Interview with Lisa Gullbransson, UWC RCN 2005
July 4, 2023
Can you please introduce yourself?
My name is Lisa Gullbransson and I went to UWC Red Cross Nordic from 2003 to 2005. I now realize that means it is 20 years ago since I started UWC. Unbelievable! I cannot believe that 20 years have already gone by. UWC is still such an important part of who I am.
I live with my husband and two children in Brussels. We love exploring Belgium and are currently planning a trip to the Ardennes. I’m on the lookout for more water activities, for example, kayaking, which would surely bring back many RCN memories!
I currently work as the Strategic Director for Health[e]Foundation, a Dutch NGO focusing on global health. I steer the strategy of the organization, fostering the bigger picture by thinking wide and utilising my network and all of my experiences. One of the joys of my job is observing current trends in global health which often takes me back to many of the discussions that I had at UWC as a student.
Before we talk about how you have been giving back to UWC, can we pause and think about the ways you think you have been living the UWC mission?
To me, it’s about continuing to be a good world citizen and standing up to injustices in the world. I do my best to pass this on to my kids by teaching them what’s right and wrong within the context of human rights. I think that if we can find and express kindness, we can make the world a better place. It is also important for them to know that there are many things that are unfair in the world and that we should do our best to contribute to making it better. Through my work experience, I have realised that changing the system from the inside is not always easy and fast, but the seemingly small things count too.
You are not a UWCM alumna, so what brought you to UWC Maastricht in March?
I always wanted to visit all the UWC colleges! At the time of my graduation, there were about 10 colleges so it seemed doable but now I realise that I actually only saw UWC RCN and now UWC Maastricht. I was curious to see another college, to see how the movement lives on and what it means to be a UWC student today. I was grateful that I got to contribute to the residential health night on sexual health and share my expertise as a sexual health expert as well as my experience of being a UWC student. I think it is important that students get to talk about these important topics such as consent and safe sex. It felt good to be able to give back in such a meaningful and useful way.
In what (other) ways have you been giving back to the UWC movement?
In the early years after my UWC graduation, I lived in Ethiopia and supported the national committee there. Once I returned to Sweden, I was an active member of the Swedish national committee and focused on alumni relations. I was actively involved in the selections and attended meet-ups with prospective students and their parents.
What would be your advice for other alumni who are thinking about being more involved with the movement?
If you want to be involved, I recommend getting in touch with the schools or national committees and offering your knowledge. You don’t have to be an expert in a subject but can instead focus on personal experiences. One thing I would like to do is to talk to the parents of students who are interested in applying to UWC as that’s a group that is often neglected as we usually reach out only to students. The parents know their children well, and they will influence whether or not their child might apply. This could be a good way to reach out to more students of promise and potential and I think that this could be a good way to strengthen the UWC recruitment process.