Scandinavian connection

Jan 14, 2005

Trade and technology collaboration were the focus of a visit to Kettering by Swedish business leaders and educators.

Technology, business opportunities and educational collaborations were the hot topics when representatives from Gothenburg, Sweden, met with Kettering University officials and faculty Jan. 11. The visit was part of a trade cooperation and exchange program agreement between the State of Michigan and the West Coast of Sweden, the official organization for issues relating to trade and industry in that area.

Both West Sweden and Southeast Michigan have strong ties to the auto industry, one being the home of Volvo and Saab, and the other of the Big Three U.S. automakers. The agreement consists of proposals for collaborative efforts between Kettering and the University of Trollhattan/Uddevalla, a 'road to zero fatalities' project in Oakland County that would be mirrored in Sweden and an energy collaboration for new technologies.

Jorgen Linder, mayor of Gothenburg, said visits like this "are important for making industrial and educational contacts." Olof Blomqvist, president emeritus and senior advisor to the President's Office, University of Trollhattan-Uddevalla (HTU), was interested in the structure of Kettering's engineering and cooperative education and distance learning programs, and the possibility of establishing an exchange program for students from both universities.

Gothenburg is the second largest city in Sweden with 850,000 residents, according to Maria Derner, Public Relations manager for Business Region Goteborg (BRG). Centrally located in the Scandinavian region, it was formerly the major ship building center.

Kettering currently has 12 study abroad programs at universities in England at the University of Newcastle, in Germany at the University of Applied Sciences Esslingen, the University of Applied Sciences Konstanz, the University of Applied Sciences Ulm, the University of Applied Sciences in Reutlingen and the University of Applied Sciences Weisbaden and inAustralia at the Swinburne University of Technology. A program will soon be added in Saltillo, Mexico at Monterrey Tech, and negotiations have begun with Tsingua University in Beijing, China.

Written by Dawn Hibbard