Frequently asked questions

Answers to some of the most common questions about the Foundation, including how and where we work.

When was the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation established?

The Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation (Dag Hammarskjölds Minnesfond in Swedish) was established in 1962 in memory of Dag Hammarskjöld, the second Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The Swedish parliament took the initiative to set up the Foundation shortly after his tragic death and UN General Assembly Resolution 1757 welcomed its establishment.

Why a foundation in the name of Dag Hammarskjöld?

Dag Hammarskjöld served as Secretary-General of the UN with the utmost courage and integrity from 1953 till his death in 1961, creating standards against which his successors continue to be measured.

He stood firmly by the UN Charter and lost his life in pursuit of dialogue and peace; Hammarskjöld died in a plane crash on a mission to mediate in the 1960’s Congo crisis. For his service, he was posthumously awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Hammarskjöld’s most notable achievements while serving as the world’s top international civil servant include restructuring of the UN to make it more effective, creating the basis for UN peacekeeping operations, and successfully implementing his “preventive diplomacy” in crises from the Middle East to China.

When meeting these international challenges, Hammarskjöld combined great moral force with subtlety and insisted on the independence of his office. In doing so he created a lasting legacy of the role and responsibilities of the international civil servant.

Who governs the Foundation?

We are an autonomous non-governmental organisation with an international board of trustees that governs the work of the Foundation in line with our Statutes. The Statutes of the Foundation were endorsed by the King-in-Council of Sweden on 2 March 1962, establishing an independent foundation operating in accordance with Swedish law.

The Board of Trustees consists of nine members and it includes persons with connections to: the office of the United Nations’ Secretary-General, Uppsala University, the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Association of Swedish Higher Education, and the Hammarskjöld family.

The Board adopts an Annual Plan that provides the basis for the work carried out by the Foundation.

What does the Foundation do?

Working in the spirit of Dag Hammarskjöld, we aim to strengthen policy on international cooperation, development and peacebuilding through dialogue, meetings and publications. Within our projects, we generate new ideas and perspectives to stimulate discussion and action, and we convene a diverse set of stakeholders to advance processes.

We have four thematic focus areas as defined by our Strategic Framework for 2022-2020:

  • Global Governance

  • Peacebuilding

  • Human Rights

  • Climate Action

Our work is carried out in five project areas:

Who does the Foundation work with?

We collaborate with a broad number of partners, including UN entities, UN member states, regional and international organisations, academic institutions and civil society organisations. We can engage in dialogue with all UN Member States, focusing on issues relevant to developing countries.

We have continually worked with and received funding from Swedish governments since 1962, regardless of political party/parties in leadership positions. As an independent foundation we never take instructions from any political or organisational entity.

With our engagement in international policy development, parts of our work involve political questions (e.g. the promotion of human rights or building and sustaining peace) and interactions with political actors. The Foundation itself has no affiliation with any political party, movement, or government in Sweden or internationally. Our engagement is guided by our commitment to uphold the UN charter and internationally agreed norms.

Why does the Foundation work with the United Nations?

Given the name and legacy in which the Foundation works, we have a unique opportunity to provide targeted support to the United Nations. We are invested in efforts to reform the UN Development System to make it better fit for purpose and are committed to supporting a renewal of the organisation, ensuring it retains a central leadership role in the multilateral system.

Our work has throughout the years given us a respected position as a trusted partner in many processes in and around the UN. The Foundation has acted, for example, as a facilitator in preparations for and implementation of the 2015 Review of the peacebuilding architecture, engaging Member States and different parts of the UN system around critical and often divisive issues.

We work with both thematic and organisational issues with a specific focus on transparency and financing of the UN Development System. We are convinced that global problems require global, multilateral solutions and strive to be a valuable partner to the UN system in its efforts to strengthen this role.

Where does the Foundation’s funding come from?

When first established, a public fundraising effort provided the Foundation with its own endowment and today these funds are used as means of security.

The Foundation has since it was established also received funding from the Swedish government. Presently, the financing is decided by the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs based on the Foundation’s three-year Strategic Framework, the Annual Plan and a cooperation agreement.

Under the current Strategic Framework the funding from the Swedish government amounts to approximately 15 million SEK annually, distributed from the official Swedish development cooperation (ODA) budget.

Does the Foundation give grants?

In accordance with our Statutes, the Foundation is not a grant giving organisation and does not provide financial support or scholarships.

Where is the Foundation based?

Our main office, the Dag Hammarskjold Centre, is located in Uppsala, Sweden, where Dag Hammarskjöld spent much of his childhood and which became his final resting place. The Foundation also operates with a liaison office in New York.

From these locations we interact with diverse partners in the UN system, international organisations, academia, the private sector and civil society.