Research and education exchange between the two countries offer a great potential, and both countries have a strong interest in increasing their joint activities. Sweden and Chile have, historically, strong social bonds due to the Chilean migration to Sweden since the 70’s. Sweden has one of the largest populations of Chileans living abroad (after much larger countries such as US, Canada and Australia) with a prominent participation in cultural, political and societal life. Expanding and strengthening Swedish academic collaborations with Chile would pave the way for establishing a platform that will benefit Swedish and Chilean researchers in an increasingly globalized world.
Nowadays both countries have a good knowledge of each other and it exists a broad collaboration interest within education, business, politics and cultural spheres. Both Chile and Sweden are in many aspects facing similar challenges. All below-mentioned thematic fields are areas where Chile and Sweden can develop new approaches and understandings to be able to strengthen the capacity to face present and future challenges. This initiative aims to create a platform where researchers from both countries can learn from each other, discuss different approaches and initiate new disciplinary and interdisciplinary research projects.
According to the 2016 Swedish Government foreign affairs declaration, Chile is one of the key countries in Latin America for further collaboration. The mutual interest for bilateral collaboration was clearly stated during the Chilean state visit in Sweden, May 2016. Many of the below-mentioned areas were discussed as common grounds for further collaboration between Chile and Sweden. In the joint declaration made during the state visit President Michelle Bachelet and Prime Minister Stefan Löfven mentioned this project as an example for the importance of strengthening bilateral cooperation in the field of research and higher education.
The Chilean Government, when realizing the importance of strategic internationalization, recently implemented a comprehensive programme aimed at internationalizing Chilean Universities – the so-called “Fondo de Internacionalización de Universidades” – investing the equivalency of more than 5,3 million EUR over a three-year period. As the top Chilean Universities are now mobilizing through a comprehensive and strategic internationalization, it is a unique timing for Swedish Universities to reinforce their connections with Chilean Universities through joint activities in both research and education.
The experience from previous similar projects shows that Universities working together generates more success and has a greater impact than working individually. The Chilean Universities also recognize the potential in joining forces. In addition to the already identified partners in this project, the aim is to invite other Universities in Sweden and Chile to participate in a select number of activities. We foresee that our joint Chilean-Swedish initiative will lead to strong international and national collaborations within and between Chile and Sweden. We expect that this comprehensive project will lay the foundation for a future long-term binational academic cooperation that extends beyond the proposed timeframe of the project.
As a result of the visit of the Rector of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC-Chile), Professor Ignacio Sánchez, at Lund University (LU) in September 2015, both Universities took the challenge to create a bilateral approach at national level, furthermore inviting Universidad de Chile (UCHILE) and Uppsala University (UU) to take part of this project, expanding this initiative and aiming to formalize the Chile-Sweden Forum (Symposia) to be held 2017-2019. This project was furthermore expressed by President Michelle Bachelet and Prime Minister Stefan Löfven in the Joint statement on the occasion of the Chilean State Visit to Sweden in May 2016. In June 2016 the Vice-president for Research and Development, Professor Flavio Salazar, visited four Swedish Universities (Uppsala, Lund, Stockholm, SLU), the research institute Karolinska, and the Swedish Research Council. PUC-Chile is largely involved with Lund University through the Universitas 21 network.