On 28 March 2014, the first Kastelholm talks were arranged, i.e. discussions about peace under the auspices of President Halonen, at the Kastelholm Castle on Åland. The Panel of the first talk consisted of Mr. Erkki Tuomioja, the Foreign Minister of Finland, Ms. Britt Bohlin, the Director of the Nordic Council, Mr. Hans Wallmark, Swedish Member of Parliament and Vice-President of the Nordic Council as well as Ms. Aud Lise Norheim, Director General at the Department for UN, Peace and Humanitarian Affairs at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Norway.
The panelists at Kastelholm highlighted that there are many reasons to consider Norden a zone of peace and that there is international interest in the experiences of the Nordic countries. At the same time, there may be a risk of being viewed as self-righteous, which is why it is important to critically assess the experiences and to promote dialogue rather than a missionary attitude in international relations.
Right after the Kastelholm talks an open peace forum was held at nearby Smakbyn with civil society representatives from all the Nordic countries. At the open forum the civil society representatives discussed the differences between the Nordic countries and the diversity within the peace movement. This discussion brought forward the differences in the self-images of the Nordic countries in relation to militarism and peace and trends within the Nordic countries that might not be considered as particularly peaceful.
Pictures from Kastelholm talks 2014 and the Nordic peace forum:
Photographer: Alexandra Zhukova