A special year, indeed. Jan Oberg spends a good two months in India on a Gandhian mission. It is the second year with no organisational support from the Swedish government and in which we work hard to become people-financed via our TFF Store and Donations online site. From February, war rages in northern Macedonia and threatens to spread to all the country. On September 11 the World Trade Centre and Pentagon are hit by terrorist attacks and on October 7 the United States starts bombing Afghanistan - - which naturally diverts a lot of attention from other planned activities.
On October 26, Christina defends her PhD thesis successfully. During most of November, Jan has a virus, which reduces his working capacity considerably. And December is spent more or less on inner maintenance of the foundation.
After a number of years where we have mainly produced materials and done outreach work, we cared a bit more for the maintenance of the Foundation as an organisation and invested quite some energy in the further development of the Foundation's website. The founders also devoted a bit more time than usual to reading and thinking as well as maintaining the house in which the TFF is housed.
Between January and October, co-founder Christina works intensely on finalising her dissertation.
The year begins with sending off funding proposals to Nordic ministries of foreign affairs and others for the "Support Reconciliation and Forgiveness" project. Nothing comes out of that; there are virtually no larger foundations that have this as a theme for grant-proposals.
On January 4 a letter arrives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Stockholm which we interpret to signal that TFF will not receive organisational support this year either. We didn't. We consider it a proof that the Foundation has, once and for all, been thrown out of the state budget (as the first NGO ever to have this happen).
Comprehensive updating of TFF's website. Letters go out with appeals to TFF Friends and others to make donations to TFF.
Jan prepares his 9-week trip to India "in the footsteps of Gandhi." He turned 50 in January. In between, he begins to do the layout of Christina's dissertation.
The Nonviolence Forum, a new Special Section on our site, is launched.
PressInfo 115 about TFF's 15th Anniversary this year.
Jan departs for India on Janury 27 and returns on March 31. Christina cares for the daily routines and sends important mails to him while away. Jan teaches a course together with Else Hammerich and Bjarne Vestergaard, trainers from the Danish Center for Conflict-Resolution in Dharamsala, India, with young Tibetans. Jan lectures at the Tibetan exile government's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and interviews the minister.
The trip in India goes to important places related to Mahatma Gandhi (Delhi, Ahmedabad, Pune, Sevagram, Bombay, Dharasana, Dandi etc) and also touches the main sites related to Hinduism (Varanasi) and Buddhism (Bodghaya, Sarnath, Rajgir).
Towards the end of his mission, Jan meets with the director of Gandhi Smriti (also Birla House Museum where Gandhi was killed) and Gandhi Darshan, the Center for Gandhian Studies Dr. Neelakanta Radhakrishnan. Jan lectures at Gandhi Darshan on March 19.
TFF board member Anna Christensen dies at the end of March. A true friend and a highly committed board member leaves us.
Much follow-up after the India mission, such as 2200 emails waiting. Over the next few months Jan writes 10 articles for the cultural page of Helsingborgs Dagblad (Daily) under the main title, In the Footsteps of Gandhi (so far only in Swedish). They are eventually posted at the TFF site with many original pictures from India. He collected enough material from the mission to write a book.
Begin research on the Militarisation of the European Union - - with a view to participation in the alternative EU Summit in Gothenburg, Sweden, in June.
On April 23 and 24, Jan meets people at the UN headquarters, among them Shashi Tharoor and talks about India and Tharoor's book on India, From Midnight to the Millennium. He also discusses the Reconciliation project with staff at the UN University in New York. Then he flies off to Duluth where, on the 25th, he guest lectures at the University together with TFF associate Biljana Vankovska. This is a special Annual Event of the Alworth Jr. Institute for International Studies at the University of Minnesota.
May 4-5, Jan attends conference at the Centre for Democractic Control with Arms Forces, DCAF, in Geneva.
Board meeting 51 was held on May 18. Among the decisions made was to ask Christian Hårleman and Else Hammerich to join the board; they both accept. Jørgen Johansen joins us as TFF adviser. (See their CVs on the site).
Mission 42 to the Balkans since 1991 goes to Skopje, Macedonia and Belgrade, Yugoslavia. In Skopje, Jan is invited to participate in a conference by the Macedonian Academy of Science and he does some 10 fact-finding interviews (May 23-27). The situation in Macedonia is so serious that it requires another mission soon. He is informally invited by academician Efremov, after the conference, to be the guest of Macedonian President Trajkovskij, but the invitation is not followed up.
Jan then proceeds to Belgrade for another 10 fact-finding interviews. He meets President Vojeslav Kostunica on May 29 as well as his adviser Slobodan Samardzic to investigate the newly established Truth and Reconciliation Commission set up by the President.
After that, Jan takes the train to Budapest and a plane on from there to Romania in order to teach a course in Klujc at the newly established PATRIR institute whose director is Kai Frithjof Brand Jakobsen, TFF Peace Antenna. He teaches after another TFF associate, Johan Galtung. He also meets with the staff of the Political Science Department at the University and gives a guest lecture on June 1. Returns to Sweden on June 3.
On June 9, Jan and Johan Galtung lecture in Gothenburg with the local peace groups in advance of the EU Summit meeting.
June 15-16 the founders participate in the parallel EU Summit meeting. Jørgen Johansen and Jan participate in various panel discussions and lectures, focus on EU militarisation which we have written about in PressInfo leading up to the meeting. Johansen is also co-directing nonviolent demonstrations in the streets. Jan lectures at the meeting arranged by the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, WILPF.
June 17 departure for Moscow, a conference on "Dialogue of Civilisations" arranged by the Toda Institute (of which Jan Oberg is an adviser) under the leadership of Majid Tehranian and the Institute for International Policy lead by Aleksander Nikitin in Moscow. Visits also to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Duma (June 18-20).
TFF Mission 43 to the Balkans goes to Macedonia and Kosovo (July 5-18) where Jan works with TFF Peace Antennas Vasko Karangeleski and Vasiliki Neofotistos. He conducts some 50 interviews, gives a public lecture at the Macedonian Women's Centre on July 9, does numerous radio, TV and newspaper interviews because of the threatening situation, meets staff from various international missions as well as former president Kiro Gligorov and Albanian leaders such as Arben Xhaferi, newspapers, ministers and intellectuals. June 11-13 he and Neofotistos visit Kosovo/a and hold a series of conversations with OSCE and UN people. They meet moderate Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova on July 12.
July 19-21 Jan accompanies TFF associate Jonathan Power to Liverpool to be present at the event of the public presentation of Power's book on Amnesty International that marks the organisation's 40th Anniversary. Power's old school friend Paul McCartney participates and the event's title was "40 Years of righting wrongs and 40 years of singing songs."
On July 26, Jan participates in a discussion about Macedonia on CNN and has an argument with Wesley Clark.
July and August, Jan spends the time basically writing various articles, conference contributions and book chapters. He and Christina also do layout and editorial work on her dissertation. This is also the time for some maintenance on the house and trimming the garden.
On August 16, Sara E. Ellis from Canada begins working at the foundation two days a week. Sara is a volunteer with a great commitment to peace. She soon turns out to be a great help as and all-round assistant who quickly takes over various routines and works also on promoting the Foundation's website.
September 4-6 Transcend holds an international course about dialogue and conflict transformation, at the Diakonhemmet in Oslo and with TFF as a partner. Galtung, Jakobsen, Dietrich Fischer and Oberg present.
The ten articles (in Swedish) "I Gandhis fotspår" - - In the footsteps of Gandhi - - appear on TFF's website.
September 8 to 11, Jan is invited to speak at a conference in Sofia, Bulgaria arranged by an Orthodox organisation based in Brussels on the issue of inter-faith dialogue, reconciliation and forgiveness. Gives an interview to the Bulgarian National Broadcasting. During a stopover in Munich Airport, he hears about the terrorist attack in New York and Washington.
September 14, TFF - - Sommelius and Oberg - - participate in the Book and Library Fair in Gothenburg. Panel on human rights and conflicts, focus also on September 11.
On September 24, TFF receives a donation of 92,000 Swedish kronor (roughly US $ 9,000) towards its work for peace. So far, the donor wants to be anonymous.
Lots of work, PressInfos, etc follow the September 11 tragedy. Huge increase in mails, discussions, number of website visitors, etc. The U.S. starts bombing Afghanistan on October 7. In between, several TFF associates advocate a legal, proportional and nonviolent, political response to September 11 in a series of PressInfos. TFF associates also criticise the acquiescing Swedish foreign policy in a series of PressInfos.
October 18, Jan lectures at Nansenskolen in Lillehammar, Norway. It is specialised in training young people from the Balkans. Other lectures in Silkeborg and Aarhus, Denmark and in Sweden &endash; such as on UN Day, October 24, speaking at a meeting for all Lund-based peace, women, and solidarity groups.
Christina defends her PhD on October 26. 90 guests celebrate with her in the evening. (Separate PressInfo about the dissertation on the site). Jan is hit by a one-month long virus two days before this. Little working capacity through November.
Board meeting 52 is held on November 9, at the foundation. On November 19, board members Ulf Svensson, Christian Hårleman, Kerstin Schultz and the founders meet for the day to plan TFF's future project in Burundi and a seminar next year about EU militarisation.
November 23-27 mission 44 to the Balkans, this time a conference about Yugoslavia-EU relations arranged primarily by the Institute for European Studies in Belgrade and its senior scholar, professor Radmila Nakarada who is an old-time TFF associate and friend. Jan participates in a panel with Misha Glenny and the Yugoslav minister of foreign affairs, Goran Svilanovic and gives a 30 minutes personal interview to the Serbian Television about conflict-resolution and reconciliation. He also does general fact-finding and meets again with Dr. Samardzic and members of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
On December 3, three articles (in Swedish) about the psychology of war and how it operates in Macedonia appears on TFF website after having been published in Helsinborgs Dagblad.
December is spent on foundation maintenance such as archive work, annual economic status report, library re-organisation and database updating, website promotion, updating of address registers, fund-raising and on project preparation in the wake of the November 9 meeting. More articles, PressInfos, etc appear. Jan gives a series of interviews around the time when the UN and Kofi Annan receive the Nobel Peace Prize Award.
New board members Hårleman and Hammerich.
New advisers: Jørgen Johansen and Neelakanta Radhakrishnan, Glenn Paige.
New Peace Antennas: Carolina Schwarz, Vasiliki Neofotistos.
New volunteers: Sara E. Ellis as mentioned, Orla Jordal joins as voluntary translator from English to Danish. Erik Göthe joins as a volunteer translator from English to Swedish. Peter Love, Australia, joins as website utility expert.
We thank the following for having served as TFF advisers: Carolyn Stephenson, Jose-Maria Tortosa, John McDonald, Lev Voronkov, Hans Rundberg.
We thank the following for having served as Peace Antennas: Julijana Mladenovska, Giselle Huamani Ober.
With new working board members and advisers as well as four volunteers, the foundation's human resources have grown this year.
The TFF network
As of the end of 2001, TFF consists of a network of 72 people: 2 founders, 7 board members, 31 international advisers, 12 Swedish advisers, 10 Peace Antennas, 4 volunteers and 1 webmaster. See details here.
Highlights from the TFF network this year
Radmila Nakarada was appointed university professor; Evelin Lindner became a doctor in psychology; Else Hammerich worked for month with the Tibetan exile government's Center for Conflict-Resolution; Ann-Sofi Jakobsson, living on Northern Cyprus continued her PhD work on the Cyprus conflict and had a daughter; Ken Coates continued with writings and conferences for the Russell Foundation on important European and international security alternatives; Gerard Fischer continued with civilian reconstruction in the UNMIK mission in Kosovo; Kishore Mandhyan moved from Bosnia to become head of the UN's mission for Croatia; Biljana Vankovska moved from Skopje to work for the Center for Democratic Control with the Armed Forces, DCAF in Geneva; Håkan Wiberg left the Copenhagen Peace Research Institute, COPRI; Anna Coughlin worked with a Red Cross mission in Serbia; Vasiliki Neofotistos left her field studies for her PhD in Macedonia to work at Harvard University; Richard Falk wrote a study on human rights in Israel and Palestine, commissioned by the UN.
Now has an average of about 500 visitors per day, twice as many as last year.
Articles posted on site during 2001: Power, PressInfo, Features, Nonviolence Forum Kalejdoskop etc: around 165. Of these there were 31 PressInfos which were sent to more than 10,000 addresses and forwarded to many others. And there are links to TFF's homepage at 560 sites on the Internet.
36 TFF associates are now published regularly on our site.
TFF co-operated one way or the other with Oneworld, Global Issues, MediaChannel, The EUobserver, Idealist.org & Action Without Borders, The News Insider, Global Policy Forum, New York, Centre for Conflict-Resolution, Copenhagen, Tibetan Centre for Conflict-Resolution in Dharamsala, India, The Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research, Transcend, IUPIP (International University of Peoples' Institutions for Peace), UNESCO Culture of Peace Program, the European Peace University, Schlaining, Austria, and Center for Global Nonviolence, Hawaii.
Through sale of TFF publications plus donations, the foundation obtained 213,000 Swedish kronor or roughly US $ 20,000. Due to the fact that TFF is an all-volunteer organisation, quite a lot was achieved on this year's shoe-string budget.
The year 2001 in summary
An unusual year in many ways, for the world and for TFF. TFF invested lots of time and energy in its website which is now a major site on Internet in its field. No TFF publications on paper appeared this year, but Jan Oberg published about 300 pages in book chapters, newspaper articles, journals etc. We neither got a mission off to Georgia, nor to Burundi. But we did start the project on Gandhi's relevance today and chose the focus of Macedonia (avoiding a larger war) and Yugoslavia (its Truth and Reconciliation Commission). Important contacts were made in Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, and the United States this year.
TFF was at least as visible in the media, particularly outside Scandinavia and on the Internet, as in any of the preceding years.
Perhaps our most important achievement this year was to a) solidify the foundation's competence and b) its advocacy of nonviolence and reconciliation and to promote critical political advocacy around issues such as c) the war in Macedonia, d) the changed foreign and security policies of Sweden, e) the militarisation of the EU, f) the consequences of September 11. Finally, g) we boosted TFF's position on Internet in both qualitative and quantitative terms.
Christina Spännar & Jan Oberg
Co-founder and director
December 31, 2001
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