(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Mr Minister, (Finlands utrikesminister Alexander Stubb)
Ladies and gentlemen,
A couple of years ago I was hiking in the mountains in Sweden, and came to think about our role models and the so called heroes of today. I became very upset. A couple of the new TV shows such as “Big Brother" came to my mind. You have all seen them, I guess. Bad manners and being an unscrupulous friend is highlighted as a role model.
By being a scout and living through scout values, I have met so many true heroes around the world. I have seen young people assuming full responsibility far beyond any reasonable expectations. These are excellent role models. Such heroes should be more elevated and celebrated.
In my family we have always been strongly committed to leading young people. My grandfather, King Gustaf VI Adolf, was chairman of the Swedish Sports association. My father, Prince Gustaf Adolf, was chief scout in Sweden and my mother, Princess Sibylla, served as chief girlscout. My engagement in young people comes from a long tradition within my family.
I am proud to be able to call myself a scout. Over the years, I have had the chance to witness the widespread impacts of the scout Movement. The International Scout Movement is not only the world's largest youth movement, but also a truly global organization. Within the scouting framework young people may encounter fellow scouts from far, sharing their thoughts and beliefs, and being involved in mutual learning.
This is the reason why I wanted to do something concrete to highlight all the true young role models and heroes. My aspiration was to spread the values of scouting in the Swedish society through leadership education and value based leadership.
When I celebrated my anniversary in 2006 a foundation was created. The foundation was initiated by the scouts of Sweden and quickly received strong support from the business sector. The aim of this establishment is to support leadership training for young people based on good scout values and to highlight outstanding young leaders.
This is done first and foremost through two areas of activities. The first one is to every year organize seminars, just like this one, on value based leadership at the Royal Palace. The participants are key people from the business and public sectors, as well as from volunteer organizations.
The second activity focuses on advanced training of young people in value based leadership. The schooling is run by scouts for young leaders from a vast number of different volunteer organizations. The program concentrates on leadership in an international, intercultural and global world. It is linked to the business sector through a mentorship program. Each participant is guided by a senior person within a company. So far, we have educated more than 100 young leaders.
Together with the Scouts here in Finland, a first international training program has been established, where Swedish and Finnish participants alongside with trainers meet and work together in aspiration to become good leaders. We are all good neighbours, and to a great extent people in Sweden and Finland share the same culture and values. However, there are also some cultural differences that contribute to making this course more dynamic and interesting.
The connection to the scout movement in Sweden is crucial for the Foundation. The scouts are instrumental in executing the leadership courses and the network of young people that the scouts bring to the Foundation is essential.
The issue of leadership based on good values is important for all of us, and the Foundation has been very well received in the Swedish society.
I hope this seminar will inspire you to spread the concept of value based leadership among young people in your companies and organizations.