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  • Writer's pictureMegan Penhoet

NSLI Founder Megan Penhoet named Global Swede 2021

As Founder of Nordic Scholars Leadership Institute, I have researched the impact of cultural immersion in post-secondary education, sought collaborations with Nordic stakeholders and developed a curriculum aimed at teaching tomorrow's leaders in best practices for successful, sustainable leadership. To further my own on-going education in the leadership field, I studied at Malmö University this past academic year in their Master's Programme in Leadership for Sustainability. Here, I made connections with local thought leaders and fellow international leadership students, growing NSLI's network and pursuing academic research in the field of leadership for sustainability. I had the privilege of being a student board leader alongside talented colleagues, and participated in the program's six year review process- giving me valuable insights into the development and impact of a graduate level leadership education program.

All of these experiences at Malmö, along with my scholarship as a researcher and student of leadership studies, developed my theories of change, increased my awareness of what students of leadership want out of a leadership program, and generated new ideas for achieving impact through leadership education. The year spent studying and observing, leading and researching was already an incredibly satisfying intellectual and professional journey. Collaborating with other international scholars, building friendships and professional connections while having the chance to participate as a student leader in a Swedish university was heaven for an education entrepreneur. So it was indeed "icing on the cake" when I was honored by the university to be its sole "Global Swede Award" recipient for 2021.

I was nominated by my department and named by the university as a scholar whose work to forge connections between Sweden and the U.S. advanced intellectual collaborations. The Swedish Institute and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs honored twenty nominees from Swedish universities. I was in incredible company in receiving this award. One only has to take a look at the other recipients to know that international students in Sweden have a strong impact on advancing Sweden globally. We are a group of dedicated entrepreneurs and scholars who believe the world has much to gain from collaborating with, learning from and spending time in Sweden.

As NSLI looks to launch a pilot program in Sweden, we are mindful of the dynamism, resources and innovation culture Sweden offers visiting scholars such as those we envision for our program. The Global Swede 2021 award is evidence that Sweden is listening, ready to work alongside the curious, the creative and the innovative international student body it welcomes to its universities. The Covid-19 pandemic may have thrown international travel and education a curve ball, but the need for and excitement around international students collaborating in Sweden remains. Stay tuned for NSLI's next steps as the world re-opens and scholars begin to travel to new milieus in which to learn new perspectives and skills.

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