SI opening ceremony – a true sense of belonging and inspiration

This week, Lamiaa Bakry shares her impressions of this year's kick-off event in Stockholm. Lamiaa is currently a Master’s student of Strategic Entrepreneurship at Jönköping University.

SI opening ceremony – a true sense of belonging and inspiration
Photo credit: Swedish Institute (2019)

On September 14, the Swedish Institute welcomed a new batch of SI-scholarship holders at the 2019 kick-off event in Stockholm. Many of us expected it to be a simple opening ceremony. But guess what? We were surprised! The ceremony was much more than this: it was a representation of who we are – a group of ambitious, smart, and active world leaders from different corners of the world celebrating their baby steps in Sweden. Sharing this exciting moment with fellow scholarship holders from different cultures and nationalities gave us a strong sense of belonging to the SI Network for Future Global Leaders.

During the event, the program directors gave us a warm welcome, followed by former scholarship holders and members of local NFGL networks sharing their experiences. The highlight of the event was, however, an inspirational talk from Brian Palmer on how the true leaders, with their courage, changes the world. The speech was inspiring, motivating, and mind-blowing. We could not help but think that we, as future global leaders, also want to leave a mark by making the world a better place for everyone. After Brian was done with his speech, our eyes were full of tears and our hearts were filled with hope and motivation to unlock our full potential and reach the best versions of ourselves. 

There is no better way to communicate what this event meant to us than through the voices of the other Jönköping University NFGL members who attended the kick-off ceremony:

“Being part of the SI Kick-off ceremony was a unique opportunity not only to get the inspiration from former scholars, but also to get a better sense of our potential as SI scholarship holders. The inspiration from the ones that have already advanced the path within the network was fundamental for us. It was like visualizing now what we can achieve in the future with commitment and determination. From our perspective, the NFGL makes a difference in the way we approach our master's degree studies, as it enables us to go beyond the academic setting and get hands-on experience to solve real-life issues.”

– Leo Arboleda, Colombia, Master Student of Digital Business


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.