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Danida fellows bring important global perspectives to the Danish universities’ summer courses

Danida Fellowship Centre, Summer courses participants 2022. Photo: Sophie Amalie Eiholm Kjær

After a two-year pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Danida fellows attending the Danish universities’ summer schools are finally back. The Danida fellows bring their professional experiences and perspectives into the classroom. 

By Elena Adamo and Vibeke Quaade

Every year, Danida Fellowship Centre invites partners of the Strategic Sector Cooperation to participate in summer courses offered by Danish universities. This year, the summer courses cover the topics of Global Health Challenges, Science Communication in Theory and Practice, One Health, Understanding Sustainability, and Managing and Analyzing Data in Social Science, but unlike Danida Fellowship Centre’s other training programmes, the summer courses are not particularly tailored to the needs of the sector cooperation programmes. They target a wider audience of both Danish and international students in addition to the Danida fellows.

Real-life professional experiences increase the understanding of the global health challenges
The mixed composition of participants makes the summer courses special not only for the enrolled international and Danish students but also for the Danida Fellows. While the Danish and international students are undergraduates still studying, the Danida fellows are professionals working in fields and contexts that are relevant to the summer courses. The fellows can therefore bring their professional background and perspectives into the classroom in ways that the other students cannot.

Bjørg Elvekjær, who is a Senior Advisor at the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Public Health, Global Health Section has been leading the Urbanisation & Health Summer Course in the previous years. She finds that the many different backgrounds and experiences that the various participants bring to the summer courses add value. From the very beginning, she has therefore actively included the global perspectives that the Danida fellows bring into the university’s summer courses.

The Danida fellows bring into the classroom their experiences as professionals who are working close to the subject matter.  Their inputs often have the effect that the other students find it easier to reflect on and understand the global health challenges, says Bjørg Elvekjær.

Because the Danida fellows base their input and participation on real-life experiences and not only on theoretical knowledge and examples, they play an important role in making the class reflections and discussions come alive and vibrant in ways that strengthen and add value to the teaching.

Knowledge exchange and networking across disciplines, geographies and time
Another positive outcome of the mix of backgrounds and experiences of those on the courses is that they offer once-in-a-lifetime experiences and opportunities to make connections that will last into the future.

Summer courses officially last two to three weeks, but in reality, they prepare the ground for the students to create bonds and networks that will last a lifetime, says Lena Skovgaard Andersen, leading Professor of the University of Copenhagen’s Global Health Challenges Summer Course.

Hear what the different summer school participants and the facilitators say

Ms Ilinca Radu, WHO consultant from Romania, International students attending the summer course Global Health Challenges.
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Ms Winfred Hakuyomba, Ms Margaret Sunguti, Mr Lucas Makau, Danida fellows from Kenya participating to the summer course Global Health Challenges.
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Bjørg Elvekjær, Senior Advisor at University of Copenhagen, Department of Public Health, Global Health Section.
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