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SDU Just Society Program

SDU aims to strengthen social institutions abroad

Through a new strategic venture, SDU aims to help build and strengthen stable and legitimate institutions in countries facing challenges in these matters.

By Marlene Jørgensen, , 12/20/2019

With its strong and just institutions, welfare policy and high level of trust, the Scandinavian model has been creating an international stir for quite some time.

SDU is now launching an initiative where researchers from the Department of Political Science and Public Management and the Department of Law are collaborating, to disseminate knowledge about issues of law and administration and welfare around the world. It is based on an ambition to contribute to the development of strong and sustainable social institutions that fall under Sustainable Development Goal 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions.

- Many countries look to Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia when it comes to welfare policy and public administration. We can therefore make a difference in areas like these by sharing knowledge and ‘best practices’ with countries that are working to create more sustainable societies, Marianne S. Ulriksen says.

Task force on the move

She is Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science and Public Management and in charge of the project “SDU Just Society Program”, which is one of four new strategic focus areas at SDU.

The idea is to set up a combined research and teaching programme, in which a task force of researchers will travel the world to teach and collaborate with authorities, educational institutions, private companies and civil societies on sustainable societal solutions.

- This could, e.g. be a matter of which social policy it is possible to receive political endorsement for. It could also be about the increased use of digitalisation, where there is good experience to draw on from the Danish authorities and courts, Marianne S. Ulriksen says and continues:

- It matters a great deal to us that the Danish model is not transferred directly to countries such as South Africa, Tanzania or China, as there will be different local needs and wishes, which we will build on and adapt solutions for.

SDU Just Society Program

  • The purpose of the project is to support the construction, development and dissemination of strong and sustainable social institutions and solutions abroad through research-based teaching.
  • The project is rooted at the Faculty of Business and Social Sciences, where it will be implemented in collaboration between researchers at the Department of Political Science and Public Management and the Department of Law.
  • The project will commence in the fall of 2020 and run for three years.

A combined effort

Researchers have already entered into collaborations in Africa, the Middle East and China, where the welfare state is becoming increasingly important but still is challenged by, i.a., societal and economic problems.

The ambition is furthermore to enter into new collaborations with, e.g. UN organisations, international NGOs and foundations. Interest in the project has also been shown domestically; including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, the think tank Justitia and the Danish Parliamentary Ombudsman.

The various teaching modules and courses will be available online as they develop, in order for as many people as possible to benefit from the project. And they may also be included in the Sustainable Development Goal programmes, which are being created by SDU.

Topphoto: Sanne Timmermann

Meet the researcher

Marianne S. Ulriksen is responsible for the university's strategic initiative “SDU Just Society Program”. She is associate professor at the Department of Political Science and Public Management, where she works with social policy, state development and welfare state reforms. She lived and worked in the following African countries from 2000 to 2016: Tanzania, Namibia, Nigeria, Botswana and South Africa.


Editing was completed: 20.12.2019