International Week

15–17 May 2024 | Västerås, Sweden

International Week aspires to be a platform for open and interesting dialogue on international collaboration for everyone interested in building a better world. The problems facing society are complex and we cannot manage them alone, we need to meet, discuss and address the challenges together.

International Week is being hosted in response to a divided world and the commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. Recent evolution in different parts of the world shows that a lack of people-centred development is conducive to instability, conflicts, and democratic backsliding. We want to explore how research, innovation and technology can provide solutions.

The conference builds upon MDU's collaborative and progressive approach, drawing inspiration from a longstanding tradition of partnership between universities in Rwanda, Sweden, and across the globe. We believe that to solve the issues facing us globally we must bring people together. We wish to foster global and shared learning and responsibility – for a sustainable future.

During International Week 2024, we will bring together leaders from academia, politics, business, and civil society, to ask ourselves:

  • How do we collaborate internationally for a sustainable future?
  • What is the role of academia and research in this mission?

During the conference, we aim to:

  • Explore innovative research on AI and embedded systems and discuss the ethics of AI.
  • Discover the societal impact of technology.
  • Debate the responsibility of academia in our societies.
  • Address reconciliation in a divided world.
  • Reveal how to maximise the impact of research and science.
  • Identify current and future international partnerships.
  • Learn from ongoing business and research projects in Rwanda.
  • Create new partnerships and share ideas.


Anyone in academia, politics, business, and civil society who believes in international collaboration to build a better world.


Wednesday 15 to Friday 17 May 2024.


Västerås External link. is the sixth largest city in Sweden about 100 km from Stockholm (an hour by train). It is located on Lake Mälaren to the west of Stockholm.

Location: Mälardalen University, Västerås campus.
Address: Universitetsplan 1, 722 20 Västerås, Sweden.


The conference is free of charge for all participants (except the attending the Banquet). All panel discussions and workshops are free of charge. Registration is required.

Register today!

Last day to register is 30 April 2024. Please note that the conference will be held entirely in English.

Some of our speakers

Our speakers will be updated regularly.

Martin Hellström

Vice-Chancellor at Mälardalen University

Martin Hellström has a Bachelor’s Degree from the Ruhr University Bochum (Ruhr-Universität Bochum). In 2011 he was appointed Professor of German with a specialisation in general literary studies at the University of Gothenburg. He has been Pro-Vice-Chancellor at the University of Borås and Vice-Chancellor at University West. Martin is Vice-Chancellor at Mälardalen University since 2022.

Diane Gashumba

Rwandan Ambassador to the Nordic Countries

Dr. Diane Gashumba is the Rwandan ambassador to the Nordic countries, residing in Stockholm, Sweden. She has served as the Minister of Health and as Minister of Gender and Family Promotion for Rwanda. She is a seasoned global health leader and gender advocate. She is a former Board Member of Roll Back Malaria and Global Health Corps, former Co-Chair of the WHO Digital Health Advisory Group as well as the former President of the National Women Council.

Alphonse Muleefu

Acting Principal, University of Rwanda and Doctor of International Law

Alphonse Muleefu is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Law, and Acting Principal of the College of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Rwanda. He is a member of the Rwanda Bar Association, a Board Member of the Rwanda Initiative for Sustainable Development and Lead 4 Tomorrow Rwanda. Previously, Dr Muleefu worked with Gacaca Courts, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and the International Criminal Court. Dr Muleefu has specialised in International Criminal Law, International Criminal Investigations, Human Rights Law, Laws of War and Transitional Justice.

Johanna Teague

Swedish Ambassador to Rwanda

Johanna Teague is the Swedish Ambassador to Rwanda. She is dedicated to the quality and effectiveness of development cooperation, previously working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and at the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). She has worked with the UN’s Population Fund, UNFPA, in Bolivia. Learning and innovation, change management and collective intelligence are topics that have been central to Johanna's work.

Mbaranga Gasarabwe Clotilde

UN Top Diplomat and Deputy Special Representative for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali

Uday Salunkhe

Prof. Dr. and Group Director of S.P. Mandali’s Prin. L.N. Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research in India.

He is also currently serving as Chairman of the Education Committee of the Council of European Union Chambers of Commerce in India. Dr. Salunkhe, having previously received the Eisenhower Fellowship and served on several boards and committees as President of Association of Indian Management Schools (AIMS), has extensive experience with international cooperation within the university sector.

Stefan Löfven

Chair of the SIPRI Governing Board

Stefan Löfven has been Chair of the SIPRI Governing Board since June 2022. Löfven was the Prime Minister of Sweden from October 2014 to November 2021 and leader of the Social Democratic Party from 2012 to 2021. His background includes extensive experience from various domestic and international assignments. In 2022, he was appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General to co-lead a High-level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism. He was previously the International Secretary of the Swedish trade union IF Metall and, subsequently, its Chair.

Mikael Mogren

Bishop of the Västerås Diocese and Professor of Philosophy

Mikael Mogren is the Bishop of Västerås Diocese. He was ordained in 1996 in the Diocese of Strängnäs. He has a solid academic background with theological studies from Uppsala University, Tübingen University and Harvard. He received his PhD in Philosophy from Uppsala University in 2004 and has taught at both Uppsala University and the Protestant Faculty in Paris.

Anders Wijkman

Honorary President, Club of Rome

Anders Wijkman is a Swedish opinion leader and author. He is Honorary President of the global think tank Club of Rome. He is the chairman of the Governing Board of Climate-KIC and a member of the International Resource Panel (IRP) – a UN appointed expert body ”to build and share the knowledge needed to improve the use of our resources worldwide”. He is also a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Jacob Färnert

President Swedish National Union of Students

Jacob Färnert is the President of the Swedish National Union of Students, which represents student unions in Sweden. He has a background in Political Science and is an advocate for student influence in higher education.

Francis Perron

Associate professor at the Université de Montréal Faculty of Music

Francis Perron’s wide experience as chamber musician, accompanist and vocal coach have made him a much sought-after collaborator.
He is currently an associate professor at the Université de Montréal Faculty of Music, responsible for the piano accompaniment program in addition to being the vice-dean for international relations and guest teacher at the Academy of Chamber Music and Chamber Opera at Mälardalen University in Västerås.

The programme

The programme includes three days of interesting discussions, workshops, networking possibilities and musical performances. Wednesday’s welcome banquet is optional. Coffee and lunch will be served to conference participants during Wednesday and Thursday.

09:00 Registration

09:30 Welcome: "Academia Amidst Democratic Backslide and Division"
– Martin Hellström, Vice Chancellor Mälardalen University

09:50 Key note: "Reinforcing Global Commitment to the SDG and Peace Building in Times of Instability"
– Mbaranga Gasarabwe Clotilde, Fmr Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nation (DSS), United Nations

10:05 Key note: "Global Cooperation Redefined: Navigating Risks in a New World Order"
– Stefan Löfven, Fmr Prime Minister of Sweden

10:20 Break

10:55 Key note: "What Can We Learn from Rwanda: A Blueprint for Reconciliation and Progress"
– Alphonse Muleefu, Acting Principal of the College of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Rwanda

11:05 Key note: "Educating for Global Citizenship"
– Prof. Dr. Uday Salunkhe, Vice Chancellor, We School India

11:25 Panel discussion: "What is the Role of Academia for Democracy and Sustainability in Challenging Times?"
– All key note speakers and Lova Libert, President, Mälardalen Student Union

12:15 Lunch

13:30 Panel discussion: "Ensuring Sustainable Development for All"
– Anders Wijkman, Board member the UN International Resource Panel (IRP) and Honorary President Club of Rome
– Johanna Teauge, Swedish Ambassador to Rwanda, Embassy of Sweden
– Maira Barbi, Associate Senior Lecturer, Mälardalen University

14:30 Break

15:00 Panel discussion: "In Upholding Democracy, What Role Do Students Play as Tomorrow's Leaders?"
– Jacob Färnert, President, Swedish National Union of Students
– Lova Libert, President, Mälardalen's Student Union
Shervin Pirani, Vice President, Mälardalen's Student Union
Njodzeka Ulrich Ndzerem, President, Carnegie Mellon University Student Guild
– Muhmmad Aliyu, Head of Entrepreneurship Club, Carnegie Mellon University

15:45 Panel discussion: "Going Forward - Contributing to a Sustainable Future Together"
– Diane Gashumba, Rwandan Amabassador to Embassy of Rwanda
– Paul Pettersson, Mälardalen University
– Freddy Mutanguha, CEO, Aegis Trust and Director of the Kigali Genocide Memorial


18:30 Banquet: Conference Banquet at Västerås Castle

18:30 Student pub: Student Pub and Quiz Night hosted by Mälardalen Student Union and International Committee.
Locaiton: Union House, G6.

08:00 Registration

08:45 Lecture: "30 years of development in Rwanda"
– Freddy Mutanguha, CEO, Aegis Trust and Director of the Kigali Genocide Memorial

09:35 Break

10:05 Key note:
– Lars Arrhenius, The Equality Ombudsman

10:20 Panel discussion: "How Do We Create a Society That Promotes Diversity and Inclusion?"
– Dr. Alice Urusaro Karekezi, Professor and Co-founded Center for Conflict Management the University of Rwanda
– Annika Wäppling Korzinek, Head of European Commission Representation in Sweden
– Francis Perron, Associate Professor, the Université de Montréal Faculty of Music
– Moderator: Cecilia Lindh, Senior Lecturer Mälardalen University

11:30 Lunch concert
– Francis Perron, Associate Professor, the Université de Montréal Faculty of Music

12:00 Lunch

13:00 Panel discussion: "Energy Solutions in a Global Perspective - How Do We Ensure Access to Green Energy Everywhere?"
– Jinyue Yan, Professor, Mälardalen University
– Anders Wijkman, Board member the UN International Resource Panel (IRP) and Honorary President Club of Rome
– Ines Romero, Head of Operations Europe, Hitachi Energy
– Moderator: Mikael Hjort, Process Manager, Mälardalen University

14:00 Panel discussion: ”AI for a Sustainable Future”
– Alessandro Papadopoulous, Professor, Mälardalen University
– Shiva Sander Tavallaey, Senior Principal Scientist, ABB
– Masoud Daneshtalab, Professor, Mälardalen University
– Moa BursellAssociate, Professor, Mälardalen University
– Moderator:
Damir Isovic, Dean of School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Mälardalen University

15:00 Break

15:30 Panel discussion: ”Health and Welfare Technology Providing Access to Care and Health Promotion Globally”
– Uday Salunke, Group Director, We School
– David Kamanda, Managing Director, IRCAD
– Prosper Uruvugundi, Local Manager Zipline
– Maria Lindén, Professor Mälardalen University
– Moderator: Christer Nygren, Head of internationalization, Mälardalen University

16:30 Closing remarks
– Martin Hellström, Vice Chancellor Mälardalen University

09:30–11:00 Historic tour: Tour of Västerås Cathedral and Västerås City.
Starting point: Västerås Cathedral

Mälardalen Student Union is our partner.

Additional agenda items will be presented continuously.
Last day to register is 30 April 2024.

For more information please contact: