Why NFGL Local Network Umeå has launched a podcast for SI scholars

SI News hears from NFGL Local Network Umeå who explain their motivations for launching their very own podcast (and where you can listen to it).

Why NFGL Local Network Umeå has launched a podcast for SI scholars
Interviewing Ms. Åsa Lundmark, Head of the SI Scholarships, for a podcast and video format production

The Swedish Institute (SI), through its Scholarship for Global Professionals Programme, aims to develop global leaders who will contribute to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. One of the ways this goal is achieved is through the creation of local networks of scholarship holders in every city throughout Sweden where they are all studying. These networks are collectively called the Swedish Institute Network for Future Global Leaders (SI NFGL). Our local network at Umeå is a tightly knit and dynamic group, with an exciting year of scheduled events and activities ahead of us. We strive to work on a diverse and multifaceted portfolio of projects, including academic visits to local organizations and businesses that align with different Social Development Goals (SDGs).

As a member of the network, I saw this as a perfect opportunity to propose the launching of our own in-house podcast. Nowadays, some might say we are overexposed with content and information. However, I believe that having outlets available to delve deeper into specific and niche topics in a diverse style, unconstrained from traditional TV and radio formats, is especially helpful when facing too many options to choose from. This allows some podcasts to cater to niche audiences that are not a priority for other kinds of media. For these reasons, podcasts remain one of the most convenient, easy and time-efficient channels for both listeners and producers. Even major news and analysis content creators, such as The New York Times, Washington Post and The Economist, among others, have identified this trend and produced high quality, hallmark podcast channels. So the question that came to my mind was: would a specially catered podcast for other SI Scholars and students throughout Sweden and produced by their peers, be beneficial and impactful? The answer was a resounding yes. 

Photo: NFGL Local Network Umeå

Identifying the potential a podcast may have within fellow young thinkers and leaders and in accordance with the Swedish Institute’s goals and objectives, we decided to launch “SDG Lessons from Umeå” in November 2019. It is our intention to focus on topics pertaining to sustainability, development, and leadership with different guests in short 10 to 15 minute long weekly episodes. Inviting fellow scholarship holders, professors, students, and other stakeholders as guests, we aim to share insights, perspectives, and experiences on all themes related to the Sustainable Development Goals. This will allow us to spread out the understanding of SGDs to every SI scholar and students in the universities around Sweden and the world. It is important to remember that SDGs are not goals solely meant for policymakers, professors, or appointed leaders, but that everyone can and should contribute to the goals by their own actions, insights, and experience. 

The podcast will be available on all major podcast platforms, including Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Soundcloud, among others. We encourage all fellow SI Local Networks to join us in this initiative by joining our episodes as guests remotely or starting your own podcast production! The Umeå Local Network for Future Global Leaders welcomes you!

Click here for a sneak peek into our first episode interviewing Miguel San Sebastian, a professor, and researcher at Umea University.




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.