The 4 moderators

Erik Toshach

Nationality: Swedish. Present residency: Istorp, Sweden. Year of birth: 1974.

“Though I look forward to this event immensely, I really have no idea of what to expect of the outcome and that makes it all the more exciting! To my mind, the most valuable knowledge, the most interesting experience is always the unexpected one. I hope that I will be able, as moderator, to handle all the energy, ideas and opinions that the participants are bringing to the table. I believe that I am a good listener but also someone who can ask critical questions and help people to better define their standpoints. I have an academic background but work mainly in the service industry, where I am also an active workers union representative. This means that I am used to interacting with people from many different walks of life. For me, every standpoint should be examined both in terms of truth and in terms of ethics. Therefore, I also believe that the problems faced by society in the 21st century are intertwined both with the development of science and with the eternal question: What does the good life mean for me personally and what does it mean for humanity as a species?”

Mimmie Håkansson

Nationality: Swedish. Present residency: Gothenburg, Sweden. Year of birth: 1989

“I have been interested in social issues, human rights and antiracism as long as I can remember. Born in India and raised in a small town in southern Sweden I experienced a lot of xenopbia during my early years. These experiences pushed me to be an activist fighting for equality.

I have a background in civil society where I have worked mostly with unaccompanied minors and refugees. I currently work at the University of Gothenburg focused on student exchange mobility and widening participation with a special interest in intercultural communication.

I am extremely excited to be part of the second IYTT and to meet all dedicated and driven participants and to hear about the ideas and perspectives of this diverse group of young people from all over Europe. I will bring my own experiences of diverse communities, working with young people from various backgrounds, sharing my vision towards an inclusive society.”

Jonathan Geib

Nationality: United States. Present residency: Kungsbacka, Sweden. Year of birth: 1979.

“How can the political will and lateral thinking required to deal with increasingly intractable societal problems—including novel threats to a democratic and open society—be catalyzed through creative participatory frameworks such as the IYTT? In the moment of this year’s conference, how do diverse knowledge perspectives and life experiences meet in dialogue, how are they coordinated between, and how are they generative of new ideas? As a researcher with a focus on urban participatory processes, but equally as a world citizen, I am eager to be part of supporting this complex process as a moderator. I bring a fundamental curiosity and striving for cross-border engagement, creative thinking, and complex issues. My own perspective has been radically enriched and expanded over the years through the influence of great teachers, colleagues, and collaborators, travels abroad, colleagues from around the world in an international masters program in Belgium, and an EU-supported network PhD project which brought me to Sweden nearly seven years ago. And what an opportunity, now, as the stakes have risen so steeply, to listen to young European perspectives in dialogue! I look forward to—in this singular moment—drawing on my varied experiences in order to support the experiences of participants and their contributions to the collective process.”

Urban Strandberg

Nationality: Swedish. Present residency: Gothenburg, Sweden. Year of birth: 1966.

“Born in 1966 and quite young when starting to take an interest in societal issues and politics, some of my formative milestones include the fall of dictatorships in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Chile, and Argentina, to mention a few notable examples. The fall of the autocratic regimes of Eastern Europe in 1989 was the most powerful change-maker in my mind. That sister and brother Europeans in Eastern Europe were eventually offered a chance to live and dwell in an open society was of tremendous importance for me. Now cultural life, media, academia, business enterprising, bureaucracies and legal systems, as well as representative government, could be organized on the grounds of legality and rule of law. Now social institutions could be developed to fairly support humans individually and in groups in their life projects. The political battles could now be about ideological valuations and interest-based standpoints, not a fight between an open society and an autocratic one. People would still have disagreements but would agree on the richness and potential of an open society. Now, more than 30 years later, I am scared and worried that regimes, political parties, and individual citizens in Europe and overseas are attracted to old autocratic values. My hope for the conference is that all the lovely participants will contribute fresh arguments and ideas on how to sustain the resilience of open society values and its social institutions. I will bring my enthusiastic personality, my curiosity of other people and their ideas, and my ability to bring the very best out of other people.”

Want to know more about the conference participants?

Read here