An unexpected meeting this afternoon at the Welcome Centre with a couple of visitors from Sweden. Suzanne Eberstein is a Member of the Sveriges Riksdag - the Swedish Parliament. Among the many posts and portfolios she holds, she is Deputy Chair of the Committee on European Union Affairs and a Judge in the Administrative Court of Appeal. Accompanying Mrs Eberstein is her Political Adviser, Margareta Fallman-Strandberg.
Mrs Eberstein talks about having seen a programme on Swedish television (as long ago as two years, I think) about Leicester as a model of a multicultural city. She's made the trip to Leicester to find out first hand how we do things.
I'd been invited to meet our visitors in the evening and hadn't expected to see them in the afternoon, but found myself in the office when they arrived and it was a good opportunity to make them a cup of tea and for Ajay and me to speak with them while we await the arrival of our Chair and of Hashim Duale. Hashim is a representative of Leicester's Somalian community and our visitors are particularly interested in finding out how that group has settled here and to compare their situation with those of Somalians in Sweden.
At the end of our chat, there's an exchange of gifts - Manjula gives Mrs Eberstein a sari, which says she'll try and wear at the next Nobel Prize award ceremony dinner. That'll be one up for Leicester!
In the photo (l-r): Margareta Fallman-Strandberg, Suzanne Eberstein, Cllr Manjula Sood (Chair of Leicester Council of Faiths), Ajay Aggarwal, Hashim Duale