Focus on human rights and leadership

Anna Lindh Academy was established in 2014 with the goal of working in the tradition of Swedish leadership for democracy and human rights, as personified by the likes of Dag Hammarskjöld, Raoul Wallenberg, Folke Bernadotte and, in recent times, Anna Lindh.

Focus on human rights and leadership

The issues which the Academy highlights are growing in importance. The training is a response to increasing demands to act from a broader social perspective as faced by today's leaders. Demands that come from customers, co-workers and regulators. The frameworks which govern companies and organisations' sustainability work are becoming more comprehensive and detailed. Issues can no longer be delegated to the sustainability or CSR policy functions; they need to be part of leadership's core.

Undoubtedly, the Academy has been founded at a time when issues on leadership, human rights and democracy are being more commonly discussed in our society. External and internal audits will become more frequent; issues will become more complex; and the need for personal responsibility will be greater.


The leadership programme aims to strengthen participants' individual leadership skills and also to inspire dialogue across sectors. A central objective is to create a neutral arena for meetings and the exchange of experiences and ideas about values, human rights and democracy. The training should also broaden participants' networks.

Target group

The training is aimed at managers working in organisations with international operations in the private, public and non-profit sectors. Participants are generally 35-45 years of age and hold managerial positions. Examples of organisations whose employees have taken part in the training: Stora Enso, Volvo, Amnesty International, Swedish Armed Forces, Sida (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, E.ON, Telia, Skanska, Médecins Sans Frontières Sweden, the Red Cross and Swedbank.


Participants are nominated by their employer, after which the Academy makes the final selection.


The training programme is one year in duration and runs during a single calendar year. During the training, the participants (15-20 persons, evenly distributed between the private, public and non-profit sectors) meet five times for two days on each occasion. The training is conducted in partnership with Malmö University.

Each course is based on a specific theme within human rights and comprises theory sessions, case-based group exercises and inspirational lectures by leading experts.

Focus on personal leadership

The development of the participants' individual leadership skills runs like a thread through the training, where the different course sections are connected to each participant's role and leadership responsibilities. Many of the discussions focus on personal responsibility and how it relates to the employee's loyalty to his/her duties and the organisation for which they work. Discussions on real leadership dilemmas are a very valuable part of the training programme. One of the Academy's main goals is to help participants learn about and from each other.


Before each course, participants will prepare a homework assignment relating to leadership. They will later report on it as part of the course.

Field trips

The group also takes part in a week-long field trip. The field trip gives the possibility to engage in practical rights-based work in complex markets. It is optional to participants. The destination for 2015 and 2016 was Nairobi, Kenya. The destination for 2017 and 2018 is Pretoria/Johannesburg, South Africa.


The Academy has signed a number of senior mentors to the programme, whom participants can meet regularly during the training.

Alumni programme 

After the training, participants become part of a long-term alumni programme which aims to maintain and develop the networks created during the course.