Between May 6 and 10, the Embassy of Sweden in Kuala Lumpur arranged Sweden Malaysia Innovation Days – one of the biggest Sweden promotion projects ever done in Malaysia – comprised of several events according to the theme of innovation.
Sweden Malaysia Innovation days was kicked off on May 6 with the Sweden Malaysia Nobel Gala Dinner at Hilton KL, arranged in cooperation with MASBA. Close to 400 guests enjoyed a menu with courses selected from former Nobel Banquets, as well as top class entertainment. Key note speaker was former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad. During the dinner, Tun Mahathir and the other guests also had the pleasure of getting acquainted with ‘Alfred Nobel’ himself (portrayed by the Swedish professional Nobel impersonator Peter Sundh).
During the weekend of 6-8 of May, the youth festival FEYST Malaysia 2011 took place outside of Pavilion KL. Organised in close cooperation with Go International Group, the focus of this year’s FEYST was innovation and creativity within indie music and digital lifestyle. More than 50 music acts took to the stage during the festival, which also contained a Counterstrike tournament and a workshop on the new challenges of the music industry. 100 000 meatballs from IKEA were quickly finished, and the Swedish duo The Harvest was the talk of the town.
On the 9-10 of May, the Embassy and the Swedish Trade Council organized the Innovation Exhibition at the centre court of Pavilion KL, where Swedish companies showed their latest products and technologies. Participating companies were Ericsson, BAE Systems, SAAB, Volvo Cars, Volvo Trucks, Electrolux, Scania, Husqvarna, SKF, Tetra Pak and ABB. There was also an exhibition of cartoons, inspired by the theme of innovation, by Swedish and Malaysian artists. The Innovation Exhibition was open to everyone, free of charge and had an interactive touch in order to be able to engage the visitors further. The exhibition also saw two workshops for Malaysian students with the Swedish music producer Patrik Larsson and the Malaysian innovation consultant John Lau.
The Sweden Malaysia Innovation Days ended on May 10 with the Innovation Forum, also taking place at the centre court at Pavilion KL. More than 250 participants took part in the forum, where prominent Swedes and Malaysians gave their view on different aspects of innovation. H.E. Ambassador Per-Arne Hjelmborn opened the forum, and Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry, Y.B. Dato Sri Mustapa Mohamed, gave the key note speech, where he praised Sweden and its innovative abilities and welcomed future cooperation on innovation between Sweden and Malaysia.
Other participants were Charlotte Brogren, Director General of the Swedish governmental agency on innovation – VINNOVA, Dato Dr Jimmy Choo, Christina von Dorrien, CEO Interactive Institute, Anette Scheibe, Kista Science City, Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar, Azran Osman-Rani, CEO AirAsiaX, Kamarul Bahrin Haron, Astro Awani, as well as representatives from companies and universities in Sweden and Malaysia.
Malaysian writer and human rights activist Datin Paduka Marina Mahatir gave the closing remarks. In her speech, she called for more attention to the fact that innovation is important not only to the field of business, but also in the fight for human and social rights all over the world.
The Malaysian response to Sweden Malaysia Innovation Days have been very positive indeed. It is clear that innovation and the possibility of a deepened cooperation with Sweden in this field is of great interest to government, business and academia in Malaysia. The media coverage has been extensive, with reports and articles in all of the biggest newspapers and several segments on the most important TV-channels.
With the Innovation Days the Embassy succeeded in its ambition to bring attention to Sweden as an innovation leader and Swedish industry’s prominent position within this area. The conditions for further cooperation between Sweden and Malaysia in the field of innovation looks excellent.