2013 – Jan Eliasson

4 September 2013 at 17:15 Lund University Hall

Read the lecture as PDF

Watch the lecture

Welcome address
Professor Per Eriksson
Vice-Chancellor of Lund University

Ms Lena Hjelm-Wallén
Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs,
Member of the Board of Trustees, Raoul Wallenberg Institute

United Nations – Prevention and Peaceful Settlement of Disputes

Ambassador Jan Eliasson
Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations

Concluding address
Dr Lennart Svensäter
President of the Court of Appeal for Skåne and Blekinge
Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Raoul Wallenberg Institute


It was an energetic and focused Jan Eliasson who adressed a full auditorium at the University Hall in Lund. Outside the building many had gathered who didn´t have a chance to get a seat. Instead loud speakers were put out so that people could listen to the lecture, which had the title “The United Nations and the prevention and peaceful settlement of disputes”.

This year it was ten years since Anna Lindh died, which was solemnly remembered by all during when professor Göran Söllscher´s on classical guitar played Evert Taube´s Nocturn.

After the opening of the lecture Jan Eliasson talked about his relationship to the late foreign minister.

–She died too young and too early, we all know that, he said and emphasized how Anna Lindh´s life and career was reflected in the Raoul Wallenberg Institute´s mission “to promote universal respect for human rights and humanitarian law.”

Jan Eliasson also took the opportunity to read a mail he had received the same morning from the US new ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, who knew Anna Lindh. The mail mentioned Anna Lindh´s warm personality and how much she had meant to the international community. It was read by a moved Jan Eliasson.

The lecture eloquently moved between the world´s hotspots and carried with it Jan Eliasson´s deep believe in the UN as a peace promoter.

–We never hear about all the conflicts that never happen, he said and mentioned several situations and conflicts where the UN had been acting behind the scene.

–Conflict prevention lies in the heart of the UN Charter, he said and held up the charter in the form of a small blue book that he always carries with him. He also repeated what most political science student and humanitarian law students probably could repeat in their sleep:

–“The parties to any dispute shall, first of all seek solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement…or other peaceful means”.

At the end of the lecture the audience was invited to ask questions, and Syria immediately came up.

–UN hasn´t failed yet, we are still in a negotiation process, he emphasized but also admitted that the Security Council has a challenge in showing that it is a relevant actor to uphold peace and security.

After the lecture Jan Eliasson met with students and special guests.

–I very much enjoy coming to Lund, he said. I have been here many times and every time it brings fond memories.