Place Branding and Public Diplomacy

, Volume 12, Issue 2–3, pp 124–138 | Cite as

Transition aid and creating economic growth: Academic exchange between Sweden and Eastern Europe through the Swedish Institute 1990–2010

  • Andreas Åkerlund
Original Article


After the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 Sweden set aside large sums for development assistance for the neighboring countries around the Baltic Sea as a part of the general European assistance to Eastern Europe. The Swedish Public Diplomacy institution, the Swedish Institute (SI), was assigned the task to carry out large scholarship programs for the region, larger than the Institute had ever handled before. This turn towards Eastern Europe was the start for a change in the focus of Swedish Public Diplomacy in general which in turn led to a restructuring of the Institute. The article investigates this development on two levels. First of all it traces the different political motives behind the post-1990 exchange programs in order to explain which role academic exchange with Sweden was supposed to play within the Eastern European postcommunist transition. Secondly it investigates what this politically motivated Swedish interest in Eastern Europe has meant for the Swedish Institute as an organization and for contemporary Swedish public diplomacy in general.


Sweden Eastern Europe democratic transition development assistance public diplomacy Baltic Sea 


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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