David Samuelsson - MPA '14
We are proud to introduce you to one of the Club's current members who is also a recent alumn:
(in his own words but answering the Club's questions)
Who am I?
My name is David Samuelsson. My year at Harvard studying a Masters of Public Administration at Harvard Kennedy School came after twenty years working in politics, organizations and within local and national government. When I was studying for my first degree, a Masters in Computer Science at Uppsala University, I became deeply involved in student politics, in the local student union as well as with the Social Democratic Students. One thing led to another and I served as vice president for the National Union of Students, SFS. Later I also became President of the Social Democratic Students. After these experiences I only returned to the computer sector for a brief stint. Instead I chose to work as political secretary, political adviser and Director of Planning in the City Hall of Stockholm and at the Ministry of Education and Culture. I later led the work on communications within the labor union Kommunal. For the last three years I have been working with the consultancy JKL in the field of strategic communications and public affairs.
When at SFS, I met my wife and we have since lived in Stockholm with our four sons.
What was my most memorable Harvard experience?
My studies at the Harvard Kennedy School were the first time I have actually studied the fields I work in with subjects such as economics and political science. For me this kind of graduate education was perfect since it was not the kind of theoretical graduate courses that dominate Swedish masters programs. I very much enjoyed the mix of teachers with strong academic credentials and others with extensive personal experiences from government or other parts of society. In Sweden I see a much stronger division between academia and profession. I cannot think of an example of someone in Sweden who has, like my professor Larry Summers, combined a distinguished academic career with serving at the highest levels of government.
I also very fondly remember all the extracurricular experiences that gave me opportunities such as participating in study groups for Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Islam and government, former PM Kevin Rudd on political values or meeting personalities very different from me, such as Mike Huckabee or Rand Paul.
I have been living and working in Sweden throughout my career and with that background I very much enjoyed studying and getting to know people from many of the 90 countries that were represented at the Kennedy School.
How can Harvard make a difference in Sweden?
Receiving the kind of education that Harvard provides obviously prepares you well for working and participating in the Swedish society. I would hope that it could be possible for Swedish universities to learn from the best of graduate schools such as Harvard Kennedy School. I think many students in Sweden would benefit from enjoying the same advanced professional training that we got at the Kennedy School.