Rikskonferensen (the annual national conference)
Folk och Försvar’s Annual National Conference (Rikskonferensen) 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 in Sweden. Regular speakers include the Minister of Defence, the Minister of International Aid and the Supreme Commander. The Swedish Prime Minister has participated in the conference, as well as several prominent international representatives.
Rikskonferensen assembles 300 participants and 30-40 speakers for three days of lectures, discussions and debates, intertwined with socializing and skiing. The conference encourages formal as well as informal discussions between parliamentarians, representatives from trade and industry, political parties, government authorities, youth organizations and various NGO: s.
The conference usually receives extensive media coverage and is broadcasted by the national Swedish television, SVT. The conference was referred to in a number of news articles, blogs and on Twitter. Rikskonferensen is also broadcasted live via Folk och Försvar’s own website: www.folkochforsvar.se.
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, university students and youth politicians. The purpose of “Let’s rule a country!” is to create an understanding of the mechanisms of international relations. The participants assume the role of government officials in various fictional countries. Each government face its own sets of policy challenges which have to be solved with a shortness of time and less-than-perfect information. We arranged 503 “Let’s rule a country!” sessions during 2010, with over 12 000 participants all over Sweden.
We also arrange a role-play exercise for journalist students, during which the students are asked to gather information and produce news in the face of a fictional interactive scenario.
Seminars and panel discussions
Folk och Försvar arranged about 50 seminars and debates during each year on topics such as NATO, Russian domestic and foreign policy, Baltic Sea cooperation, political and religious extremism, crisis-managemant among others. Amongst the participants are researchers, MP’s, journalists and government officials as well as students and NGO representatives. Our seminars are always open to the public and are broadcasted on our website.
We usually conduct two study tours each year. The tours give representatives from our member organisations, politicians, journalists and employees from different government agencies the opportunity to visit other countries and learn about their security and defence policies first-hand. Folk och Försvar’s study tours are often conducted with support from 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.