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June 30th, 2014

The Christian Democrats Day

Christian Democrats belong to the alliance together with three other center-right parties: Moderate Party, Center Party, and Liberal People’s Party. The alliance forms the current Swedish government, but there are talks going on that the government will change after the elections this year. Christian Democrats strive to create a society with freedom and care for the ones in need. The primary focus areas of the party are family and business. They would like to improve the quality of schools, give more freedom to families regarding parental leaves, and raise the level of care for the elderly. Christian Democrats also promote entrepreneurship and decrease certain taxes to encourage creation of private enterprises and employment in general.

Brand Image of a Country   

My favorite seminar of today was arranged by the Swedish Institute and covered the subject of different images that people have about countries. Representatives from Poland, Zambia, Germany and Sweden were sharing their perspective of how their countries are usually viewed and if that matches the reality. Poland is often viewed as a post-Soviet country and is sometimes related to Russia in people’s minds. However, Poland has much more connection to Germany and the EU nowadays, including extensive business cooperation. The situation with Africa is similar. While the majority view it as a place of hunger, poverty and diseases, there are actually 6 out of 10 growing economies, the youngest population in the world, and limitless sunshine that can be used for renewable energy. The negative image of African countries prevents people from seeing opportunities. As for Germany, people often think about beer and Bavaria when they hear the name of the country. However, Germany has a larger number of fashion designers than Italy, for example. The Swedish speaker shared that Sweden has a very content self-image, meaning that people are satisfied with their own system and are not open to adopting anything from other countries, such as community life. Foreigners sometimes find it hard to integrate into Swedish society and don’t feel welcomed in the country because of this lack of community.

This is interesting how country images are formed in people’s minds. As a tourism student, this subject is particularly interesting to me and it is good to hear what people share about the existing images of their own countries. However, I think these images are still affected by both the insiders and outsiders. Sometimes people living in a country don’t notice certain things about themselves, which foreigners can point out to them. Effective communication between different nations contributes to formation of country images closest to the reality.

 

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