Kastelholm talks on peace 2018

“Media, Power and Courage – on Credibility

and Trust in the Public Discourse”


The Kastelholm talks of 2018 will discuss the topic "Media, power and courage – on credibility and trust in the public discourse". The Kastelholm talks address issues of peace in a wide perspective and are yearly held on the Åland Islands under the patronage of former President of Finland, Tarja Halonen. The talks are this year held on 22 March.

The Kastelholm talks are held in Swedish and consist of two parts. First there is a panel discussion in the castle of Kastelholm with Kjell-Åke Nordquist as moderator. Secondly, a roundtable discussion is held in nearby restaurant Smakbyn with moderator Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark.

The panel in the first discussion consists of Merete Mazzarella, writer, essayist, journalist and professor of literary studies; Olof Ehrenkrona, Ambassador and Consul General of Sweden in the Åland Islands, Anders Mellbourn, Political Scientist, Journalist, former Editor-in-Chief of newspaper Dagens Nyheter, previous Director of The Swedish Institute of International Affairs and University Professor, as well as Britt Lundberg, politician from Åland who was the President of the Nordic Council in 2017, former Speaker of the Åland Parliament, former minister and Deputy Head of the Åland government.

Pictures: Merete Mazzarella ( Teemo Rajala/CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/) Olof Ehrenkrona (Kristian Pohl/Regeringskansliet), Anders Mellbourn (private), Britt Lundberg (Magnus Fröderberg/norden.org)

At the roundtable discussion, three commentators contribute with further insights based on their reflections and impressions from the first panel discussion. Martha Hannus is chairperson of Association Regnbågsfyren and Sustainability Officer at Emmaus Åland. She has previously worked on issues of extremism and racism. Janne Wass is Editor-in-Chief of magazine Ny Tid in Helsinki. He has previously worked as foreign reporter at newspaper

Hufvudstadsbladet and as reporter at Public Television Service, Yle. Barbro Sundback, is a politician and former Speaker of the Parliament of Åland. She was former Chairperson of the Board of the Peace Institute, and holds the position of its Honorary Chairperson.

The topic of the Kastelholm talks 2018 "Media, power and courage – credibility and trust in the public discourse" focuses on two key changes to the prerequisites for public discussion: firstly the rapid and comprehensive leaks of classified information to the public through the intervention of individuals and secondly the denial of the importance of truth, relevance and credibility of persons that make public statements. The trust in media, that has been the media's own historical goal, has been questioned by individuals with their "own access to facts" and who may spread (false) statements in a widely and fast way. This becomes a challenge for those societies that build their social model on informed democracy. The societies where power defines truth has on the other hand another starting point in this regard. Confidence is seen as a central explanation for why democratic countries in practice never go to war with each other. Theories of deterrence and balance of power are based on a fundamental consensus about the current situation, in short what is true or false. Premature or fake information can, in an already tense environment, increase the risk of war.

Thus, the topic of the Kastelholm talks has a clear bearing on the prerequisites for security, peace and international contacts in general. Who can you trust if everybody carries their own version of the truth?

The Kastelholm talks 2018 offers a forum for conversations about peace, in the crossroads between the concepts democracy and trust, on the one hand, and information production and cultural impact, on the other.

The Åland Islands Peace Institute
The Åland Islands Peace Institute is an independent foundation that specialises in research, education and information. Peace, conflict and conflict resolution are the three main areas of activity for the Åland Islands Peace Institute. These wide areas are mainly considered through the special status and competencies of Åland: autonomy within Finland, minority rights, demilitarisation and neutralisation. The Peace Institute regularly organizes seminars and workshops. More information can be found at www.peace.ax.

Collaborations 2018

The Kastelholm talks 2018 are supported by the Government of Åland together with the Swedish-Finnish Cultural Foundation, the Parliament of Åland, the Nordic Institute on Åland, Visit Åland and Åland Convention Bureau.

Preliminary program for the Kastelholm talks 2018
13.00-15.00 Panel discussion at Kastelholm Castle
15.00-15.30 Press conference at Kastelholm Castle 
15.00-16.00 Coffee in restaurant Smakbyn

16.00-18.00 Round table conversation in restaurant Smakbyn

Previous Topics and Participants

Kastelholm talks were held for the first time in 2014, with the topic "The Nordic Region and Peace". In 2016, the Kastelholm conversation was held on the topic "A sustainable peace around the Baltic Sea – new times, new issues" and in 2017, linked to Finland's 100th anniversary, the conversation featured the theme "With Finland as a neighbour - boundaries and boundlessness over the past century”.

In the panel, the following people have participated:

2014: Mr. Erkki Tuomioja, former Foreign Minister of Finland; Ms. Britt Bohlin, Director of the Nordic Council; Mr. Hans Wallmark, Member of the Parliament of Sweden and Vice-President of the Nordic Council and Ms. Aud Lise Norheim, Director General at the Department for UN, Peace and Humanitarian Affairs at the  Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Norway.

2016: Mr. Pekka Haavisto, Member of the Parliament of Finland and the Foreign Minister's Special Representative for Peace Mediation; Ms. Lena Ek, Chairperson of the Forestry Group Södra Skogsägarna and former Minister for the Environment in Sweden; Mr. Said Mahmoudi, Professor of International Law at Stockholm University and Ms. Hanna Ojanen, Jean Monnet Professor at the University of Tampere.

2017: Ms. Astrid Thors, former Minister of the Finnish Government and High Commissioner; Ms. Kristina Persson, former Minister of the Swedish Government; Mr. René Nyberg, Ambassador of Finland; Mr. Nils Petter Gleditsch, Professor.

More information about the Kastelholm talks can be found at the Peace Institute's website, http://www.peace.ax/en/seminarier-a-foerelaesningar/kastelholmssamtal.


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