The theme for JHS’ activities at the Book Fair in Gothenburg is how new media can be a part of the changing of a society.

At the first day of the fair, a seminar was held on the stage of the International Square. Javeria Rizvi Kabani, project manager at the Swedish Institute and Erik Benngtzboe, chairman of the Young Conservatives, discussed the current situation in the Middle East. (more…)

Video: Release of the Swedish issue of the PrinciplesThe Swedish issue of the Principles for a free Society is presented by Dr. Nigel Ashford, followed by a debate between Fredrik Johansson, Head of Public Affairs on KreabGavinAnderson and Isobel Hadley Kamptz, writer and journalist (more…)

From left: Nigel Ashford, Isobel Hadley Kamptz and Fredrik Johansson.

The study guide Principles for a Free Society is published for the first time in Swedish. Author Nigel Ashford attended the book release in Stockholm to tell about story behind the book and to answer questions.

Originally written in English by Dr Nigel Ashford, the book has been translated into multiple languages, including Russian, Spanish, Turkish – and now Swedish. Written for the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation in the 1990’s the book was intended as a study guide in the former communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Today, the book is used in several of the Foundation’s program countries, including Latin America, Turkey and the Balkans.

Principles for a Free Society introduces twelve crucial principles and values that are at a base of any free, democratic and open society. The principles cover civil society, democracy, equality, free enterprise, freedom, human rights, justice, peace, private property, rule of law, spontaneous order and tolerance. (more…)

Oskar Öholm greeting Nicola Lazic. Flaked by Stefan Dragojevic, Kire Ilioski and Jens Ahl.

On May 13-14, 2011, the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation organized a round-table conference with leaders from cooperation partners in the Balkans. The conference focused on the continued integration of the Balkan states into Europe as well as other aspects of the European Union.

 

“The Countries in the Balkans have to push for membership. The EU never invites anyone to join,” said Walburga Habsburg Douglas, MP and member of the Hjalmarson Foundation board. Her view was shared by the participants. (more…)

The anthology was discussed following a presentation of the book made by MP Walburga Habsburg Douglas.

The authors in Balkan Blend, a new anthology published by the Hjalmarson Foundation, all describe – from their different views – the advantages of an EU membership for the Balkan countries. The book does not give any final answers and the views sometimes go apart, for instance in regards to the Kossovar independence.

An audience of about 40 people attended the release of the book <i>Balkan Blend – The Road to Renewal/i> on May 12. After a few words of welcome from the Chairman of the Foundation, Göran Lennmarker, Walburga Habsburg Douglas, MP and a Hjalmarson Foundation board member, gave a brief introduction to the eight texts in the book. “The anthology does not present any consensus opinion and the views sometimes differ,” Walburga Habsburg Douglas noted. She explained that all the writers, from their different views, describe the advantages of an EU membership for the Balkan countries. “I hope this presentation will encourage you to delve further into this book,” Walburga Habsburg Douglas summarized. (more…)

Minister Gunilla Carlsson and Ambassador Matthew Barzun.

Freedom, Aid and Democracy were the theme of a seminar hosted by the Hjalmarson Foundation on the Convention of the Moderate Party for local and regional decision makers.

“The number of internet users has doubled since 2005” Hanna Hellquist, State Secretary at the MFA and the Moderator of the session, opened the seminar.  She then introduced the two panelists, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Gunilla Carlsson and the US Ambassador Matthew Barzun. (more…)

Marcelo Schrubbe.

Political winds in Latinamerica was the theme of a seminar held in Stockholm May 3, 2011. Eduardo Quiñónez, Chairman of the Youth Section of the ARENA party in El Salvador’s capital San Salvador and Marcelo Schrubbe, local politicians in Blumenau and Chairman of the Youth of the Democrats, in Brazil, visited Sweden and the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation. The audience learned about their political work and development in their respective countries.

“61 percent of the population is under 30 and a third of them tell us that they are interested in politics. It is group that we in the ARENA Youth Section want to reach before the 2012 elections, said Eduardo Quiñónez.

He told that the issues that young people in El Salvador are most interested in are: economy, education, environment and safety. The latter is a question of being able to live without fear for criminal gangs that are a reality particular in the capital, San Salvador. (more…)

Diaries of dissidents – Daily Routines in a Belarusian prison was presented to a Swedish audience on December 7, 2010. The next day the book was presented in Swedish Parliament by the Parliamentary Belarusian network as host. The book is written by 15 Belarusian in opposition to the regime. They all kept a diary during their time in jail – so called “administrative arrest” which most of the time last for 10-15 days. This is a recurrent penalty imposed for everything from “swearing” to waiving the Belarusian white-red-white flag.

Stanislau Bohdanovich and Andrei Sarotnik told the audience what it is like to live and act politically in a dictatorship. “I was in the square [opposition protests after the 2006 election through the camp on October Square in Minsk] and arrested” said Stanislau Bohdanovich. He and others said that there were many hundreds of democratic activists who were sentenced to administrative arrest. (more…)

80-90 percent of Macedonians is for the EU and also NATO membership, said Vasko Naumovski, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for European Affairs in the Macedonian government when he, on November 17, spoke at a breakfast meeting arranged by Hjalmarson Foundation. Vasko Naumovski spoke in reference to the European Commission’s annual Enlargement package, presented on 8 November, and the progress made in Macedonia. “Sweden welcomes the accession negotiations with Macedonia,” said the Foreign Ministry and Foreign Minister Carl Bildt at the time when the EU report was released.

A group of diplomats and moderate members of Parliament were invited to listen to Vasko Naumovskis views on EU membership. The picture he gave was multifaceted. On the one hand, the Macedonian progress is mainly in the political sphere, on the other hand, Greece still stalling the membership negotiations. This applies to the name Macedonia, which also is the name of a province in Greece:

“It is as if Russia would oppose Europe called Europe since much of Europe is in Russia. Or that Moldova can not be called Moldova since there is a province in Romania with the same name”, said Vasko Naumovski. When asked what the name issue means for ordinary people in Macedonia, he replied: “In opinion polls 80 percent of the respondents answer that national identity is more important than membership in the EU and NATO.”

Vasko Naumovski added that he and his government is certainly willing to compromise to resolve the name issue; to overcome this obstacle to EU membership. And by the way, he said, this was already done in 1995 when Macedonia changed its flag. He was cautiously optimistic, explaining that today the Prime Ministers of both countries meet to talk. This was unthinkable just a few years ago. Nothing concrete has yet come out of this. “But of course we are willing to compromise!”

Four Russian opposition parties have recently initiated a political cooperation. It is expected to have a common presidential candidate in the 2012 elections. Two of the party leaders participated in the annual round table conference on developments in Eastern Europe organized by the Hjalmarson Foundation. In addition the upcoming elections in Belarus were discussed. As developments in Ukraine.

Each autumn, a number of top politicians and analysts from countries in Eastern Europe gathered over the weekend in Visby on Gotland. The discussions at these conferences is always informal, and should not be quoted elsewhere. This creates an open and constructive debate climate, which is appreciated by the participants. (more…)