Challenge Your Perspectives is a Swedish scholarship competition open to US university graduates and young professionals. In cooperation with the Swedish Institute, three Swedish universities – Stockholm University, Lund University and Uppsala University – offer full scholarships for three popular English-taught Master’s programmes.

Winner and runners-up

Ognjen Zugic from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, Minneapolis beat hundreds of US graduates to the scholarship for Stockholm University’s International Master's Programme in Political Science.

Two other students – Ceyda Erten from Georgetown University, Washington DC and Joanna X. Lim from the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington State – were shortlisted for the award.

Finalisterna Joanna Lim, Ognjen Zugic, och Ceyda Erten
Finalists Joanna Lim, Ognjen Zugic, and Ceyda Erten together with representatives from Stockholm University.

Difficult to choose winner

“It was no easy task to choose the winner. All three finalists for the scholarship showed an impressive knowledge, experience and interest in their specific areas,” says Merrick Tabor at the Department of Political Science at Stockholm University. “The decision is based on the students' academic records, essays, and personal interviews and we are extremely pleased that these three students became our finalists.”

Interest in public policy, social welfare and labor market policies

Ognjen Zugic studies economics and political science, and identifies “public policy, social welfare and labor market policies” as his main interests.

“I'm very honoured to be chosen for this programme, especially among such talented cohort of students. The competition process was excellently executed and I'm very excited to begin my studies at Stockholm University. It's especially exciting that the universities have offered us the opportunity to attend the 2012 Nobel Symposium,” says Ognjen Zugic.

Award ceremony at the House of Sweden in Washington

During the ceremony at the House of Sweden in Washington, Swedish Ambassador to the US, Jonas Håfström, gave a speech and the students were introduced to Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. Bildt talked about the cooperation between Sweden and the United States, the Nobel Prize and Sweden’s tradition in research and development. The awards were announced in the presence of representatives from the three Swedish universities and Swedish and American organisations and companies. Ambassador Adam Ereli at the US Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs gave an inspirational speech about the importance of American students studying abroad, not least in Sweden.

Prisceremoni för The Swedish Scholarship Awards tillsammans med utrikesminister Carl Bildt
Award ceremony for the Swedish Scholarship Awards with Foreign Minister Carl Bildt.

Attending the Nobel Symposium

All finalists were also invited to attend the Swedish Embassy's Nobel Symposium with the 2012 US Nobel laureates. Interesting talks were given during the seminar, and after meeting with US President Barack Obama, the Nobel laureates will be on their way to Stockholm for the Nobel Prize award ceremony.

Text: Yvonne E Lilliedahl, Communications Office