About SIU

SIU is a private open University in Sweden, working mainly with distance learning. SIU is focusing on competence development for individuals, teams and organizations. 

Uneståhl took leave of absence from Örebro university 1990 to start Skandinaviska Ledarhögskolan(www.slh.nu) and Scandinavian International University(www.siu.nu) with the main goal of developing models and training methods to reduce the gap between School/University Success and Life Success.


SIU educational work is based on the Swedish University law §2 which said that the goal of all education is Personal development. Thus, knowledge is not enough. The most important thing is how knowledge is transferred to actions in Life (Competence). This means that an important part of SIU education is methods for transfering Knowledge to Competence by the PAT principle (Practice, Applications and Training). In addition to that, SIU has developed unique methods to establish competence without the need of knowledge. In Sport, for instance, knowledge can even be an obstacle by causing too much of “thinking”. In some recruiting today remarks from the school/university is less valued than Social and Emotional competence. However, people with high social competence has usually no formal education in the field and usually do not know what and how they do to be so socially competent. Thus, SIU is developing methods to go direct from unconcious incompetence to unconscious competence.


The “PAT” principle means that an important part of SIU education has to do with “Mental Training”.  Mental Training was created by Uneståhl 1969 and the practical training programs was developed during the 1970´s in cooperation with 12 Swedish National Teams and 2 Olympic Teams (1976 and 1980). In the 1980´s Mental Training became a part of many areas in the society (Schools, Health, Work, etc.) and at the same time spread to the Sport area in other countries (Unestahl was invited by the Olympic committees in 12 countries between 1976 and 1988). From 1990 the big area has been Personal development (including Problemsolving) for everyone and up to 2020 the number of Swedish people who has experience of Mental Training exceeds 2,5 million. This does not mean that so many has any formal education in Mental Training. Instead, most people has used the training programs for various needs (Stress-reduction, Self-image, Creativity, Sleep, Weight, Smoking, Tinnitus, Chronic pain, child birth, etc.). The Mental training programs were during many years distributed through the pharmacies.

As Mental Training like Physical Training is a self-coaching procedure, build on Empowerment and “Life- as a do it yourself project”, where everyone becomes his own guru and trainer, it is very well suited for online distribution. Thus, most courses are distance- and online-courses with selfdetermined start and pace of study.


Apart from the Sport field the Mental Training has been focused on Sweden but 2013 started the work to introduce Mental Training in other countries. One example is the project “Mental Training for Peace – from Inner Peace to outer Peace” in north Irak together with the Kurdistan government.

In order to reach the first goal, the introductory mental training has to be translated to the 10 most common languages. This goal has reached 2021. However, much work remain to enable people to use mental training to improve their lives.

In order to reach the overall goals SIU is looking for partners in all countries.

The overall international Mental Training goal is to reach half of the world population before 2021 and all before 2037. This does not mean that everyone will use it but the goal is to offer a short and simple introduction in Mental Training to everyone. In order to reach the first goal the introduction has to be translated to the 7 most common language. So far we have 4 languages ready.


SIU was from the start a part of Örebro university, which meant that the credits was “Swedish State University credits” (högskolepoäng), which later was transferred to the European system ECTS credits. As SIU since 1990 is a private University, credits are given as ”International units (IU)”. IU is related to the common international rating way to evaluate studies, based on quantitative assessments. One IU is a day of full-time studies which means that 100 IU corresponds to 20 old Swedish points and to 30 ECTS.


SIU is one of the organizers of the next world congress on Excellence In Sweden 2019. More information and registration on www.wcecongress.com

Lars-Eric Unestahl started the ISMTE – International Society of Mental Training for Exellence 1989. World Congresses are held at every 4th year at universities around the world (Örebro 1981, Ottava 1988, Salt-Lake City 1999, St.Petersburg 2003, Beijing 2008, Kosovo 2011, Chandigesh 2015, gävle 2019). The next one will be in Wirzburg Germany 2-5 nov. 2023.



1. Learning in life is based on the “Statebound learning” law, which states that all learning is related to the learning place and the learners state of mind. The home/work University has immediate and close connections between learning and applications (knowledge and competence).

2. Learning for life is based on the Zeigarnik law which emphasizes the diferences between learning for School and Learning for life.

3-4. Learning from and about life emphasizes the importance of relating the learning contents to the utility for – and applicability in – life. SIU suggests a lot of practices in order to connect learning in- and experiences of- life with life development, for instance Gratitude journal and positive analyses of every day.

5. Learning during the whole life. The 3L (LifeLongLearning) concept is an important part of the SIU Lifelong development model. The combination of 3L with the lifelong development model (continous and lifelong improvment) means that SIU (as an open university for all) welcome all “students”, independent of age or background.

SIU Scientific Board

The Board members of SIU

Adrian Parker

Professor at University of Gothenburg

Luci Fuscaldi Teixeira-Salmela Ph.D

Professor at University of Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Lars-Eric Uneståhl Ph.D

President of SIU, Sweden

David Wark Ph.D

Professor Emeritus at University of Minnesota, USA

Jitendra Mohan Ph.D

Professor Emeritus at Panjab University, Chandigarh, India

Adjunct professors

Alastair Dobbins, M.D., Scotland
Pia Hellertz, Ph.D., Sweden
Benny Johansson, Ph.D., Sweden
Lena Leissner, M.D., Sweden