Tandem Leadership

Tandem Leadership is an intersectoral program designed for young leaders and professionals from Finland and Sweden. The participants will participate in an esteemed program, while simultaneously strengthening their bilateral network and becoming more aware of the future challenges to be faced by the countries.


While we acknowledge that close personal ties between the countries can in itself be an important goal, we have also identified the need to use these coming networks as a way to strengthen the countries' abilities to solve shared challenges. Many of these challenges are external, the consequences of living and operating in a world with increasingly fierce global competition. Some are internal, such as the consequences of changing demographics. Since Finland and Sweden face similar challenges and will generate solutions based on a similar history, infrastructure, and societal values, we believe that the networks strengthened through the program will also offer valuable input to these future challenges.

Another purpose of the program, is to offer a platform to discuss important challenges facing the countries in the future. Here we believe that intersectoral networks are essential. The challenges of the future will affect all sectors in society: both private and public, from party politics and research environments, to global businesses and local voluntary organizations. Even more importantly, the solutions to these challenges will by necessity involve intersectoral cooperation.


Every year, Tandem Leadership accepts ten participants from each country. The participants are young leaders and changemakers from Sweden and Finland, in their twenties and thirties, from different sectors of the society. Participants have already assumed a leadership position or are highly likely to do so in the near future. 
The participants are primarily recruited through open applications and recommendations. We put great emphasis on creating a good combination of represented sectors, gender distribution, geographical spread, political affiliation and cultural diversity.

Participants are expected to demonstrate a high level of commitment to the program. The participants are also expected to actively participate in all the meetings, contribute to the assigned tasks and be willing to share their knowledge and experiences with other participants. 

The program

The program stretches over one year, and includes three gatherings, each held over two days. The location of the gatherings moves between Swedish and Finnish venues.  The program is free of charge for the chosen participants.

The program will offer the participants an open forum for discussion with prominent keynote speakers, including presidents, politicians and CEOs from various fields of society.  Among previous speakers you'll find former Prime ministers Göran Persson and Esko Aho, Senior Advisor Sara Öhrvall, professor Soki Choi and former President and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Martti Ahtisaari. The program has also been visited by Crown Princess Victoria and the King and Queen of Sweden. Moderator for the program is Maria Wetterstrand, the former spokesperson for the Swedish Green Party,  who has great experience from both Sweden and Finland.

Part of the meetings will be dedicated to workshops focusing on strengthen the participants’ individual network. . The workshops provide an introductory platform for structured group discussions about Swedish-Finnish cooperation.

Past participants will be invited to join the Alumni Network, which is designed to stimulate further discussion and dialogue after the program has completed. The Alumni Network will meet at least once a year and provides an excellent opportunity to further develop bilateral connections. 

During 2019 the actual program has paused and project management is focusing on the alumni network and new participants will be recruited for 2020. 


The Tandem Leadership program is solidly based on the belief that close personal ties are of paramount importance for the future of both countries. 

While planning and executing the Landmark Year 1809, we noted that the personal ties mentioned are in danger of eroding. Not, perhaps, among the older generation of leaders, but among the leaders of tomorrow. One possible reason is the increased focus on a globalized world. The awareness among younger people of the importance of presenting global solutions to global challenges has decreased, perhaps ironically, the interest in cooperation between Sweden and Finland. 

However, as the Landmark Year further demonstrated, young Swedish and Finnish leaders are also showing a growing interest in each other’s’ countries. Simply put, bilateral cooperation is seen as an increasingly interesting means to developing global solutions and getting viewpoints heard within the European Union. Sweden and Finland can together form an influential entity and achieve better results than what is possible when acting alone. 

The program was founded by project office Tandem at the Finnish-Swedish Cultural Foundation in Sweden in cooperation with Hanaholmen. Previous senior project manager Jessica Melin Hirschfeldt run the project succesfully for six years and also received prize for her work.