Malin Philipson: Enabling Elites and Empowering Communities
– Without elites, science could not have made progress. But equally important is empowering the common people on the ground to manage their own destinies, says Malin Philipson, the no-nonsense Chair of the Malin and Lennart Philipson Foundation.
Malin Philipson is the lifetime companion of the late Professor Lennart Philipson and Co-Founder of the foundation which bears their names. Her training is in languages and art history. Professionally she started working as a teacher and in 1983 as a freelance journalist for the radio broadcasting station Deutschland Funk, Schweden and covered the art scene for SvD and the magazine Konstvärlden, reporting until 1998 from Heidelberg and New York.
She has also been chairperson of the New York chapter of SWEA (Swedish Women´s Educational Association International), as well as serving as chairperson on two SWEA grant boards. SWEA is the international organization for Swedish professional women, started in 1979 in Los Angeles to promote contact and collaboration among Swedish women abroad.
Since 2006, Malin Philipson is a Board member of Tostan, Sverige, the non-governmental organization working i.a. in the areas of education, health, environment to empower African communities to bring about sustainable development and positive social transformation based on respect for human rights. As a teacher, she has always preferred income-generating projects to hand-outs, a firm believer in the old adage:
»Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.«
– In that same spirit, we want our funding to various causes to go from point A to B without getting lost to middlemen on the way. We started working in this way when we lived in New York. One of the first organizations we supported was World Childhood Foundation, then in its beginning, but today the Prize and Tostan, Sverige have priority.
When Lennart Philipson passed away in 2011, Malin continued his work within the Malin and Lennart Philipson Foundation, which awards prizes to PhDs and post-docs (biannually to Karolinska Institutet and Uppsala University, respectively), who demonstrate exceptional scientific prowess and leadership qualities.
– This work was very close to Lennart´s heart. In fact, he once tried to persuade the then Minister of Education Olof Palme to secure selective funding for returning postdocs. Palme, however, was apparently skeptical at the time, calling it “elite thinking”.