FM Wallström skypes with LSE students

On Monday the foreign minister Margot Wallström was interviewed over skype by the women’s rights activist Zainab Salbi at the LSE conference: What next for the UK’s women, peace and security agenda?

The focus of the interview with Wallström was the Swedish feminist foreign policy. This quickly turned into a fascinating discussion on the role of women in promoting peace and security.

Wallström was very concerned about the refugee crisis and the humanitarian plight of so many people. The root causes had to be addressed. Sweden was taking a very large number of refugees. The numbers could reach as many as 150 000 this year and out of those 20 % were unaccompanied children. The Swedish people were doing their utmost to help out, but the situation was an enormus strain on our system. It was critical that more countries share the responsibility. It will be interesting to see what the impact will be five years from now.

Wallström explained the thinking behind the feminist foreign policy and how important it was to include more women in peace talks and negotiations. Societies where women are allowed to play a key role are much more resilient.

When Wallström was asked about the international reaction to the Swedish feminist foreign policy, she quoted Ghandi. “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you and then you win! Of course there had been a high giggle factor at the beginning, but then gradually people became more curious.

Wallström reminded us about the extraordinary and dangerous situation that we are facing. In such a world women have to be included in problem solving.

Finally Wallström gave some critical advice to LSE-students. “It is not enough with a thumbs up on facebook. We need real engagement from young people.” She also reminded the students that they have to read many different types of books, including novels and biographies.

The Swedish embassy was very pleased to have sponsored the conference and we are very grateful to The Center LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security for organising such a great event with so many excellent women speakers.

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