Security Challenges in the Baltic Sea Region: Historical Perspectives and The Way Forward

22 April 2017 at the Stockholm City Conference Center (Norra Latin), Stockholm

The aim of the conference is to increase awareness of the present and emerging security risks and challenges, and NATOs role  to safeguard freedom and security in Baltic Sea Region.

The conference  will bring together historians, politicians, officials, research fellows and journalists, who have expertise and unique insights into the present Baltic Sea Region security environment. The conference is open to the general public and will be held in English.

LIVE! http://upnorth.eu/baltic-sea-security-live-stream/


Register for the conference and/or dinner HERE

Please register before 20 April

The conference is free of charge.

Dinner ticket costs á 500 SEK. 
Pay for the dinner via PayPal (select “betala med kort”)

The conference is being organised by the Association of Estonians in Sweden (REL) in cooperation with the Estonian World Council, a global federation of Estonian congresses, federations and associations abroad (established 1954 in USA),  as well as the foreign and security policy think tank Stockholm Free World Forum (SFWF), the Swedish Atlantic Council, the Association of Latvians in Sweden, Swedish-Latvian Association and Lithuanian Community in Sweden. Event is co-sponsored by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. 

The Association of Estonians in Sweden (REL) was established in September 1956 to protect and represent the rights and interests of Estonians in Sweden. During the Cold War the main focus of the organisation was to support the struggle for the freedom of Estonia and the other Baltic States. Even now, after Estonia has been independent for 25 years and has been a member of the European Union and NATO since 2004, we are deeply concerned about the current geopolitical situation. Last year we campaigned against Nord Stream 2 #STOPNORDSTREAM2 and we managed to draw the attention of both the Swedish media and politicians. Sweden’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms Margot Wallström, responded directly to the campaign. 

+46 72 519 04 80

13.00 Opening Addresses & Welcome

Mrs. Leelo Pukk  is a retired Chemistry teacher at Enskilda Gymnasiet in Stockholm. For more than 40 years, she has been an active contributor to the work of the Association of Estonians in Sweden. She is currently the Chairwoman of the Estonian National Congress of Sweden (Rootsi Eestlaste Liidu Esinduskogu) which has existed since 1956 in Sweden. She is also the Senior Vice-President of the Estonian World Council.  @Sverigeesterna

Mrs. Marju Rink Abel is since 2016 the President of the Estonian World Council. She is also the President of the Estonian American National Council since 2006 if which she is a member already since 1990.  She also serves on the boards of the Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC) and the Central and East European Coalition in Washington, DC and will be assuming the Presidency of JBANC this year.  She worked for 33 years at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Congressional Audit Agency. @marjura1 

Mrs. Elisabeth Bauer is, since 2015, the Head of the Office of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) for the Baltic and Nordic countries, based in Riga, Latvia. A historian by training, Mrs Bauer has worked for KAS in different capacities and places since 1993.  @KASLatvia

13.10 Introductions & Overview of the Conference

Mrs. Anna Wieslander is the Director for Northern Europe at the Atlantic Council. She concurrently serves as the Secretary General of the Swedish Defence Association (Allmänna Försvarsföreningen, AFF), a non-partisan NGO that has for more than 125 years promoted a deeper understanding of defence and security issues among the Swedish public. She is an expert in the field of security and defence policy, NATO and the PfP, the transatlantic link and defence industry issues. @AnnwieAnna @AFF_Sweden @AtlanticCouncil

Keynote speech: Germany’s Role in the Baltic Sea Region

Dr. Hans-Jürgen Heimsoeth is the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Sweden (2016-present). From 2008 to 2012, Dr Heimsoeth was the Ambassador of Germany to Ukraine. Early in his diplomatic career, he had served at the West German Embassy in the Soviet Union (1984-87). From 1997-2000 Dr. Heimsoeth was Head of Political Affairs at the Embassy of Germany in Poland. (continues)

Panel discussion 
”Security Challenges in the Baltic Sea Region: Lessons from History”

Dr. Hans-Jürgen Heimsoeth (continues) In 2000, he was appointed Ambassador and Commissioner for the Baltic Sea Region at the Federal Foreign Office and chaired the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) until 2001. From 2001 to 2004, Dr. Heimsoeth headed divisions for relations with Central and Eastern Europe, the Baltic States, Norway and Island at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin. @GermanAmbSWE @TyskaAmbassaden

Mr. Gunnar Hökmark is a Swedish politician (M), member of the European Parliament since 2004. He was member of the Swedish Parliament 1982-2004. In 1989 Hökmark started the so-called Monday movement, a popular movement supporting the independence of the Baltic States that spread all over Sweden, which today is manifested by a monument at the main meeting place in Stockholm, Norrmalmstorg. 

Prof. emeritus Hain Rebas was Professor of History at several Higher Education institutes in the North. Between 1990 and 1992, he was Adviser to the Foreign Minister of Estonia, Lennart Meri, and became then Estonia’s Minister of Defence, a position that he held from 1992 to 1993. He started his academic career at the University of Gothenburg.  From 1980 until 2008, Rebas held the Chair for Nordic History at the Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel in Northern Germany where he made a strong contribution to the development of Nordic and Baltic historical research. 

Mr. David Lindén is Editorial Writer at the Swedish broadsheet Nerikes Allehanda and historian specialized in the Swedish-Baltic ties during the 17th century. He holds a BA and MLitt from Newcastle University and examines in his PhD thesis at King’s College London. He is the author of “Hemming Gadh –  Vasatidens gudfader” (Atlantis, 2016) and “Johan Skytte – Stormaktstidens gudfader” (2017, forthcoming). @davidlinden1 @NApunktSE

Mr. Ilmar Metsalo is Senior Editor at The Ulkopolitist, a Finnish foreign policy online journal and holds an MSSc in Political History from the University of Helsinki. Metsalo currently works in a communications firm. He is currently writing an article about the changes in Finnish foreign policy in 1991. He maintains a particular interest in the Baltic Sea region and Nordic-Baltic relations.  @IlmarMetsalo @Ulkopolitist

14.30-14.55 Coffee break

15.00 Introductions

   Mrs. Riina Kaljurand is the Director of the Lennart Meri Conference and a Research Fellow at the International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS) in Tallinn. Her main research areas are the security of the Baltic Sea region, Nordic-Baltic security and defence cooperation and Russia’s soft power, issues on which she has published extensively. @RiinaKaljurand @ICDS_Tallinn

Keynote speech:
Security Challenges for NATO and its Partners in the Baltic Sea Region

Ambassador Wiesław Tarka is since 2015 the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Sweden. He was previously the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Croatia (2008-2012) and held the post of Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration (2005-2007). He is now on his third posting to Stockholm, having previously served in Sweden from 1991 to 1996 and 1998 to 2002.  @WieslawTarka @PLinSweden @PolandMFA

Panel Discussion: ”Future Security Challenges in the Baltic Sea Region: Possibilities, Problems and Effective Responses”

Ambassador Eitvydas Bajarūnas is Ambassador-at-Large with responsibility for Hybrid Threats at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania in Vilnius. From 2011 to 2016, he was the Lithuanian Ambassador to the Kingdom of Sweden. Bajarunas had been Counselor at the Mission of the Republic of Lithuania at NATO from 1996 to 1999. From 2005 to 2008, he was the Consul General of the Republic of Lithuania in Saint Petersburg. @EitvydasB @LithuaniaMFA

Mrs. Lolita Čigāne is, since 2014, the Chair of the European Affairs Committee of the Latvian Parliament (Saeima). She holds an MA in International Relations and European Studies from Central European University (CEU) in Budapest and an MSc from the London School of Economics (LSE). Prior to becoming active in Latvian politics, she worked as a journalist, public policy analyst and international consultant on good-governance, anti-corruption and elections.  @lolita_cigane

Major General (ret) Karlis Neretnieks is a Fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences (KKrvA) since 1989. Between 1998 and 2002, he was President of the Swedish National Defence College (Försvarshögskolan) and from 2002 to 2004 Adviser at the Swedish Defence Ministry on Central and Eastern Europe. From 2005 to 2012 he was a Senior Analyst at the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI) and from 2006 to 2010 at the Institute for Security and Development Policy (ISDP). @neretnieks @KKrVA_Sverige
Dr. Jana Puglierin is Head of the Alfred von Oppenheim Center for European Policy Studies at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) and a foreign and security policy analyst focusing on Germany, the EU and transatlantic relations. @jana_puglierin @dgapev

Prof. Matthew Rhodes is Professor of National Security at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, where he started in 2003 as the Director of Programs in Central and Southeast Europe. From 1999 to 2003, he was Assistant Professor of Strategy and International Security at the U.S. Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Professor Rhodes’ research is concerned with U.S. foreign and security policy, transatlantic relations and European security issues. @Marshall_Center

Dr. Mike Winnerstig is Deputy Director of Research at the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI), a Non-Resident Research Fellow at the ICDS in Tallinn (since 2017) and since 2005 a Fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of the War Sciences (KKrvA). Dr. Winnerstig lectures on International Relations theory and European security at the Estonian School of Diplomacy in Tallinn. He has published extensively on the security and defence policy of the United States, NATO, the security of the Baltic Sea region and Swedish-Finnish defence cooperation. @FOIresearch @ICDS_Tallinn

Closing remarks

Dr. Björn von Sydow is the Chairman of the Swedish Defence Commission (Försvarsberedningen). From 1997 to 2002, Dr. von Sydow was the Swedish Minister of Defence (S). From 2002 to 2006, he was the Speaker of the Swedish Parliament. Dr von Sydow is currently a Member of the Swedish War Delegation and is also the Chair of the Swedish Parliament’s (Riksdagen) delegation to NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly. He is an elected member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Science. @socialdemokrat

16.55 Conference Conclusions

Mr. Marcus Kolga  is the President of the Estonian Central Council in Canada and is a Senior Fellow at the Macdonald Laurier Institute Foreign Policy Center. He is a leading Canadian expert on Russian and Central and Eastern European issues and an international award winning documentary filmmaker, journalist and digital communications strategist. He is also the founder and publisher of the online magazine UpNorth.eu that features analysis and political and cultural news from the Nordic and Baltic region. @kolga @upnorthmagazine @mlinstitute

Mrs. Sirle Sööt  is the Chairwoman of the Association of Estonians in Sweden (REL, Sverigeesterna). She works at the Swedish Ministry of Justice in Stockholm. Mrs Sööt is a graduate of the Estonian School of Diplomacy in Tallinn (2001) and also holds an MA in European Union Law from Stockholm University. She has been an active member of the Estonian community in Stockholm since 2005 and has led several public awareness campaigns, most recently #STOPNORDSTREAM2. @tinysirle @Sverigeesterna

17.00 – 18.30 Networking Opportunity

18.30 – Dinner & Dance, for those registered and in possession of a Dinner ticket!


Norra Latin, Aulan
Norra Latin, Pelarsalen
Urmas Lattikas Group from Estonia: Urmas Lattikas, Reigo Ahven, Kaire Vilgats, Raul Vaigla




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