2-9 July 2017: SwedAlex in Almedalen Political Week on the Island of Gotland

  • Almedalen Week

    Almedalen Week Photo: Almedalen

The Swedish Institute Alexandria (SwedAlex) is participating in the annual political Almedalen Week in Sweden that is to be held from 2-9 July 2017 on the island of Gotland.

Almedalen is considered to be the largest and most democratic political gathering in Europe today. The first official ''Almedalen Week'' took place in 1982 and since then ''Almedalen Week'' became an official annual event during the first week of July every year with active participation of different political parties, citizens, and organizations in Sweden.

The Swedish Institute Alexandria this year is present in Almedalen, sharing our dialogue experience, with three seminars:

  1. Feminism in Islam
    Sunday July 2 at 15.00, Sverige i Världen, Donnersgatan

  2. The Role of Religion in Conflicts
    Tuesday July 4 at 10.00, Biskopsgården

  3. The Myth of the Muslim Threat
    Thursday July 6 at 17.00, Sverige i Världen

Schedule of Seminars:

 1.     Feminism in Islam 
Most world religions have experienced strong, conservative and patriarchal traditions, but also given space for women’s participation, emancipation and equality. The Swedish Institute in Alexandria, SwedAlex, gives space for Muslim women to explore feminism and challenge patriarchal structures in their religion by visiting historic examples in combination with contemporary experiences through dialogue.

The efforts of Muslim feminists to reclaim Islam, the Koran and Sharia for equality is offering hope and change in many countries and contexts, This year SwedAlex is bringing some of these experts to Almedalen for a dialogue on the role of women in Islam, the prospects for change and obstacles to feminism in Islam:

  • Dr Hatoon Alfassi, Saudi Arabia, Musawah network
  • Dr Zahra Langhi, Libya Women for Peace
  • Judge Mohammad Abou Zaid, President of Saida Islamic Court, Lebanon
  • Ms Rabab Bassam, Master student, Lund University
  • Ms Sarah Deslhad, Swedish Muslim Feminists

Moderator: Dr Åsa Eldén, Gender Expert, Sida

Sunday July 2, 15.00
Sverige i Världen,  Donnersgatan

2.     The Role of Religion in Conflict and Peace Building : Cyprus – A Story of Hope

When the Swedish initiative called the Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process (RTCYPP) under the Auspices of the Embassy of Sweden, started to work with the religious leaders in Cyprus in 2009, the Christian and Muslim leaders had not met since the Cyprus conflict in 1963. Cyprus has never been a religious conflict, but religion had become part of the division. After 8 years of dialogue, the religious leaders have formed an initiative that has enhanced freedom of religion on the island and has made a solid contribution of confidence building to the peace process.

The seminar will share the important progress made by RTCYPP and in dialogue with experts from other parts of the Middle East explore ideas on how religious leaders from different faith backgrounds working together can prevent violent conflicts, promote the respect of human rights and contribute to peace building.

Main speakers: 
Bishop Porfyrios of Neapolis, Church of Cyprus Representative in Brussels
Imam Shakir Almendar, Imam Hala Sultan Tekke
Ms Annika Söder, State Secretary, Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Ms Salpy Eskidjian, Executive Coordinator of the Office of RTCYPP

Judge Mohammad Abou Zaid, Lebanon
Dr Zahra´ Langhi, Libya Women for Peace

Professor Isak Svensson, Peace and Conflict Studies, Uppsala University

Opening Remarks: 
Bishop Sven-Bernhard Fast, Visby

Closing Remarks: 
Peter Weiderud, Director, Swedish Institute Alexandria

Swedish Institute Alexandria and Diocese of Visby, Church of Sweden

Date:  Tuesday July 4, 10.00
Venue:  Biskopsgården, Biskopsgatan 1 Visby

3.     The Myth of the Muslim Threat

Resentment to change and fear of the unknown have met new immigrants throughout history. Since September 11 2001 and after some of the religiously motivated terrorist attacks in recent years, in particular the Muslim communities in Europe have felt a popular misconception in relation to their integration. Myths, as much as reality, might accompany policymakers and authorities dealing with some of the challenges of global migration. Can the perceived threat be transferred into a benefit for society with help of an improved dialogue? Can dialogue help us to distinguish between real threats and misperceptions?

The Swedish Institute Alexandria is a Dialogue Institute within the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs with the aim to facilitate an improved dialogue between Europe and the Middle East North Africa Region, MENA. The perceptions of Muslims in Sweden and Europe today, will be discussed with an expert panel from MENA and Europe:

  • Dr Zahra Langhi, Libya Women for Peace
  • Judge Mohammad Abou Zaid, President of Saida Islamic Court, Lebanon
  • Mrs Mehrezia Labidi, Tunisian Parliament, Ennahda party
  • Mrs Anna Carlstedt, National Coordinator against Violent Extremism
  • Mr Oliver McTernan, Director Forward Thinking, UK
  • Mr Usama Butt, Director, Institute for Islamic Strategic Affairs

Moderator: Peter Weiderud, Director, Swedish Institute Alexandria

Thursday July 6 at 17.00

Sverige i Världen, Donnersgatan 6

For more information about Almedalen: http://www.almedalsveckan.info

To follow us on Twitter @SwedAlexOrg use the hashtag #dialogue17