Tarja Halonen, former president of Finland visited Uppsala on May 6, to give the 2012 Dag Hammarskjöld Lecture. Almost 500 people came to the Uppsala University Hall to hear President Halonen speak on the topic of women’s role in the sustainable world.
President Halonen expressed gratitude for having the opportunity to visit the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation and the Nordic Africa Institute, and to participate in the memorial ceremony for Dag Hammarskjöld. She recognized him as an important symbol for Swedish international politics with many successors, but also stressed the importance of a society respecting the same values.
In an interview with TV4, she pointed out some groups in society as having been particularly excluded from discussions on development: “It is the young, the poor and the women. We need to make better use of those human resources. Women might have better ideas on sustainable development and human rights.”
President Halonen is known for her commitment to poverty eradication, sustainability and human rights. To these ends she has served in various capacities. She served as the co-chair of ILO’s World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization, co-chair of the Panel of Eminent Persons of UNCTAD (the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) and co-chair of the UN High-level Panel on Global Sustainability. Currently she is co-chair of the High-Level Task Force for the International Conference on Population and Development. She holds a Master of Laws from Helsinki University.