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 attends the talks from time to time. The Kastelholm talks are held in Swedish and the talks consist of two parts. First there is a panel discussion for some 100 invited guests in the castle of Kastelholm, where a panel consisting of distinguished politicians, diplomats and researchers will discuss the topic of the year with a moderator. Secondly, a roundtable discussion is held in nearby restaurant Smakbyn. The later discussion is open to the public.
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 will be held on 30 March 2017, the day of Åland’s demilitarisation. 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 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? What relationships and identities will Finland, Åland and their neighbours develop in a neighbourhood of transformation of a world that is becoming increasingly boundless?
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.
Kastelholm talks 2016: ”A sustainable peace around the Baltic Sea – new times, new issues”
On 30 March 2016, the day of Åland’s demilitarisation, the Kastelholm talks were held for the second time at the Castle of Kastelholm on Åland. This year the topic of the discussion was ”A sustainable peace around the Baltic Sea – new times, new issues”. The Kastelholm talks are held under the patronage of former President of Finland, Tarja Halonen. This year, President Halonen discussed with a panel consisting of Pekka Haavisto, Member of the Parliament of Finland and the Foreign Minister's Special Representative for Peace Mediation; Lena Ek, chairperson of the Forestry Group Södra and former minister for the environment in Sweden; Said Mahmoudi, professor of international law at Stockholm University and Hanna Ojanen, Jean Monnet professor at the University of Tampere. Associate professor Sia Spilipoulou Åkermark, Research Director at the Åland Islands Peace Institute, acted as the moderator of the event. The discussion was held before an invited audience.
Later in the day, a follow-up round table discussion was be held in nearby Restaurant Smakbyn. The panel and the audience from the castle as well as other interested parties participated. At the round table discussion, four commentaters held speeches which were subsequently discussed by the audience. The commentators were the Peace Institute's two senior advisers, former MP Gunnar Jansson and peace researcher Pertti Joenniemi as well as by Professor Timo Koivurova and Petra Granholm, vice president of the environmental organization Ålands natur och miljö and also a member of the Åland Sustainability Council.
The round table discussion was moderated by the Peace Institute Director Kjell-Åke Nordquist.
Photo: Elias Vartio and Karita Kostiainen
The theme ”A sustainable peace around the Baltic Sea – new times, new issues” had been chosen in view of recent changes - both as significant events and long-term trends - in the Baltic region. These changes affect our societies in depth and need to be taken into consideration in order to sustain peace and security in the region.
Developments after the end of the Cold War, the accession to the EU, enhanced security and military cooperation, climate changes, new wars, and demographic changes have brought us new challenges, but also new opportunities. Which events, factors and areas are the most important to consider if we want to see a peaceful development and how should this be addressed? Can economic, demographic and/or environmental challenges invigorate solutions that contribute to peace and security in the Baltic region? How can we preserve and develop democracy in our neighbourhood?