Summer School on the Principles for a Free Society

August 28th, 2013   Caucasus | Eastern Europe | Education | Ideology | News | The Balkans

August 20-27, the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation organised two conferences on ideology for youth politicians from Eastern Europe and Sweden in the small town of Nynäshamn south of Stockholm. The conference was based upon the book Principles for a Free Society, exclusively written for the Foundation by Professor Nigel Ashford. Chairman of the conference was Nigel Ashford, who usually works at the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University in Washington D.C.

Nigel Ashford introduces his book "Principles for a Free Society".

Nigel Ashford introduces his book “Principles for a Free Society”.

Topics such as democracy, human rights and equality were treated during the seminar days. The participants at the first conference were young politicians from the Balkans (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia) and Sweden. Alongside Nashford, a couple of other speakers participated. Tobias Sjö, political advisor at Stockholm County Council, talked about toleration, Mattias Svensson, author and editor at the liberal magazine Neo, held a session on freedom of expression and Jørn Haukøy, consultant and entrepreneur introduced the young politicians to the basics of private property rights and free enterprise. Moreover, the Croatian participant, Andrea Vodanović presented Croatia’s road to the European Union.

Participants at Summer School.

Participants at Summer School.

Besides new insights about the principles of a democracy, the greatest benefit for the participants was the unique opportunity to network with each other. With a history of war, conflict and ethnic tensions, it was valuable for the participants from the Balkans to meet with neighbors and exchange political views, perspectives and experiences.

At the second conference youth politicians from the two Eastern Partnership countries Azerbaijan and Georgia participated together with Belarusians and Swedes Belarus and Swedes. Stories about how it is to live under an authoritarian regime characterised the discussions. Christian Holm, member of the Swedish parliament, with a long experience on Belarus, participated as lecturer at the conference and discussed the EU’s work of promoting human rights and further integration in its Eastern neighbourhood. Patrik Strömer, an associate at Kreab Gavin Anderson, held a session at the conference about the history of liberty and Anders Hall from the Swedish National Police Board discussed rule of law with the participants.

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