Being president in UPF is one of the best things I have ever done. I get to be a part of almost everything that happens in UPF, meet lots of interesting people and develop so many sides of myself. My work involves everything from washing forgotten coffee mugs at the office to attending mingles with the foreign minister. Although probably with some emphasis on that first part. Since a lot of members seem curious on what I actually do, two weeks ago I decided to write a UPF-diary. And here it is!
Whenever I get the chance I choose to sleep, and so I did this morning. When I finally left my apartment I headed to my second home, the AF building. During the past week Sofia (UPFs lovley vice president) and I have had ”individual talks” with all board members. We sit down with each board member to talk about how they are, how the UPF work is going and how we can help them in fulfilling their visions within UPF. Since I love talking to people these meeting has been the highlight of the semester. Today we had one of those meetings with Klara who is Head of Webzine.
At lunch Sofia and I met up with Michal (the other Head of Webzine). Together we sorted out some of the last details for a workshop that we have been planning for the board. A workshop on leadership meant to help the board members to develop their leadership skills so that the committees can flourish even more!
After spending the morning studying statistics I once again met up with Sofia to have another individual talk. This time with Hanna who is head of PR. Later on I met up with our brilliant treasurer Johanne to go through the budget and make sure that we have spent all the grants that we received in accordance with their restrictions. Believe it or not but the hardest thing here is to spend all money in time!
The day ended with a cosy Christmas Mingle that our activity committee arranged. Here we made Christmas cards, drank some glögg and ate gingerbread. Since I do not have a committee, except the board of course, I love these kind of social events where I get to talk to our members. For example I talked to a guy who has been a member of UPF since 2001 and he told me lots about his impression of the association ”back in the days”.
Today I took the train to Stockholm since I got invited by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Folke Bernadotte Academy to a high level meeting called Leadership for Inclusive Peace. I went there together with Rosaline (who is the president of UFS) and together we were probably the youngest ones at the whole event. As president you are responsible for representing UPF on these kind of fancy events. It is always a pleasure to tell people what we do, exchange experiences and tell the right people why they should keep giving us grants. Another event like this one is when Johanne and I went to the Royal Castle in Stockholm on a mingle about youth leadership in an international context. Those kind of things that I would never get the chance to attend if I wasn’t a part of UPF.
Rosaline and I at the High Level forum Leadership for Inclusive Peace
Like everyday this one started with a few emails in my inbox. Mostly they are from people in the board or members in a committee that wants to ask or discuss something. Sometimes there are people or organizations wanting to cooperate with us and then Albin from UFS tends to email a lot.
At 5 o’clock it was time for a board meeting. We have them approximately every third week and talk about issues that concern the whole association. As president I prepare the meetings by planning the meeting agenda and encourage board members to write motions. And then I get to lead the board meetings which means I get to sit with a gavel and say who gets to speak when and ask the board to vote when needed. My title in Swedish would be “ordförande” which (kind of) translate to “the one that directs the words”. So basically this is my core task in UPF. This board meeting was a bit special because we started it with a lecture on Leadership with the inspiring Mimmi Garpebring who has a lot of experience when it comes to leadership in non-profit associations.
This day actually didn’t have anything to do with UPF. I work part time as a sustainability coach for a local bank office in Skåne, so I spent the day there. Then I went to a party with a few friends. Wonder if it is a coincidence that most of them are UPF members?
Finally it was time for the workshop that Michal, Sofia and I have been planning for months. During three hours the board members got to discuss leadership, inclusiveness and exchange experiences and knowledge on committee work with each other.
Then i went straight home to recharge the batteries before heading to the last UPF sittning of the year, the Nobel Sittning. I did plan to attend a pre party but instead I fell asleep only to wake up to two of my best friends knocking on my door almost ready to leave. Unfortunately it was the last sitting for our two wonderful heads of activity, Jessica and Johanna. This since they are going on exchange during the next semester. Luckily they are going to be replaced by equally great Severine and Marcus!
After this intense week I decided to have a calm Sunday, some friends came by during the afternoon and then I I went to Hanna’s place where the board met up. We played some games and drank glögg, something we have done each Sunday for the past three weeks. I love Christmas, so I couldn’t be more happy about the way this week ended.
One of the Glögg-Sundays
By Kajsa Fernström Nåtby