In southeast Michigan, the Scandinavian Christmas season starts in November with two popular Christmas bazaars arranged by our local Scandinavian clubs. Both were held at the Finnish Center’s clubhouse in Farmington Hills this year. The Michigan members of the Swedish Women’s Educational Association (SWEA) worked hard making wonderful homemade decorations and baking bread, pastries, and cookies to be sold at the bazaar. Swedish gravlax and meatball sandwiches, waffles, cookies, and glögg were served. Children from the Swedish school performed a Lucia pageant and many University of Michigan students joined in. This is SWEA's most important fundraising event, with more than 600 paying guests. The Scandinavian Program at the University of Michigan has benefitted greatly from SWEA's loyal and generous support, including a scholarship for an internship or study abroad experience in Sweden, as well as support of our public events. In the beginning of December, the Jenny Lind Club held their annual Lucia dinner, where three of our second-year students performed songs of the season.

Congratulations to Sean Cantrell, class of 2019, who received the SWEA MAME stipend to study at an archaeological field school on Gotland. In September, he presented about his time in Sweden to a group of SWEA members on campus and also broadcast live on SWEA Världen's Facebook page. Sean learned a great deal, getting his first hands-on experience at an excavation. 

"Tucked back in the beautiful Gotlandic countryside, our site was the remains of an early Iron Age hillfort that was later used for many Viking Age burials. One of the greatest feelings in my life was pulling up my first artifacts: a bright blue glass bead, rugged horseshoe nails ­— things that you only see behind glass I was able to hold in my hands.”

Sean was able to gather information for his honor thesis, traveling through Sweden: 

“My research took me all over Southern and Central Sweden, spending most of my time at Uppåkra (Lund), Sigtuna, and Uppsala. My thesis, which explores the development of elite ideology in the early medieval period, has grown immensely as a result of this experience. 

I was able to walk amongst the burials and settlements that I have read so much about and since returning I have been able to understand academic articles and books with much more clarity.”

The annual Raoul Wallenberg Event on November 14, 2018 honored two different youth advocacy groups working to stop gun violence. Parkland Florida's March for Our Lives started a large global movement after the massacre at their high school, and BRAVE from the south side of Chicago has engaged youth for more than ten years to stop gun violence in its community and beyond. In addition to delivering the Wallenberg Lecture, students of both groups met with local youth advocacy groups in the area while visiting Ann Arbor.