From the President...
Dear fellow alums and current students/scholars,
Sometimes, I can get the feeling that Sweden is a very long way from Harvard Square. It is, isn’t it? Still, life goes on in both places, and for those of us that currently live in this remote corner of the world, the Harvard Club can be a way to introduce more Harvard into Sweden.
My four years at Harvard College (class of 1980) made a profound impression on me. It was, of course, a formative period of my life - anything you do between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two is bound to shape you, right? But in retrospect I can single out two things that are particularly significant. The first is the benefit of a liberal arts education, which favors insights into all of three of the areas; social sciences, natural sciences and humanities. I believe strongly that whether you pursue a career in business, science or the public sector, a liberal arts perspective will add value. The second is an intuitive understanding that education does not just take place in the lecture hall. In fact, when thinking back, I probably learned as much from my fellow students as from my professors. Needless to say, that is even more true if those school mates happen to show the variety of talent that characterize students at Harvard.
As a member, I hope that you agree that participating in the club’s activities enables that split vision experience between Cambridge and Stockholm. As a prospective member, I hope that you are attracted by the idea of joining a good conversation, that piques your intellectual curiosity and in some modest way extends our mutual education.
The by-laws quite formally describe the purpose of the Club as “strengthening of the bonds between Harvard University and its graduates and alumni, as well as its current and former students, faculty, fellows and researchers, who reside in Sweden or have a Swedish connection”. In the more practical terms that were used above, the Harvard Club of Sweden strives to put more Sweden into Harvard and to put more Harvard into Sweden.
This is more than a play on words. By having instituted the Harvard Club of Sweden Book Prize for talented students attending Swedish secondary school, liaisoning with Swedish schools and by interviewing Harvard College applicants, for example, the Club is literally working to encourage more youths in Sweden to attend Harvard.
In organizing talks by Harvard faculty when visiting Sweden, in cooperating with the Stockholm School of Economics, in arranging events with the American ambassador to Sweden or the American Chamber of Commerce, the Club is, in fact, putting more Harvard into Sweden.
Last, but certainly not least, the Club enjoys hosting the festive Annual Dinner, arranging Global Networking Night, and getting together with other Ivy League alumni in Sweden to watch the Harvard-Yale football game. I will risk extending the metaphor to these social and networking events, which would constitute putting more of yourself into Harvard or, perhaps, putting more of Harvard in yourself. If you, like me, learned a lot from your Harvard class mates, let us admit that there are still things to be learned from other alumni …
I would like to thank long term members and board members alike for taking the initiative to found, grow and develop the Club. The success of it is made even more impressive by the fact that the Harvard Club of Sweden is a non-profit association, and all effort and dedication is offered on a volunteer basis.
If you are reading this and have never attended an event, please don’t hesitate to join us. And if you would like to get involved, please get in touch with me or any other board member.
Hope to see you soon at the coming HCS events,
Mats Segerström, Harvard College ‘80