The 2011 Winter Forum posed the question “How can we agree to agree” and this question will shape the Tällberg Foundation work for the coming months leading to the Summer Forum in Sigtuna, Sweden.
The First Winter Tällberg Forum, held in Voksenåsen, Oslo, Norway took place on February 10-12 2011. As with all Tällberg Forums, the overarching question was “How on
Earth can we live together?” and the 2011 Winter Forum posed the sub question
“How can we agree to agree?”. This question will shape the Tällberg Foundation
work for the coming months leading to the Summer Forum in Sigtuna, Sweden.
of venue was significant. Voksenåsen is drop of Sweden within Norway – a gift
from the Norwegian people to Sweden to thank them for
their support during and after World War II.
Voksenåsen was also a stunning beautiful venue for a winter Forum as the
snow drifts piled up against the windows as the
sun streamed in.
gathered Swedes, Norwegians and participants from as far afield as Grenada to
discuss the need for – and means to promote – agreement on systems change to
address mounting risks in our increasingly tightening globalisation. Over three
days, different angles of the questions “How can we agree to agree?” were
characteristic of Tällberg Foundation events, the program was a blend or expert
inputs, panels, conversations in groups and importantly, music and nature. An
early morning nature walk was thwarted by a snow storm, but the sun shone both
through the music, from Rebekka Karijord throughout the three days and
eventually, outside too.
welcome from Sweden’s Ambassador to Norway, Ingrid Hjelt af Trolle, Bo Ekman
reminded us of the flow of historic agreements and the evolution of “ways to
organise ourselves”. The unfolding programme brought together wisdom, experience
and youthful urgency, entrepreneurs, global business leaders, former ministers,
ambassadors between countries and ambassadors to the UN.
opening day of inputs, we examined the human and ecological condition – and
looked closely at three human systems that are in need of change – the energy,
food and finance systems. An evening conversation on inter-generational
understanding was accompanied by Morten Qvenild on the piano. On the second day
the focus was on exploring new ways forward in conversations. Emerging from the
group work was a clear path of exploration for a more co-ordinated and
collaborative approach to solve wide reaching and complex challenges that cannot be handled by politicians or industry
alone. While there are many terms for this new style of governance of human
affairs, it is clear that co-creating between sectors has to solve complex
challenges and is thereby breaking up borders
between countries and sectors, and providing innovative ways to “organise
other agreements or new coalitions bring? New business models and new systems
architecture for delivering human needs in a fair and sustainable way were
explored, but also there were ideas for shaping a natural evolution of both the
free market concept and democracy to support both longer term mandates, and to
bring other sectors to the table to inform politics in a more open manner.
the conversation with clear examples, new and contrasting types of agreements
were presented from the Arctic region and from the Amazon rainforest – both
redefine sovereignty for natural resources, leading the way to understand the
path forward for fragile and scare resources that underpin human development.
An evening conversation presented the story of a new bilateral maritime
agreement between Norway and Russia in more detail – relating the trials and
triumph of 40 years of negotiations and the melting of both politics and sea
ice, was accompanied by Håkon Kornstad on saxophone and a new combination – or
coalition – of a flute and a clarinet.
areas seem far from agreement at present, such as jobless, energy and resource
intensive growth, the difficulty to practice prevention rather than react after
a risk has played out, and the need to inspire and engage society with a wider
understanding of solidarity beyond national borders. Sovereignty and identity
are critical ingredients in how we agree globally: where you stand on an issue
decides where you sit. Different cultures were explored on the last day of the
event, and strongly illustrated this point, with the confidence of different
nations being at dramatically different states
as economic power shifts.
The role of
Western interests in the rest of the world was
also a thorny conversation as the drama of Mubarak’s resignation as President
of Egypt unfolded during the Winter Tällberg Forum. Change requires leaders to
not only openly discuss the global challenges of the time but to recognise
their own role in the status quo. A recurring theme in conversations was the
need to “come out” in defining our own personal commitments to change. How we
agree to agree depends upon an authentic “wish for change” from key actors who
have the knowledge, means and power to make the
change happen. The search for combination of personal commitment and
co-creation set the scene for the work of the Tällberg Foundation in preparing
for the summer Forum in Sigtuna, Sweden in 29 June- 3 July, 2011.