Cecilia Malmström
Cecilia Malmström has been holder of the Assar Gabrielsson Visiting Professorship for the period 2020-2021.
Photo: Erika Holm

Hello there, Cecilia Malmström!


On 1 January 2020, you took over the role as holder of Assar Gabrielsson Visiting Professorship. At the turn of the year, the assignment expires. How has it been?

It has been great fun! However, the pandemic struck and just like everyone else, we had to adapt very quickly. In principle, all lectures and contacts with students and colleagues turned digital, and it is not the same thing at all. I love teaching and having a dialogue with the students. It is not the same thing when meeting on screens.  There were also many plans for seminars and other activities that had to be cancelled.

What have you been doing during these two years?

I have made many guest appearances on courses at the School of Business, Economics and Law and the European Studies Programme. I believe that through all my practical experience, I have been able to contribute something that has added another dimension to the students. It has been fun to give back.

My assignment has not just been about teaching. I have also attended seminars, discussed with researchers and contributed ideas. I have written the preface to a report and participated in the Centre for European Research's (CERGU) network and its regular breakfast meetings, which of course were digital.

You have an international career, in positions where you have had the opportunity to make a difference. What tips do you have for students who want to go out into the world and make an impact?

I have had some seminars on this, where I have been invited by different student groups. What I want to forward to the students is the value of knowing several languages, getting a good education, cultivating their contacts and take chances that arise. This could be, for example, going on an exchange semester or daring to apply for an internship. I have had interns myself and they contribute a lot, and we could also see that things are going very well for them afterwards. They get a network, contacts and a valuable merit to have on their CV.

What are you looking forward to now?

Since last summer, I have been a Senior Fellow at the American think tank The Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), which studies various aspects of global economics and trade. I contribute through seminars and podcasts, and have done some writing. It is an exciting mission with a focus on economics, politics and transatlantic relations. I hope to go there, to Washington D.C., in early 2022.

What do you bring with you from your time at the School?

That the University of Gothenburg has become so incredibly international! Most of my teaching has been in English. It is good for the students. It provides new perspectives, not only through the language itself, but also through sharing experiences and perspectives that students from different parts of the world carry with them. It has been interesting for me to have that dialogue too.

I will miss the students at the School. Listening to their thoughts and input gives me a lot. The students also give hope - they are optimistic and have many ideas about what they want to change, and view the world through optimistic eyes. I have also met many fantastic teachers and colleagues who I hope I can continue to keep in touch with.


TEXT: Maria Norrström

About Cecilia Malmström

Cecilia Malmström grew up in Gothenburg. She holds a PhD in political science from the University of Gothenburg, and for several years she taught in European politics, regionalism and terrorism. She has a long experience of cooperation within the EU, as a Member of the European Parliament in 1999-2006, and as European Commissioner since 2010. During the years 2006-2010 she served as Minister for EU Affairs in the Swedish government. In 2019, Cecilia Malmström was appointed International Swede of the Year. In 2020 to 2021 holder of the Assar Gabrielsson Visiting Professorship.

About the Assar Gabrielsson Visiting Professorship
The Assar Gabrielsson Visiting Professorship in applied corporate management was initiated in 1999 in memory of Assar Gabrielsson (co-founder of Volvo) and is funded through a gift from the foundation Stiftelsen Göteborgs Handelshögskolefond. The purpose of the professorship is to provide students with wider knowledge regarding application of the theories in economics and leadership that they encounter in their studies. The assignment comprises 20 percent, usually for 1-2 years.