Folk och Försvar in brief

Folk och Försvar translates roughly as “Society and defence” and our name is a reflection of our current and historic goals.


Our vision is to create greater understanding of issues and processes that affect peace and freedom in today’s world. It is our firm belief that a plurality of views contributes to more robust security and defence policies. We aim to be an accessible forum in which people with different opinions can engage in constructive debate.


The association was founded in 1940 with the goal to “build a bridge between society and the armed forces”. At that time, the beginning of the World War II, our founders identified a need of increased understanding of defence policy among Swedish citizens. Folk och Försvar was founded by political youth leagues, labour unions and voluntary defence organisations.

Today, Folk och Försvar has more than 100 member organisations, including several defence organisations, political youth organisations, NGO:s, trade unions and representatives of Swedish business, trade and labour federations. We run educational programs and provide a platform for public debate on defence and security policy.

Mission and organisation

Our goal is to:

  • Generate insights in the area of military and societal security in Sweden, by providing objective information on the security and defence policy of the Swedish Parliament and the Government.
  • Promote debate on topics relating to security, defence and civil contingency  by providing arenas for open discussion open to a plurality of opinions.

We do this through:

  • Courses, trainings, seminars, conferences and study trips.
  • Informative publications and events on defence policy, security policy and societal security.


Rikskonferensen (the annual national conference)

The Folk och Försvar Annual National Conference is the foremost meeting place for the Swedish security and defence policy community. The conference is held each year in January at a major winter resort. Regular speakers include the Prime Minister, the Ministers of Defence and Foreign Affairs, and the Supreme Commander. Through the years, several prominent international representatives have attended the conference as well.

The Annual National Conference attracts 400 participants and 30-40 speakers for three days of lectures, discussions and debates, intertwined with socializing and winter sports. The conference encourages formal as well as informal conversations between parliamentarians, representatives from trade and industry, political parties, government authorities, youth organizations and various NGOs.

The conference usually receives extensive media coverage and is broadcasted by the national Swedish television network, SVT. The conference also garners attention in news articles, blogs and on Twitter. TheConference is also broadcasted live via our own website.

Introductory training in security policy

Folk och Försvar organizes an introductory training in security policy called “Let’s rule a country!”. It is a role-play exercise, aimed mainly towards high school students and university students . The purpose of “Let’s rule a country!” is to create an understanding of and spark an interest in security policy. The participants assume the role of government officials in various fictional countries. Each government faces its own set of policy challenges which have to be solved with less-than-perfect information and under time constraints. We arrange around 350 “Let’s rule a country!” sessions every year, with over 10 000 participants all over Sweden.

We also arrange role-playing exercises for journalism and communication students, during which the students are asked to gather information and produce news or public information in the face of several fictional crises.

Seminars and panel discussions

Folk och Försvar arranges about 25 seminars and debates a  year on topics such as NATO, Russian domestic and foreign policy, Baltic Sea cooperation, political and religious extremism and civil contingency. Among the participants are researchers, MPs, journalists and government officials as well as students and representatives of NGOs. Our seminars are always open to the public and are  available on our website.

Study trips

We usually conduct two study trips each year. Thesegive representatives from our member organisations, politicians, journalists and government agency staff the opportunity to visit other countries and learn about their security and defence policies first-hand. The Folk och Försvar study trips are often conducted with the support of local Swedish embassies. The tours usually include visits at government ministries and agencies, research institutes and think thanks. We have visited, amongst other locations, Brussels, Moscow, Berlin, Beijing, Warsaw, Washington, Sarajevo, Riga, India and Tbilisi.


The activities of Folk och Försvar are financed mainly through a grant from the Ministry of Defence (five million SEK), but also through membership fees (0,5 million SEK). Some projects are financed partly by project contributions.