Anna Sandell and Salam Zandi, SSE

New team takes CIVICA to the next level at SSE


Salam Zandi now takes on further responsibility for CIVICA at SSE, leading the team with Anna Sandell and Professor Laurence Romani. The trio is now taking CIVICA to the next level at SSE.

In the first pilot years, CIVICA has launched several ongoing projects with SSE leading the work programme dedicated to undergraduate students. Bocconi University, Sciences Po, SSE and LSE are ambitious and highly committed to offering opportunities for CIVICA undergraduate students in social sciences. The major aim is to equip European students with tools to tackle social and civic challenges that Europe faces.

“We complement each other very well in this new team”, says Anna Sandell. “We have Laurence’s academic skills, Salam’s experience with internationalisation and me who has many years of experience working with exchange, international double degrees and fellowships. Salam works very strategically, more towards agreements and I make sure that all the projects are on track”, she says.

“It was important for me to have Anna in the team since we need her proactivity and for her to pick up the parts that might fall in between. She has a clear view of the activities which makes the work easier for me and Laurence”, Salam adds.

The team also has a great support with Kazune Funato Hallgren, who previously worked with the CEMS programme, and is now responsible for student contact within the alliance. She is also going to be involved and help building the CIVICA workplan together with Anna, making sure that routines, documents, and onboarding of partners is in place. Another lifeline from the very start has been Hilda Hardell, who has been a student representative, but has contributed with much more than that. She has been involved in many projects and forwarded the inputs from students. This autumn, she will hand over her tasks to Lovisa Bergdahl.

The importance of social awareness

Anna and Salam both agree on the importance of students’ social awareness as key factor to actively work to find solutions for our globalised challenges. The students will be aware of the effects of economics and business on our current social challenges.

“It is very important to emphasise that the purpose of CIVICA is to highlight the civic commitment of the students. The students should be aware of social challenges, locally and globally, and be able to inject social sciences theories into business when they leave the university”, says Salam.

“All motivated students are welcome to become part of CIVICA, as long as they want to engage in social challenges in the society”, says Anna. “The biggest challenge for us at this point is to reach out to the students, to make sure that they know that CIVICA exists. They need to be informed about the benefits and what’s in it for them. We have great ambassadors, but due to the pandemic they haven’t had the chance to be visible at campus. We hope that it can change now, so people can start talking more about CIVICA on site. Students have also been reluctant to go on exchange during the pandemic for obvious reasons, but twice as many from the second cohort went compared to the first one. And we want to increase more”, says Anna.

“The great thing about CIVICA is that the whole school stands behind it and sees its importance and its benefits. The faculty members and colleagues Anna and I meet, who are working on other CIVICA dimensions, are very enthusiastic and understand the mission. They want to make the collaboration as great as possible and that spirit is much appreciated”, says Salam.


Written by Astrid Lindholm (SSE)