Asia networking day in Stockholm
The motive for the conference was to “finding everyone in Sweden focusing on Asia for a network event”. The focus of the conference was on East Asia, however, South Asia was also discussed. The keynote speaker Urban Ahlin, the speaker of the Swedish parliament, talked about Sweden’s role in Asia in general and the importance maintaining the good relationship with Asia. Ahlin identified several challenges for the future in Asia, climate change was one of the things discussed, were Sweden can be vital in the research in this area. Another challenge is potential conflicts in Asia. In the end of his speech Ahlin stressed that we need more knowledge Asia region and therefore praised the Asian networking imitative.
At the networking day, representatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs were also present and the head of Department for Asia and the Pacific, Cecilia Ruthström–Ruin, made it clear that they needed external expertise to operate in Asia, academic platforms plays an important part in their work she stressed. Ruthström–Ruin also mentioned Team Sweden India as an important networking institute for Sweden. Team Sweden is described as: “By coordinating the authorities, agencies and companies that promote Swedish exports abroad, Team Sweden can offer broad support to Swedish companies that want to enter the export market. Export support includes advisory services, financing, marketing and the long-term promotion of the image of Sweden”. Read more here.
Notably, in the panel discussion named “Tried and Tested – Building for the future”, Börje Ljunggren, former Swedish Ambassador to China and Vietnam, mentioned SASNET as one of the most important network institutions for Asia that has been developed in Sweden over the last couple of years.
The conference concluded that there is a need for further funding for ensuring the quality for Asian related studies. Especially, the lack of PhD positions was stressed as an important factor for ensuring the research quality for the future.