Leadership in Action: Jan Eliasson

February 20, 2024  • Aspen Ministers Forum (AMF)

Former Swedish Foreign Minister and Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations Jan Eliasson has spent his life committed to diplomacy and peacekeeping. Whether negotiating in the desert of Darfur or in the markets of the Middle East, the lessons learned along the way are crucial for those seeking peace and stability in a volatile world. In the first episode of season three of our Leadership in Action series, The Bertelsmann Foundation and the Aspen Ministers Forum are pleased to explore and share his story. 

“What you also will experience is the enormous joy of a family reunification, or thousands of refugees crossing a border after an agreement. Or prison of war exchange with families reuniting…most important of all, the silence of guns, and the fact that you know that children can go to school and that people can live normal lives,” says Eliasson. “I think that we should keep that in mind all the time. The horrors of war and the beauty of peace.”

In this third season, Leadership in Action reveals the approaches of skilled negotiators and practitioners, as they attempt to solve some of the world’s most intractable challenges. In the months ahead, we will release new episodes featuring Ugandan opposition leader Bobi Wine, who takes us on a harrowing journey from repression in the streets of Kampala, to mobilizing an entire nation in the fight for democracy.  We will also examine the history of the peace talks of the Israel-Palestinian conflict with former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and the leadership that is needed for a better future on both sides. 

Here is Jan Eliasson’s story, in his words.

Watch more videos from the Leadership in Action series here.  Minister Eliasson, Minister Livni, and Bobi Wine are participants in the Aspen Ministers Forum, which is a nonpartisan initiative of former Foreign Ministers from around the world. The group meets regularly to engage in roundtable discussions where participants leverage their history of constructive negotiations, policy acumen, and continued influence to develop new strategies that address difficult global problems.  Learn more about the Aspen Ministers Forum here.