The Swedish Institute Academy for Young Professionals (SAYP)

Young leaders from Sweden, the Baltics, and the Eastern Partnerships region united around human rights

What is SAYP?

The Swedish Institute Academy for Young Professionals (SAYP) helps develop a new generation of leaders – through networking and mutual learning. Young policymakers, public servants and civil society actors develop their capacities to meet the requirements of a modern governance.  


A new generation of leaders with human rights perspective

Throughout 4 years, RWI has been contributing to one of the SAYP programmes – on “Perspectives on Multi-level Governance, Decentralisation & Human Rights”. “Our participants have learned how public administration can protect human rights at multiple levels by applying Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA)”, says Zuzana Zalanova, Director of RWI’s Europe Office, who is in charge of the human rights part of the programme. “Despite their young age, many of the participants already contribute to key reform processes in their countries – be in the government, politics, academia, or civil society” continues Zalanova. One of the key aspect of the programme is development of individual projects by using HRBA.

“Through our project work, participants look at their work and country through human rights lenses to identify an individual challenge their care about and wish to change. The shift in perspective is especially interesting for participants without previous human rights experience, e.g. working on road safety or agriculture,” explains Zalanova.

Zuzana Zalanova
Zuzana and Ola during their online session with SAYP participants.

A unique collaboration with Lund University

As a collaborative venture with Lund University, the SAYP programme is coordinated by Lund University Commissioned Education (LUCE), with two distinct modules provided by RWI and Lund University School of Economics and Management (LUSEM). This collaboration helps integrate human rights principles into modern approaches to public administration. 

Prof. Ulf Ramberg from LUSEM facilitating one of the SAYP sessions.
ola mattison“By combining knowledge from two different research traditions this program offers a unique opportunity to develop knowledge and tools helping you make a difference in practice,” says Ola Mattisson, Senior lecturer at Lund University School of Economics and Management (LUSEM).
“Working together across disciplines is a very fruitful way to strengthen your own ideas and develop new insights. All in all, we share the same practice, then we also need to combine knowledge to deal with the societal challenges,” explains  Mattisson.

“The focus of LUCE is to support capacity building processes, to develop Lund University’s collaboration with professionals and organisations, supporting organizational development locally as well as globally and contributing to the fulfilment of the goals of Agenda 2030. Therefore it is very valuable to meet the young professionals in SAYP, building relationships with them early on in their careers, to learn more about their work challenges, getting their input to our education and research and build life-long relationships and networks between Lund University, our alumni and organisations all over the world,” says Malin Pahlmblad, Project Coordinator, and Andreas Bryngelson, Business Developer at Lund University Commissioned Education.

Bridges between Sweden, the Baltics and the Eastern Partnership region

This year’s participants came from six countries: Armenia, Georgia, Lithuania, Moldova, Sweden and Ukraine. The programme thus enabled sharing unique experience across various contexts and backgrounds. This included various Swedish actors promoting human rights.  

“It’s always a pleasure to meet people that are engaged in societal issues and human rights. Via the SAYP programme, we have the opportunity to share Lund’s work with human rights as a Human Rights City and, at the same time, receive invaluable input from civil servants, researchers, and others, who have got various perspectives from an international context,” says Ulrika Dagård, Strategist Social Sustainability and Human Rights at Lund Municipality.

Ulrika Dagård
Ulrika Dagård is sharing human rights experience of the city of Lund with SAYP participants.
Emma“Participating in the SAYP programme offered me a unique opportunity to develop my professional network and to create contacts for further exchange and cooperation. For my employer, Region Västra Götaland, my participation contributed to the spread of Region  Västra Götaland’s work with human rights in different contexts, and to be further developed through the input and reflections of the SAYP participants,” says Emma Broberg, Regional developer at Region Västra Götaland.

So, what was the experience of SAYP 2021?

What makes the  SAYP  programme  different from other training  programmes you have participated in?

“What makes SAYP unique is the design of the programme, both in terms of its content and the diversity of its participants.  This unique design allows us to look at the issue of human rights from a very different perspective using real life examples, both from the participants and the facilitators. It is a very practical and hands-on approach of integrating HRBA into everyday challenges,” says Omer Noor, Project Manager at Christian Democrats International Center (KIC).

What are the top three things you will take away from the programme to your work and life?

“First is the members of the project. I think they are the future’s best policy makers and human rights defenders in their country.

Secondly, the programme gave me the opportunity and perspective on how to make a good governance with knowledge sharing, learning how to protect human rights on local levels and individual learning. 

Third, the main thing is self-confidence and experience, says Mariami Parkosadze, Chief Specialist of Legal Division,” Tbilisi City Hall.

How will the participants use their knowledge from SAYP?

While Mariami is confident that she can use the human rights knowledge every day in her work at the Tbilisi City Hall, Omer is going to utilise the knowledge in projects outside of Sweden:
“I will use the knowledge that I gained on human rights to further the cause of increasing the participation and influence of women and youth in politics. As I work on the capacity building programmes for youth and women in East Africa I can now adopt a more holistic approach to human rights issues and by virtue of that I can design more sustainable solutions. I am also fascinated with the idea of Human Rights City and plan to work with it in the future.”
The programme has been carried out with financial support from the Swedish Institute.
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