Our 30 years with peace – And what happened to world peace? Part I

By Christina Spannar & Jan Oberg, TFF founders

Part I

TFF was established on September 12, 1985. We think that it’s 30th Anniversary is a fitting occasion to reflect on what has happened in the big world and in our lives with the foundation.

It is also a piece of Lund’s research history in general and of peace research and education in particular.

Motivation

The 1980s was a decade of gross changes in Europe, the struggle against nuclear weapons in particular.

Lund University was predominantly about education and single research projects – while TFF could be more of an experimental playground. We wanted to do truly free research and not negotiate with higher levels at, say, the university what to do where, in which countries to work and what to say to the media.

Peace has always been controversial and there were – and remain – enough examples of places that become ‘mainstream’ and routine – rather than experimental and radically ’alternative.’

What we did not know back in 1985 was that Lund University wanted to get rid of all inter-disciplinary academic endeavours – women, environmental, human rights and peace studies – and closed down the Lund University Peace Research Institute of which Jan had been the director since 1983, in November 1989.

Being a private undertaking

The HQ is the first floor of a two-family house in a villa area of Lund. Visitors, board members etc. have held seminars there, eaten and often stayed with us. Board members were colleagues and personal friends and new board members were recruited from Associates who were also personal friends, like-minded colleagues or mentors one way or the other.
Our children and other friends were often involved in the things TFF did – including printing newsletters in the basement, gathering them, putting them in envelopes and fix address labels.

Goals

The permanent top priority has been to promote the UN Charter norm that ‘peace shall be created by peaceful means’ (Article 1).
This was promoted through traditional book-based research and later field work – i.e. conflict analyses and mediation and peace plans – in conflict zones, but also through intense public outreach/education such as newsletters, media participation, press releases – and, from 1997, the Internet and then social media.

Secondly, we wanted to integrate theory and practice. While it is good to do basic research in the laboratory, what is peace research really worth if it is never applied to real life’s tough situations?

The first five years we did book projects like everybody else in the trade. But in September 1991 TFF went on its first peace mission to former Yugoslavia. It is safe to say that we were among the first to embark on that in-the-field philosophy and practice it – with all the problems and risks that it entailed.

Foundation and management

The word ‘foundation’ does not mean that we had an endowment to start out with – and funding has been a constant problem every day and year ever since. And getting worse over time.
But it meant flexibility and – being and remaining small – quickly adapting to a changing world.

Being our own and not part of Lund University was another advantage – and a drawback in terms of finding funds. TFF had to build its own reputation from scratch rather than piggyback on that of the university’s. It was quite tough but also more rewarding in the long run.Read More »

TFF PressInfo: Sverige – inte längre aktör för en bättre värld

Av Jan Öberg
Dr.hc., direktör för TFF
4 maj 2014

Eliten i Sverige är mer lojal mot Nato, USA och EU än mot sitt folk

• Under de senaste 25-30 åren har Sveriges militära, säkerhets- och utrikespolitiska elit vridit Sveriges politik 180 grader.

• Dessa grundläggande förändringar inleddes av den socialdemokratiska regeringen under Göran Persson och utrikesminister Anna Lindh och har genomförts praktiskt taget utan offentlig debatt.

• Omsvängningen till interventionism, militarism och USA/Nato på alla områden har planerats gradvis, i smyg och ohederligt – kort sagt på ett sätt som är ovärdigt en demokrati.

• Denna elit är mer lojal mot Bryssel och Washington än mot svenskarna.

• Om din bild av Sverige är att det är ett progressivt, förnyande och fredsfrämjande land med global inställning som försvarar folkrätten så är den – tråkigt nog – föråldrad.

Hur Sverige har förändrats

Sverige är inte längre neutralt och det är bara formellt alliansfritt; det finns ingen mer närstående bundsförvant än USA/Nato. Landet har upphört att utveckla en egen politik och positionerar istället sig inom ramen för EU och Nato. Landet bidrar inte längre med betydelsefullt nytt tänkande – det sista var Olof Palmes kommission om gemensam säkerhet (1982).Read More »

TFF PressInfo: Sweden – no longer a force for good

Sweden’s elite more loyal with NATO, the US and EU than with its people

By Jan Oberg

May 2, 2014

• Over the last 25-30 years Sweden’s military, security and foreign policy elite has changed Sweden’s policy 180 degrees.

• These fundamental changes were initiated by the Social Democratic government under Goran Persson and foreign minister Anna Lindh and have been carried through virtually without public debate.

• The rapproachment with interventionism, militarism and US/NATO in all fields has been planned, incremental, furtive and dishonest; in short, unworthy of a democracy.

• This elite is more loyal with Brussels and Washington than with the Swedes.

• If your image of Sweden is that it is a progressive, innovative and peace-promoting country with a global mind-set and advocate of international law, it is – sad to say – outdated.

How Sweden has changed

Sweden is no longer neutral Read More »