Malmö’s NFGL Local Network visits UN City in Copenhagen

SI News hears from first-year master’s student Lapthawan Leerapongkul about her network’s recent visit to UN City in Copenhagen.

Malmö’s NFGL Local Network visits UN City in Copenhagen
Malmö's NFGL Local Network at UN City in Copenhagen.

For our first activity on December 18th, 2017, our NFGL Local Network in Malmö organised a study trip to UN City in Copenhagen.

Almost 20 NFGL members attended this trip including the current master’s students and alumni from Malmö, Lund, Helsingborg, Gothenburg, Stockholm, and Uppsala. Such diversity!

We travelled to Copenhagen, which is our neighbour city, by just crossing over the Öresund Bridge. And from Nordhavn station, it took just a few minutes to walk to UN City.

After a warm welcome from the UN staff, we learned about a brief history of the UN, roles and responsibilities of all 11 UN agencies working in Denmark, their successful campaign 'End Poverty 2015', and also the latest one, the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Following the lecture, we had a short discussion about how to apply SDGs in practical ways. Topics included how to decrease over consumption by encouraging people to buy and use second-hand products instead of buying new ones.

We were fascinated walking around the iconic star-shaped building and learning about the history behind the sustainable design concepts. The design represents activities related to sustainability, from carbon footprints of construction materials to transport footprints left by commuters.

Also, it is equipped with efficient and innovative systems designed to control the building’s energy consumption; pumping cold sea water to decrease the need for electricity to power the cooling system of the building, and capturing rainwater from the roof to flush the toilets of the entire building, to name just a few examples.

While exploring the building, we saw that what made UN City a wonderful working place for more than a thousand staff from all over the world was its well-thought-out facilities and the services offered.

If you are interested in this tour, UN City offers group visits including guided tours and lectures for anyone interested in the UN and UN City. Just submit the registration form found in this link.

And, even better, the visit is free of charge!


Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

Ronoh Philip, who is studying for his masters degree in Infectious Disease Control at Södertörn University, explains why he thinks the Swedish concept of 'lagom' is the best way to achieve good social health.

Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

During my one week orientation program on August 2019 at Södertörn University, we were presented with many aspects of Swedish culture and practices. One of the new aspects that I learnt was the “lagom culture”, As I quote one of the presenters about applying lagom to our studies, he said: ”Lagom will reduce your stressful burdens of hectic lecture schedules and ensure that you spend equal time of working and socializing in the university.”

So being a student with a background in public health and society, I got interested and searched for the deeper meaning of lagom, and how it can  apply to society and health. I found out that it is a Swedish way of life, it is a concept which means not too much and not too little, just enough. I learnt that it came from a Viking tradition laget om which means 'around the group' and was allegedly used to describe just how much mead or soup one should drink when passing the bowl around in the group.

If this concept is applied to achieve social health goals, it would really fit well. So, what is social health at first? Social health is how you interact with other people and adapt in different situations, it deals with how people in society deal with each other. It is important to note that there is a close link between good social health and improvement of the other aspects of human health, this can lead to the achievement of SDG goal of good health and wellbeing. It also leads to self-satisfaction and happiness; no wonder Sweden is ranked as one the happiest countries in the world. It is ranked 7th in 2019, according to world happiness report. I believe lagom has a big role in this achievement.

In the country where I come from, Kenya, one of the greatest challenges we face in our society, is the ability for people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds to interact and form positive and cohesive relationships with each other. From my perspective, when I finish my studies and return, lagom will be worth implementing in the workplace, the place where I live and the society as whole, as it is the best way of finding simple, attainable solutions to our everyday worries like stress, eating better, having downtime and achieving happiness. It’s a balance of work and life, so everything is in sustainable existence with each other.

My goal during my entire university studies at Södertörn, will be to learn more about the lagom principle and also be able to apply it on our SI NFGL Local Network platform, because it is surely one of the best ways to achieve a good  work-life balance, reaching consensus with my colleagues and adapting a team minded approach in dealing with issues in an organization and the society.