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Lund University welcomes new chair of the University Board

Jonas Hafström (Photo: Pawel Flato)
Jonas Hafström (Photo: Pawel Flato)

Meet Jonas Hafström, a lawyer with a background in the diplomatic service, including as Swedish ambassador to the USA. For the past year he has led government trade delegations around the world and helped to coach Swedish embassy staff in countries with strong economic growth.

Welcome to Lund University as the new chair of the University Board.

“Thank you.”

You have most recently worked in Stockholm – but you’re a former resident of Lund, aren’t you?

“I moved here at the age of eight, attended Katedralskolan and then moved on to Juridicum. I was active in student union politics and served as student union president and a master of ceremonies in student life. Now my family has settled in Åstorp. My wife comes from north-west Skåne and one of our sons is studying logistics at Campus Helsingborg. Our daughter is studying political science in Lund.”

What lessons will you bring with you to Lund from your international experience?

“That we are living in a global world and that globalisation is here to stay. We have to be part of that – at Lund University, in Sweden and in the EU. The trend now is to negotiate regional trade agreements between Europe and the US and between the US and Asia. These will affect our opportunities for growth.”

Does Sweden stand a chance in global competition?

“Absolutely. Sweden is one of the most innovative countries in the world and in relation to our GDP we invest a lot in education and research.”

How much of a network do you have in the regional business sector?

“I intend to build up a network now by being active and interacting with businesses. I have worked a lot with business issues, in particular promoting exports around the world in fields like telecoms, life science, smart cities and transport.”

Some representatives of the business sector suddenly proposed an alternative candidate for the post of chair, Bert Nordberg. How did that feel?

“The business sector in Skåne shows a strong interest in its university. This interest is good – we must safeguard and develop it.”

 How much will you be around as chair?

“I intend to be present and available and work closely with the board and the university management.”

How do you feel about the new university management?

“I like what I have heard in the vice-chancellor’s inauguration speech and read in interviews and on his blog and online chat. I am also impressed with the deputy vice-chancellor’s role in U21 and involvement in international issues – I hope I will be able to assist with suggestions for visits and activities.”

What do you do when you’re not working?

“I’m an outdoors person. I go jogging and play mediocre tennis.”