University leaders met alumni in Shanghai
Early April, 18 people at Umeå University participated in a study trip to Shanghai, China, in the framework of their University Head and Leadership Training (UCL). The program included visits to the Nordic Center and various institutions at Fudan University. The week ended with a meeting with alumni, ie former students and researchers, who now live in the Shanghai area.
The University's Head and Leadership Training (UCL), is part of the competence support for new managers and leaders at Umeå University, and is aimed at faculties, managers and unit managers. A part of the program is Strategic Leadership and Operational Development, where external environment monitoring is an important part. This year a study trip to the Nordic Center and Fudan University in Shanghai was part of the program.
The purpose of the trip was to strengthen the international perspective of the course participants, to compare similarities and differences in how academic activities are conducted, study trends from a future perspective, and create new contacts and collaboration areas.
China is one of the countries where the university has long established collaborations. The study trip began with a visit to the Nordic Center, of which Umeå University together with 24 other Nordic universities are members. Nordic Center is located at Fudan University, one of Asia's highest ranked universities, with the task of promoting collaboration between students and researchers at Nordic universities and China. Nordic Center offers, among other things, workstations for researchers that are there for short or long visits.
The study trip included visits to a variety of institutions, units and centers at Fudan University, meetings with students, as well as meeting with the Swedish Consulate General in Shanghai.
The week ended with an alumni meeting on Saturday night. In addition to all UCL participants, former Umeå students and researchers who lives in and around Shanghai, attended. The majority of the alumni living in Shanghai are Chinese, but also some Swedes. For example, there were spouses Jessica and Per Hörnell's first alumni meeting in China.
During the alumni event, lectures were held by Professor Stefan Jansson, who spoke about genetically modified plants, and Johanna Overud, who talked about Swedish women's entry into the labor market. The alumni were also told about other current topics as well learned how they could help the university, for example with internships for current students. In addition, there was a chance to network with each other.
"The lectures were the best thing during the whole evening, Mengxi Jiang - one of the alumni contacts for the network in China, said.
China was the first country outside Sweden to organize activities for former Umeå students and researchers. In 2012, the first alumni meetings were held in Shanghai and Beijing. Damon Yang, former student at the Master's programme in interactive technical systems, was the one who was behind it then and was also there now. Professor Taiyi Jin, the first person from China to recieve a doctorate at Umeå University (1987), was another attendee. Tayi Jin was also the reason why Hao Xu, former student and postgraduate student in molecular biology, came to Umeå University. Hao Xu recently got involved in the alumni network in China and wants to continue developing it in order to contribute to the university development and strengthen contacts between alumni in China as well as between alumni and the university.
"I look forward to contributing to the development of the alumni network and hope we can form a formal committee shortly," said Hao Xu.
More photos from the event can be found on FlickR.
Text: Jessica Bergström Grahn