Last week, the University of Skövde hosted a visit by the Mexican ambassador Agustín Gasca Pliego. – I am impressed to see that a municipality with 50,000 citizens is able to offer a University of this size and opportunities.
He was appointed as Mexican ambassador to Sweden four and a half years ago. He came from a position as a Vice Chancellor of Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México - a university of more than 60,000 students. His interest in education matters was solidified during that time.
– As a Vice Chancellor. I first visited Sweden in the 1980-s, and at that time the larger universities were more in focus. The smaller ones were either very small or were just being started. I am pleased to see that Sweden today is able to offer opportunities for quality studies and research in smaller cities as well, such as here in Skövde.
Digital technology in focus
The ambassador's day in Skövde started with visits to Skövde municipality and meetings with Conny Brännberg, Skövde City Council, and Katarina Jonsson, Chairperson of the Municipal Executive Board. The day continued with a lunch meeting with Vice Chancellor Lars Niklasson and presentations of some of the current research projects at the University of Skövde. Some projects include Skaraborg's Innovative Environments (SIM2020) and Baltsenior - both are projects that are carried out in close cooperation between the industries and collaborating companies. For these projects, modern, digital technology is at the forefront.
– This is a very good approach. It makes the real life application of research so much more attainable, says Agustín Gasca Pliego.
New ways of thinking
The ambassador's interest in visiting the University of Skövde specifically started this summer, when Lotten Svensson, Senior Lecturer in Business Administration, and Pamela Ruiz Castro, a research assistant and a Mexican herself, shared a piece of news about a project with the Mexican Embassy.
– They quickly showed interest in our project, which was very exciting. We had not anticipated or hoped for that, says Lotten Svensson.
There are currently some Mexican exchange students at the Design Engineering Programme at the University of Skövde. Perhaps we will be able to welcome more Mexican students in the future.
– In a small country like Sweden, it is sometimes easier to be innovative. And innovation is the future. That is why we are very pleased that more students from Mexico chose countries such as Sweden for their studies abroad. This is how we can grow our knowledge as a country, says Agustín Gasca Pliego.