Kastelholm talks on peace 2017 Finland as a neighbour - boundaries and boundlessness over the past century


The Kastelholm talks of 2017 will highlight the centenary celebration of Finland, discussing the topic "With Finland as a neighbour - boundaries and boundlessness over the past century". The Kastelholm talks are recurring high-level talks on peace issues, and are this year arranged for the third time.


The Kastelholm talks are held in Swedish and consist of two parts. First, there is a panel discussion for some 100 invited guests, in the castle of Kastelholm, where the panel will discuss the topic of the year with a moderator. Secondly, a roundtable discussion is held in the nearby restaurant Smakbyn. The latter discussion is open to the public.

The Kastelholm talks will be held on 30 March 2017, the day of Åland’s demilitarisation. The panel consists of former Finnish Minister and High Commissioner Astrid Thors from Finland; former Minister Kristina Persson from Sweden; Ambassador René Nyberg from Finland, and Professor Nils Petter Gleditsch from Norway.

In a discussion ranging from the past to the present, and on to the future, it will be assessed how the neighbours might be viewing the developments in Finland and, how Finland might view its neighbours. When Finland gained its independence in 1917, Sweden, Russia and other countries around the Baltic Sea and in the Nordic region got a new neighbour. A little later Åland became autonomous, and hereby became sort of an ”internal neighbour” for Finland, in a process that also engaged the surrounding world. What have the last one hundred years entailed for the neighbourhood, and what can we expect from the next century, in view of the past? Which kind of relationships and identities will Finland, Åland and their neighbours develop in a neighbourhood of transformation?

The Kastelholm talks are recurring talks on peace issues, held on the Åland Islands under the patronage of former President of Finland, Tarja Halonen, who attended the seminar in 2014 and 2016.

The Kastelholm talks of 2017 are supported by the Government of Åland together with the foundations Svenska folkskolans vänner, Letterstedtska föreningen and the Swedish-Finnish Cultural Foundation. The Kastelholm talks of 2017 form part of the Finnish national program for the centenary celebration of Finland.  Documentation on previous Kastelholm talks can be found on the Institute’s website: http://www.peace.ax/en/seminars-a-lectures/kastelholm-talks

The Panel 2017

Former Minister and High Commissioner Astrid Thors

Astrid Thors is a chief district judge and a Finnish politician. She has been active in the Swedish People’s Party of Finland. Thors has been a member of the European Parliament and of the Parliament of Finland, Minister of Migration and European Affairs (2007-2011) and the High Commissioner on National Minorities of OSCE (2013-2016).

Former Minister Kristina Persson

Kristina Persson is an economist and a politician from the Social Democratic Party in Sweden. Until May 2016 she served as Minister for Nordic Cooperation and Minister for Strategic Development in the Swedish government. Persson has also been a Member of Parliament of Sweden, a member of the European Parliament, County Governor, and Deputy Governor of the Swedish National bank. She has also been the Chairperson of the Nordic Association in Sweden and of the think tank Global Challenge, which she founded in 2005.

Ambassador, René Nyberg

René Nyberg is a Finnish diplomat and he has worked as Ambassador in Moscow and Berlin. Nyberg started working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1971. He worked most of the 1970s in the Soviet Union.  In the 1980s, Nyberg took an interest in Nordic security policy, which he wrote a book about. Nyberg ended his diplomatic career in 2008, and then served as a CEO for the East Office of Finnish Industries (2008-13), a company that promotes interests of Finnish industry on the Russian market.

Professor Nils Petter Gleditsch

Nils Petter Gleditsch, is Professor Emeritus in Political Science, and has worked many years as a professor and researcher at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim. His quantitative research on conflicts has often dealt with topics ranging from disarmament to climate change.

Kastelholm Talks Agenda 30.3.2017
13.00-15.00 Panel discussion at the Kastelholm castle – invited guests only
15.00-15.30 Press conference at the Kastelholm castle – the panel meets with the press
15.00-16.00 Coffee break in the restaurant Smakbyn – everyone is welcome
16.00-18.00 Roundtable discussion in the restaurant Smakbyn – the participants from the castle + other interested guests

The Panel Discussion at the Kastelholm Castle

Invited guests. The Kastelholm talks are filmed.

Moderator for the panel discussion at the castle, is the Acting Director of the Åland Islands Peace Institute, Professor Kjell-Åke Nordquist.

The Roundtable Discussion – Registration for the Public 27.2-19.3

The panel is invited to attend, as well as the audience from the castle. At the round table discussion, a couple of commentators, which will be announced later, reflect on the theme, and the audience is welcome to participate in the discussion. Moderator for the roundtable discussion is the Head of Research at Åland Island Peace Institute, Associate Professor Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark.

The public is welcome to register for the event. Registration is open until March 19.
Please register here: https://www.lyyti.in/Rundabordssamtal17

Ålands fredsinstitut

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 assesed through the special status and competencies of Åland: autonomy within Finland, minority rights, demilitarisation and neutralisation. More information can be found at www.peace.ax.

Project Manager Susann Simolin
+358 (0)18 15570
+358 (0)400 989 570 

Visit Åland

PR Manager

Mobil +358407283330

Email: annica.gronlund@visitaland.com


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AX-22100 Åland, Finland





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