The Swedish National Committee is proud to present the names of the Keynote Speaker at the Opening Session and the names two of the Plenary Speakers.

Keynote Speaker: Jan Eliasson
Plenary Speaker: Henning Mankell
Plenary Speaker: Hans Rosling

H.E. Mr. Jan Eliasson

Jan Eliasson

H.E. Mr. Jan Eliasson, Keynote Speaker

Jan Eliasson was elected President of the sixtieth session of the United Nations General Assembly on 13 June 2005. At the time, he was Sweden’s Ambassador to the United States, a post he held from September 2000 until July 2005. On 27 March 2006 Mr. Eliasson was appointed Foreign Minister of Sweden.

A veteran in the fields of diplomacy and foreign relations, from 1994 to 2000 Mr. Eliasson served as State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, a key position in formulating and implementing Swedish foreign policy. Earlier, from 1988 to 1992, he was Sweden’s Ambassador to the United Nations in New York. During this period, he also served as the Secretary-General’s Personal Representative on Iran/Iraq and was Chairman of the UN General Assembly’s working group on emergency relief (1991), Vice President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) (1991 to 1992) and Chairman of the UN Trust Fund for South Africa (1988 to 1992).

In 1992, Mr. Eliasson was appointed as the first United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs. During his tenure, he was involved in operations in Somalia, Sudan, Mozambique and the Balkans and also undertook initiatives concerning landmines, conflict prevention and humanitarian action.

From 1980 to 1986, Mr. Eliasson was part of the UN mediation missions in the war between Iran and Iraq, headed by former Prime Minister Olof Palme. More recently, Mr. Eliasson served as a mediator in the Nagorny Karabakh conflict for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and was a visiting professor at Uppsala University in Sweden, lecturing on mediation, conflict resolution and UN reform.

Over the course of his diplomatic career, Mr. Eliasson has been posted to New York (twice) Paris, Bonn, Washington (twice) and Harare, where he opened the first Swedish Embassy in 1980. He served as Diplomatic Adviser to the Swedish Prime Minister from 1982 to 1983, and as Director General for Political Affairs in the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs from 1983 to 1987.

Mr. Eliasson has authored and co-authored numerous books and articles and is a frequent lecturer on foreign policy and diplomacy. A recipient of honorary doctorate degrees from the American University, Washington, D.C., Uppsala University and Göteborg University, Sweden, and Bethany College, Kansas, he also has been decorated by a number of Governments.

Born in Göteborg, Sweden, in 1940, Mr. Eliasson was an exchange student in the United States from 1957 to 1958 and graduated from the Swedish Naval Academy in 1962. He earned a Master’s degree in Economics in 1965.

Mr. Eliasson is married to Kerstin Eliasson, who is Sweden’s State Secretary for Education and Science. They have three grown children, Anna, Emilie and Johan.

Henning Mankell

Henning Mankell

Henning Mankell, Plenary Speaker

Snow, deep snow, is one of Henning Mankell’s first memories, and later in life, after choosing to divide his time between Moçambique and Sweden, Henning states:

– I stand with one foot in the snow and one foot in the sand.

Henning Mankell was born in Stockholm on the 3rd of February 1948. When Henning was barely two years old his father, Ivar Mankell, was offered to serve as a court judge in a small town in the north of Sweden called Sveg, where Henning spent his childhood.

Shortly after the death of his father in 1972, Mankell completed his first novel—The Stone Blaster. It tells the story of the workers’ union movement and is still in print in Sweden. It is about an old man looking back on his life and on Swedish society and the need for solidarity, a theme that is frequently recurring in Henning Mankell’s works and in his life.

Having published his first novel, Mankell soon realized his dream of going to Africa and arrived in Guinea-Bissau the same year as The Stone Blaster was published.

Since then Henning Mankell has spent a great part of his life on the African continent. After living in Zambia and other countries, he was invited in 1986 to run the Teatro Avenida in the capital of Moçambique, Maputo. Since his arrival in 1986 he is spending at least half the year in Maputo working with the theatre and writing. Living and working in Africa has given Henning Mankell a deepening perspective on both Sweden and Europe.

In 1984 Mankell became the head of Kronobergsteatern in Växjö, Sweden, in which he introduced a new view of what to perform. He wanted to produce only Swedish plays, which turned out to be a success. His work in theatre resulted in him not publishing anything between 1984 and 1990.

Faceless Killers–the first novel in the series featuring detective Kurt Wallander–was released in 1991. The novel was an immediate national success claiming several awards. However, it was not until the third book about Wallander, titled The White Lioness, that the series about the detective from Ystad became the international bestseller it is today.

Henning Mankell’s tenacity in African issues resulted in his being invited by the Federal President of Germany Horst Köhler in 2005 to join his Partnership with Africa initiative. Among the other participants in this initiative were former Secretary General of the UN, Koffee Annan, and Ghana’s President, John A. Kuffour.

In June 2008, Mankell received an honorary doctorate from St. Andrews University. Past recipients of this award have included the Dalai Lama and Bob Dylan. Furthermore, Henning Mankell is currently working on a TV-series about the late filmmaker Ingmar Bergman, as well as writing on a new novel which will be published in the autumn of 2010.

Hans Rosling

Hans Rosling

Hans Rosling, Plenary Speaker

Hans Rosling is professor of International Health at Karolinska Institutet, the medical university in Stockholm, Sweden. When working as a young doctor in Mozambique he discovered a formerly unrecognized paralytic disease that his research team named konzo. His 20 years of research on global health concerned the character of the links between economy and health in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

He has been an adviser to the WHO and UNICEF, co-founded Médecines sans Frontiers in Sweden and started new courses and published a textbook on Global Health. He is member of the International Group of the Swedish Academy of Science and of the Global Agenda Network of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

He co-founded the Gapminder Foundation with son and daughter-in-law.  Gapminder promotes a fact based world view by converting the international statistics into moving, interactive, understandable and enjoyable graphics. This was first done by developing the Trendalyzer software that Google acquired in 2007. Using animations of global trends Hans Rosling lectures about past and contemporary economic, social and environmental changes in the world and he produces thematic videos using the same technique. His award-winning lectures on global trends have been labeled "humorous, yet deadly serious" and many in the audience find their own world view to be some decades too old.

More information is available from the Gapminder Foundation website.