Establishing Uppsala University’s presence in Southeast Asia

8 September 2017

“Southeast Asia is an incredibly interesting region for the University,” says Anna-Klara Lindeborg, who is taking over as the University’s representative at the local office in Vietnam.

In August, Anna-Klara Lindeborg will be exchanging her Uppsala environment for an office one floor up from the Swedish embassy in Hanoi. Anna-Klara Lindeborg is the University’s new representative in Hanoi, tasked with developing a presence in Southeast Asia.

The move is in August. Anna-Klara Lindeborg and her family are moving to Hanoi to work at the University’s representative office for the next two years.

The University’s office in Hanoi opened in autumn 2014 and Anna-Klara Lindeborg began working part-time in Hanoi from a distance when the former representative, Detlef Clöwe, retired. Starting in August, she will be on full-time leave from her regular position with the University Administration.

 “I am passionate about international issues. I have done a lot of work before, primarily in Laos. I wrote my dissertation in cultural geography there and have a lot of contacts, and I’m familiar with the region’s politics. When the opportunity to apply for this position came up, I didn’t hesitate. My husband and I have talked about applying for work in the region for a long time, because he is a specialist in infectious diseases.”

Started with contract training

The office started in conjunction with contract training and vice-chancellor Eva Åkesson has decided on continued operations for at least two more years.

“Southeast Asia is an incredibly interesting region for the University. It’s a region with strong economic growth, and many people choose to go abroad to study. Today, we primarily have partnerships in Hanoi, but I want to reach out more beyond the capital city of Vietnam, and also to other countries in Southeast Asia and maybe southern China.”

In Hanoi, she will work with developing networks and projects in both education and research, and will also serve as a hub for student recruitment. There is no mistaking Anna-Klara Lindeborg’s passion for developing the collaboration; during the interview, she eagerly takes notes of ideas that emerge during the conversation.

“I get so involved; there are so many opportunities,” says Anna-Klara Lindeborg as she writes. “But we need to get better at clarifying what is being done for everyone in Sweden.”

Improve employability

The office consists of several projects, including a collaboration between European and Vietnamese universities with the primary goal of improving the employability of Vietnamese students.

 “We also have an exciting joint programme underway. It wasn’t easy, but it is more practical to implement, because the students will study for three years in Vietnam and one year in Uppsala, and will receive a bachelor’s degree in both Vietnam and Sweden. If it works well, we can use the same model in other programmes,” says Anna-Klara Lindeborg with hope, and continues to sketch out plans for the expansion of contacts in research.

There is more to be done in that arena, and she explains that discussions are underway about the inclusion of more higher education institutions in the Hanoi office.

 “We can work together more on internationalisation between higher education institutions in Sweden. It would improve Sweden’s strength first-hand in Vietnam, for example,” she says.

Facts – Anna-Klara Lindeborg

Title: Project manager at the Division for International Coordination

Leisure activities: Exercise, nature, her kids, reading and watching movies.

Last movie viewed: A Serious Game by Pernilla August.

Best part about Southeast Asia: People are kind and easy to get to know. The temperament is quite similar to the Swedish temperament.

Looking forward to: The heat and leaving rain gear for the kids behind.

Will miss: Colleagues at work.

Project before the move: Start learning Vietnamese.