Minnesota State Mankato Dean Returns from Minnesota Trade Mission to United Kingdom, Finland

December 01, 2021 | News Story

Mankato, Minn. – Aaron Budge, acting dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology at Minnesota State University, Mankato, was one of more than 50 Minnesota government, business and education leaders who participated in a Nov. 13-19 trade mission to the United Kingdom and Finland.

According to a Nov. 13 news release from the Office of Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, the trade mission was led by Walz and focused on “increasing state exports, promoting Minnesota as a premier destination for business investment, developing new business opportunities, and strengthening existing ties.”

Members of the Minnesota delegation were grouped in four tracks of concentration: MedTech and Health, Environmental Technologies, Agriculture and Food, and Higher Education.

Budge was part of the higher education track, which included representatives from the University of Minnesota, St. Cloud State University, the University of St. Thomas and Concordia University-St. Paul, as well as representatives from K-12 school districts and the private sector.

Budge said the higher education team was led by Minnesota first lady Gwen Walz and Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Regional Trade Manager and Protocol Officer Rachel Limón.

“The mission has already led to several opportunities for collaboration with respect to student and faculty/staff activities, with additional conversations ongoing,” said Budge.

Budge said meetings in London included collaborations and discussions with Birkbeck University of London, the U.K. Department for Education, U.S. Embassy leadership representing the four delegations, Queen Mary University of London, and several higher education partners (Fulbright Commission, EducationUSA, Sannam S4 and others).

Budge said connections in Helsinki were made with the Fulbright Finland Foundation, U.S. Embassy Helsinki leadership, the Academy of Finland and representatives of the Finnish American Research and Innovation Accelerator (FARIA) Network, the Ministry of Education and Culture, the University of Helsinki and Aalto University.

According to Budge, members of the delegation participated in COVID testing multiple times prior to and during the mission, and appropriate protocols were followed throughout the trip.

For more information, contact Budge by email at aaron.budge@mnsu.edu or by phone at 507-389-5998.

Additional information about the trade mission, primarily the activities of Governor Walz, is available through a series of updates published on the DEED website:


Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 14,546 students, is part of the Minnesota State system, which includes 30 colleges and seven universities.

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