Sweden: The Malmo Summit

Malmo University

JMU’s Jim Heffernan (’96) is in Sweden this week participating in a training session with educators and professionals from all over the world. The symposium is sponsored by the International Network of Universities. As guest blogger this week, Jim gives us a glimpse of the issues and concerns shared by those in higher education all over the world.

The Malmö summit

by Jim Heffernan (’96)

We are all different. We are all the same.

We are communication officers, librarians, career counselors and international study coordinators. We come from the United States, England, Scotland, Finland, Germany, Spain, Lithuania, Japan and the Czech Republic. From institutions both large and small, old and new, traditional and progressive, urban and rural.

Jim Heffernan (r) and colleagues at the Malmo Summit

For the past four days, my colleagues in higher education and I have been meeting in Malmö, Sweden, to share best practices and engage in collaborative learning. It’s an impressive group, and I’ve been encouraged by the depth and breadth of our discussions. For all our cultural differences, we have many common concerns, among them continuing to recruit the best and brightest, working within our budgets, securing available resources, increasing funds for research and avoiding the pitfalls of social media. As support staff, our offices exist where the rubber hits the road on these bumpy issues. Yet we can’t afford to put our foot on the brake. The world is shrinking and the pace of change ever accelerating. We all want our students, and ultimately our institutions, to succeed.

JMU has the privilege of leading the 10-member International Network of Universities — some of whom are represented here this week — for the 2012-15 term. Higher education consortia like the INU have the ability not only to provide unique study-abroad and professional exchange opportunities, but also to foster collaborative research and service projects regarding global issues like the environment, health care and conflict resolution. JMU has much to contribute in these important areas, including exceptional, socially-minded students; professors who are experts in their respective fields of study and passionate about teaching; and, yes, some pretty darned good staff members, too. But JMU can’t do it alone. We need our international partners to help make the world a better place for our children and grandchildren – in essence to “Be the Change” we at Madison talk so much about.

As the end of our time together in Malmö draws to a close, and we return home to our families and coworkers, let us keep in mind that learning and change also happens outside our hallowed halls. We are all different. We are all the same.

You can learn more about INU and see more pictures from the Malmo Summit visiting the group’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/INUnetwork 


About James Madison University
This blog is about the people of James Madison University — a caring, committed and engaged community spread all over the world, making lives better and brighter, healthier and safer, kinder and bolder. As Gandhi suggested, we are taking steps to BE the CHANGE we wish to see in the world. And these are our stories....

4 Responses to Sweden: The Malmo Summit

  1. Anonymous says:

    Just to inform you: Nyhavn is in Denmark.So the first photo you show is NOT from Malmö…not even from Sweden.You were in Copenhagen.Are you American, by any chance?


  2. Pingback: The Golden Blogs: 2012 in review « James Madison University's Be the Change

  3. Anna Singhateh says:

    Thanks Jim, I’m so happy that you found the week with us worthwhile and stimulating. You are quite right that we are all the same, but somewhat different and we could learn from and support each other more than we do today. I hope we stay in touch!


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