CIEE was honored to host Greenlandic Foreign Minister Ane Lone Bagger and a Greenlandic government delegation at CIEE yesterday. Minister Bagger, who is Greenland's Minister of Education, Culture, Church, and Foreign Affairs, has an eclectic background. She's been an aircraft mechanic, a flight attendant, an air traffic controller, and an insurance salesman. She spoke to a group from Maine universities and research institutions on the topic "Objectives for Higher Education in Greenland."
Minister Bagger outlined the history of higher education in her country and the emphasis that Greenland places on supporting education. In Greenland, not only is college free, but students are given a stipend to cover living expenses.
She also spoke about her country's long tradition of cross-border mobility in education. Before 1979, students from Greenland had to go to Denmark to study. Today, students can study at the University of Greenland, but there is a mandatory study abroad at the master level. She explained that intercultural experiences are important for helping her country's future leaders acquire new skills, and are invaluable in humanizing international relations.
"[Greenland is] working to become independent in the future. Our youngsters go off to other countries, then come back with new knowledge," Minister Bagger said. "I have a daughter who went on an exchange program in Kansas for High School. It's important our collaborations with other countries start with young people, who eventually will be the decision makers...If [young people] have experience relating to one another, they will be able understand each other."
"It was tremendous to meet with the Greenlandic delegation and learn more about Greenland's vision for the future," said Phil Simon, VP of Professional Exchange Programs. "CIEE staff recently traveled to Greenland to highlight U.S. exchange programs and we hope to have Greenlandic Exchange Visitors on CIEE programs in the future."