Pomona College has hired Bertil Lindblad PO ’78 as the Senior Adviser for International Initiatives, a newly created position that will focus on expanding international opportunities for the Pomona community. Interim Dean Betsy Crighton sent an e-mail to the student body on Feb. 6 welcoming Lindblad to the new position.
“I’m thrilled to be given the opportunity to assume the newly created position,” Lindblad said. “The world today is so interconnected, and Pomona is expanding the range of international experiences available to students.”
Lindblad will be working with students and faculty to help expand international connections for the college and guide students searching for international internships and jobs.
“Another part [of the position] is to seek opportunities for students and faculty to expand contacts and collaboration with different types of organizations, institutions all over the world,” Lindblad said.
Lindblad’s responsibilities also include bringing speakers with an international focus to campus.
“The hope is that I can stimulate discussions across campus and do what I can to help bring speakers … [and] the reality of work in international institutions to campus for students and faculty to get an idea of how these institutions function,” Lindblad said.
International relations (IR) major and department liaison Zan Gutowski PO ’13 said that while international opportunities exist for students, they can come from different sectors of the college.
“Hopefully Mr. Lindblad, what he can do, is centralize this and be a resource for the students, a one-stop shop for all kinds of international programs and engagement,” Gutowski said.
Gutowski said she definitely intends to speak with Lindblad.
“I think it’s hard to know what organizations are out there and what’s available, so I hope that’s something he’ll really bring to the table,” Gutowski said.
Gailyn Portelance PO ’15, who plans to major in IR, said she thinks Lindblad will be a valuable resource.
“The huge thing with finding IR internships is the connections, and I think [Lindblad] can really provide that,” Portelance said. “Just pointing me in the right direction, I think, will be a huge help.”
Lindblad stressed that his work will be not just for IR students but rather will help prepare all students for life after Pomona.
“It’s important to state that the whole effect goes beyond international relations as a discipline. It is about being part of the global community, and today all sectors are, in one way or another, global in nature,” Lindblad said. “Globalization has changed the world. I think, practically, in every area there are international elements.”
Before coming to Pomona as the Senior Adviser for International Initiatives, Lindblad was the Director of the UNAIDS New York Office. In the past he also has held other positions in UNAIDS, including Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia and Deputy Director and Senior Liaison Officer in New York. He also has worked with UNICEF and the Swedish Embassy.
Lindblad said his education at Pomona, including a study abroad semester in Paris, gave him a solid foundation for what he hoped to do professionally.
“To this day I often think about what I learned at Pomona,” Lindblad said. “Here, I had the opportunity to study languages, French and Russian; I had the opportunity to do coursework in government and politics, but also history and literature. I think Pomona provided me with a very rich base.”
“On a personal level, it feels like I have come full circle. Almost 35 years from the day I graduated from Pomona, I have returned to campus,” Lindblad said. “What I learned and what I was given at Pomona paved the way for a long and fascinating global career and life, and I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences and what I have learned with students, faculty, and staff.”