SSE alumni celebrate 50 year anniverary of their study tour to the Soviet Union
In 1969, 20 students and former students of the SSE went on a study tour to the USSR to study the effects of recently implemented economic reforms and this year, 16 of the former students met on September 28th to celebrate their 50th anniversary of the study tour.
In 1969, 20 students and former students of the SSE went on a study tour to the USSR after having prepared themselves by arranging a number of seminars on different aspects of the political and economic developments of the USSR. The purpose of the seminars and the study tour was also to study the effects of recently implemented economic reforms and to provide the participants with insights into the living conditions of the soviet citizens in different walks of life and different regions. The group travelled to Leningrad, Moscow, Tashkent, Kiev and Tallinn. During their three week long tour they met i.e. with respresentatives of planning commissions, scientific institutions, important banks, kolkhozes and different industrial establishments. Also, with civil society organisations and the communist youth organisation Komsomol. A report based on notes taken from all the study visits during the tour was published after the completion of the tour. The financing of this tour was largely made possible through the establishment of the Director Sven Bengtsson’s fund for student echange between Sweden and the Soviet Union in the autumn of 1968.
16 of the former students met on 28 September to celebrate their 50’s anniversary of the study tour. During a fullday seminar, three speakers helped the students update their knowledge about the situation in Russia and the other former Soviet Republics. Dr Anders Liljenberg, Associate Professor SSE, former head of the SSE subsidiary in St Petersburg and Moscow over 12 years spoke about « Academic spirit in a Russian context ». Mr. Karlis Neretnieks, Major General, former head of the Swedish Defence University and member of the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences. His topic was « Russia and the security in the Baltic Sea region ». Finally, Mr. Heinz Sjögren, CEO & President of the Chamber of commerce for Russia & CIS spoke on « Swedish entrepreneurial activities in Russia, Ukraine and the rest of the CIS ». The former students finished their celebration with a dinner at a Russian restaurant.
Did they draw any conclusions? They took note of the enormous economic and political changes that have taken place. A lot of progress has been made but political difficulties have also occured negatively affecting the security situation in the region. While certain ties seems to have grown, there appear to be a need for further efforts in order to better understand our cultural differences. Also, they found it very pleasant and useful to get together and looked forward to another reunion in five years.