Caroline Edelstam, President
Ms. Caroline Edelstam is grandchild to Ambassador Harald Edelstam and co-founder of the Harald Edelstam Foundation and the Edelstam Prize. She is also the founder of Edelstam Institute of Education for Human Rights and International Affairs of which she is the Executive Director. During 2014, Ms. Edelstam was the Director of Fundraising at Ersta Diakoni and Ms. Edelstam previously worked as the Secretary General for African Medical & Research Foundation (AMREF) in Sweden, from 2009 to 2011. Prior to that she worked at Burson-Marsteller, from 2000 to 2009 and she has experience from a number of non-profit organizations, among others the Salvation Army, The Swedish Microcredit Foundation, the Foundation Min Stora Dag and she has been a member of the editorial board for the Swedish Fundraising Council’s magazine from 2008 to 2010. Ms. Caroline Edelstam was 2011 ranked by” CSR i Praktiken” as one of the most influential people within the field of CSR and sustainable development in Sweden for her work at AMREF Sweden. She graduated from the American University of Paris in 2000 in International Corporate Communication and Art History.
Lise Bergh, Vice-President
Lise Bergh has an extensive knowledge in Human Rights. She has a law degree and worked as legal advisor for a law firm that supported the Swedish Trade Union Confederation, LO from 1976-1994 with a focus on workers’ and unions rights. From 1994 to 1999 she was the Deputy Ombudsman for Gender Equality working both in theory and at a very practical level with discrimination law and women’s rights. From 1999 to 2006 she was State Secretary for the Social Democratic Government, responsible specifically for human rights, national minorities, democracy and discrimination law. From 2007 to 2014 Lise Bergh was the Director of Amnesty International, Sweden, one of the world’s foremost human rights organizations. 2016 to 2020 Lise Bergh was the Chair of Save the Children, Sweden. She has also been Executive Adviser in Human Rights and Labour Standards for the Academy for Human Rights in Business from 2014- 2016 where she was responsible for training in basic human rights and ILO core conventions.
Mr. Stefan Löfven was Prime Minister of Sweden from 2014 to 2021.
Today, Mr. Stefan Löfven chairs the UN High Level Commission “Our Common Agenda” together with Ms. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia in preparation for the 2023 Summit for the Future. Previously, he was the leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party from 2012 to 2021, and previously the President of the Swedish Industrial and Metal Workers Union 2006-2012. In 2016, he launched the Global Deal, a global initiative for social dialogue and better conditions in the labour market.
Further, Mr. Löfven has also been co-Chair of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Global Commission on the Future of Work, together with South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa, and initiated, together with the Prime Minister of Spain, the Leaders’ Network for reinforcing multilateralism. He was also a board member of the Swedish Trade Union Confederation 2006–2012, a board member of the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm 2010–2012, Deputy Chair of the Swedish Trade Council 2004–2012 and a board member of the Olof Palme International Centre 2002–2006.
Ambassador Karl-Erik Norrman is founder (2002) and Secretary General of the European Cultural Parliament (ECP), the only Pan-European forum for cultural personalities of all sectors of Arts. The ECP has 160 members from 43 European countries. The ECP initiates projects and workshops, meets in plenary session in different European cities each year and discusses broad European themes, such as Democracy, Intercultural dialogue, European Cohesion, Media quality, etc.
As a Swedish diplomat for 30 years he served i. a. in Moscow, Peking, Geneva and Rome, dealing mainly with foreign policy, trade negotiations, cultural affairs, development cooperation, humanitarian affairs and the United Nations. As Ambassador since 1989 he was posted in Spain and Swedish Commissioner General at EXPO 92 in Seville and in the 1990ies head of the Cultural Department of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. From 1995 he was Executive Member of the Commission for Sweden Promotion Abroad at the Foreign Ministry. Norrman has also been an opera soloist (tenor) and is the author of more than 20 books, i. a. about Democracy (“The Crisis of Democracy”, in Swedish 2008), World Population matters , Germany, China, India, UN, theatre, opera, design, food, European identities and football. He participates in the public debate in Swedish, German, British, Scandinavian and other International media and conferences.
He is member of several International Boards, e.g. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, London, Institute of Cultural Diplomacy, Berlin, Vizar Architectural Competition, Sofia, Music Mind Trust, Sussex, Harald Edelstam Human Rights Foundation, Stockholm, Fondazione Love Difference, Biella. He is married to German opera singer Doris Soffel, has two children and lives in Stockholm and Berlin.
Mr. Brian Palmer is a social anthropologist at Uppsala University in Sweden. Previously he held the Torgny Segerstedt Guest Professorship at Gothenburg University, and before that he taught at Harvard. There his courses on civic courage and engagement attracted as many as 600 students per term, and in 2002 Mr. Palmer was awarded the Levenson Prize as Harvard’s best lecturer.
The book Global Values 101 is based on Brian’s Harvard courses. His doctoral dissertation, also at Harvard, explored Swedish conceptions of solidarity. In 2006, he and Per-Anders Forstorp published a book about rhetoric and symbolism in Swedish political campaigns. Mr. Brian Palmers has also done a study of how time pressures are recasting Swedes’ inner lives.
Mr. Palmer is the research director of the Raoul Wallenberg Calendar, a collection of 365 accounts of individuals who took great risks for human rights, peace and democracy. The work is being published internationally in several languages and will be serialized on Radio Sweden on each day of 2013. Also he was a summer host of the radio program “Sommar” i P1 in 2004. He lectures in Sweden and internationally more than forty times per year, with a focus on civic courage and what Susan Sontag called ”the simultaneity of wildly contrasting human fates.”
Mr. Paul Rusesabagina is a former hotel manager whose story has been told in the movie Hotel Rwanda and in his autobiography, An Ordinary Man. As portrayed by actor Don Cheadle in the film, Rusesabagina saved the lives of 1,268 people during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Mr. Rusesabagina served as manager of the Hotel des Mille Collines in Kigali and risked his life to shelter Hutus and Tutsis who were seeking refuge from the genocide that killed more than 800,000 people.
In 2000, Mr. Paul Rusesabagina received the Immortal Chaplains Prize for Humanity. In 2005 he received the highest civilian award in the United States, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from President George W. Bush. That same year, Mr. Rusesabagina was also honored with the National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Award and the Humanitarian Award from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. After receiving these honors, he formed the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation to help provide voice to victims of genocide and support peace efforts in Rwanda and throughout the world. What started as a personal mission to teach the lessons of Rwanda has become an international movement to fight genocide throughout the world.
Juan E. Méndez
In 2010 Dr. Juan Méndez was appointed Special Rapporteur on Torture and Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment by the United Nations.
The Secretary-General appointed Juan Méndez of Argentina as his Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide in 2004, on a part-time basis at the level of Assistant Secretary-General. Immediately prior to his appointment with the United Nations, Mr. Méndez was serving as President of the International Center for Transitional Justice. A native of Lomas de Zamora, Argentina, Mr. Méndez has dedicated his legal career to the defence of human rights and has a long and distinguished record of advocacy throughout the Americas. As a result of his involvement in representing political prisoners, he was arrested and subjected to torture and administrative detention for a year and a half during the Argentinean military dictatorship. During this time, Amnesty International adopted him as a “prisoner of conscience”.
In 1994, he became General Counsel of Human Rights Watch, with worldwide duties in support of the organization’s mission, including responsibility for the organization’s litigation and standard-setting activities. From 1996 to 1999, Mr. Méndez was the Executive Director of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights in Costa Rica. Between 1999 and 2004 he was Professor of Law and Director of the Centre for Civil and Human Rights at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. Between 2000 and 2003 he was a member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States, and served as President in 2002.
He has taught International Human Rights Law at Georgetown Law School and at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and he teaches regularly at the Oxford Master’s Programme in International Human Rights Law in the United Kingdom. He is the recipient of several human rights awards, the most recent being the inaugural “Monsignor Oscar A. Romero Award for Leadership in Service to Human Rights” by the University of Dayton in April 2000, and the “Jeanne and Joseph Sullivan Award” of the Heartland Alliance in May 2003. Mr. Méndez is a member of the bar of Mar del Plata and Buenos Aires, Argentina and of the District of Columbia, United States, having earned a J.D. from Stella Maris University in Argentina and a certificate from the American University, Washington College of Law. Born on 11 December 1944 in Lomas de Zamora, Argentina, Mr. Méndez is of Argentinean origin and married with three children.
Ambassador Hans Corell served as Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and the Legal Counsel of the United Nations from March 1994 to March 2004. In this capacity, he was head of the Office of Legal Affairs in the United Nations Secretariat. Before joining the United Nations, he was Ambassador and Under-Secretary for Legal and Consular Affairs in Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1984 to 1994. From 1962 to 1972, he served first as a law clerk and later as a judge in circuit courts and appeal courts. In 1972, he joined the Ministry of Justice, where he became a Director in 1979 and the Chief Legal Officer in 1981.
Mr. Corell has been a member of Sweden’s delegation to the UN General Assembly 1985-1993 and has had several assignments related to the Council of Europe, OECD, and the CSCE (now OSCE). He was co-author of the CSCE proposal for the establishment of the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which was transmitted to the UN in February 1993. In 1998, he was the Secretary-General’s representative at the Rome Conference on the International Criminal Court. Since his retirement from public service in 2004, Mr. Corell is engaged in many different activities in the legal field, inter alia as legal adviser, lecturer, and member of different boards. Among other activities, he is involved in the work of the International Bar Association and the Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law. Since February 2006, he has been Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at the University of Lund. He is the author of many publications.
Lennart Aspegren, a former Swedish Judge of Appeal, who in 1995–2000, ranking as an Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, served as a judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). He was one of three judges who in 1998 in the case “The Prosecutor v. Jean Paul Akayesu”, the first genocide trial in history, ruled that also rape could constitute genocide.
During 2011, Aspegren, together with New York State judge Mary Davis functioning as independent experts in international humanitarian & human rights law, was a member of a UN Expert Committee concerning the Gaza conflict. Their report, colloquially called the “Davis/Aspegren Report”, was accepted by the UN Human Rights Council; the United States and Israel, however, voted against it.
During the period 1969–1993, Aspegren served in different Ministries as Director-General for Legal Affairs. He also had international assignments, including as an Emissary for Swedish Legal Aid to the Baltics and, too, as Vice Chairman of the OECD’s Public Management Committee (PUMA).
In connection with his ministry service, he was also responsible for a number of public inquiries, such as the State Administration’s European competence, Mortage lending, Exercise of authority at EU offices, the Government’s writing rules, the Government Offices’ regulatory simplification group, and Swedes in EU service.
Sitting on the Labour Court in 1980–1996, he represented the Government as employer.
In 1994-1995, Aspegren was a Justice of the Supreme Social Insurance Court.
In 2013, he was appointed honorary Doctor of Laws (LL.D. h.c.) at the Stockholm University.