonne, Humboldt University, multiple institutions in Moscow, and the University of Alger (complete list here). Many of these programs spearhead research about Sweden's history and culture that reach audiences around the world, while educating PhDs and post-docs that will further the study of Swedish culture, language, history, politics, and society in an international and global context. Support from the Ministry of Education and Research is vital to these programs: without indication from the Swedish government that funding for Swedish instruction and education about Sweden is important and recognized, these universities will likely cut their support, too.

The investment that the Ministry of Education and Research makes toward Swedish instruction abroad is relatively small. In return, Sweden gets an international and global network of students and scholars dedicated to furthering knowledge and, as part of an academic enterprise, internationally inflected critique, which is extraordinarily important for Sweden's role in and impact on the world. We ask you to re-assert Sweden's commitment to maintaining, and increasing, support for international Swedish instruction and education abroad about Sweden. We also ask you to confirm your support for the thousands of instructors, scholars, professors, and researchers around the world who help bring this education and research about as part of their careers and dedication to learning and critical inquiry.

 

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