On 14 November, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Sweden to the Russian Federation, Malena Mård, paid a visit to Voronezh State University in the framework of the Days of Sweden in Voronezh. She had a meeting with the university administration.
VSU Rector, Dmitry Endovitsky, told her about the university’s international activities, its history and contacts with European universities. He also pointed out that VSU is a point of attraction for international business partners.
“It is a big honour for me to come to Voronezh and Voronezh State University. Education is a very important area to which Sweden pays a lot of attention. What is more, the issues of social and economic responsibility and environmental protection are on the global agenda today, which means we have to join our efforts. VSU has strong relations with a number of leading Swedish universities, that is why our cooperation has a very promising future,” said Malena Mård.
Then the ambassador had a meeting with students of Voronezh State University. The students had a wonderful opportunity to discuss questions they are interested in with the experienced diplomat.
“Is it true that they keep record of users’ personal data on the Internet in Sweden? If yes, why?”
“The thing is, Sweden is trying to provide 100% world web coverage of all the population. It’s a state policy to provide internet access to every person. What is more, for young people it is very important to be engaged in information technologies.”
“Environmental protection is an important aspect of international policy. Forest protection in particular. Is it possible to promote in Russia technologies implemented in Sweden?
“Sweden is a small country. We all take care of the environment. We have been regulating this process both on the industrial and legislative level for over forty years. I believe there are a lot of opportunities for our countries to work together to implement the policy of social and economic responsibility.”
“To your mind, what barriers are there for economic cooperation between our countries?
“Our long-standing partners are Germany, Norway, and Denmark. Our presence on the Russian market is growing. We should individually approach every specified enterprise or area of cooperation and it should be done from both sides. I can see huge potential for the development of Swedish companies in Russia. The cooperation in the area of education is of great interest. This is the foundation for extended cooperation.”
“What role can be played by the Voronezh region in the economic cooperation between Russia and Sweden?”
“There are several Swedish companies that are already working successfully in the Voronezh region. Of course, we can see here a lot of prospects for the development of Swedish companies and I would be happy to see them implemented. We hope to contribute to the sustainable development. This question is on the agenda.”
“Sweden is a world leader in terms of life expectancy. What contributes to it?”
“Economy is the key element. Medium and small businesses are actively developed in Sweden. We have a policy of gender equality, which means that women make an equal contribution to the country’s economy. To make it possible we have a solid social foundation. As you know, all people have access to higher education in Sweden: the state provides a good scholarship, so no matter what social background you come from, you can get a higher education.”
“What stereotypes do you have in Sweden about Russians and do they help in intercultural communication?”
“There are stereotypes in any country. I don’t know what is your idea of a Swedish girl but for us it is a blonde girl who knows a lot. Many of my fellow citizens associate Russia with classical culture: music, literature, theatre, and ballet. The most important thing for our countries is to exchange cultural experiences and to develop personal contacts.”
After the meeting, the international guests had a guided tour in VSU History Museum and Book Museum where they were welcomed by the laureate of international and national contests, the folk music group "Terem”.