Åland, a demilitarized zone in a new age of security

A talk by the Head of the Åland government, Camilla Gunell.

With comments by Alyson JK Bailes, Adjunct Professor, University of Iceland.

Introduced by Irma Ertman, Ambassador of Finland at Reykjavik.

The Åland Islands which lie in the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland are part of Finland, but culturally mainly Swedish.  They have an autonomous government and a seat of their own in the Nordic Council. During the conflicts of the 19th century, an agreement was reached to demilitarize and neutralize the islands, and this status was recognized in an international convention of 1921. The Åland example of peace has aroused international interest ever since, and is still discussed as a possible model for some of today’s unresolved conflicts. The citizens of Åland itself, however – like their Nordic neighbours – now face a very different security agenda in which military threats have little place. What is the meaning of the islands’ peace model in this new environment?

Camilla Gunell has been the head of the Åland government since November 2011. She represents the Åland Social Democrats and previously held office as the Åland Minister of Education and Culture.

The seminar will be held in English. Admission is free and all are welcome.