Introducing a TEPSA Member Institute: the Swedish Institute of International Affairs

UIThis year the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (Utrikespolitiska institutet, or UI for short) celebrates its 75th anniversary, making it one of the oldest institutes of its kind in Europe. During all these years, UI has provided an independent platform for research and information on foreign policy and international affairs. The institute’s mission to inform and enrich the public debate on foreign policy is more relevant than ever in today’s globalized society.

Comprised of approximately 40 staff members, UI is an active institute in Sweden, Europe and the world in delivering research, public information, events, and a renowned international affairs library.


Research at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs looks at foreign policy and international negotiations, defence and security, peace and development, democracy and culture, governance and institutions, and globalization and information society. The geographic focus is on Europe, North America, East Asia, and Russia. Multidisciplinarity, geographic and thematic expertise, and clear societal relevance characterize UI research. The researchers regularly comment on current affairs in news media, hold public lectures, and write op-eds and expert opinions for UI and other media channels. The focus is on issues of importance for Sweden and for the Swedish foreign and security policy debate. The geographic programmes enable development of long-term empirical, cultural, and linguistic competencies. UI also has projects that span several continents and themes. Examples of these include internet and democracy, security and development, transatlantic relations, and the role of business in peace-building. Most UI research is published internationally. In-house publications include UI Papers, UI Occasional Papers, UI Briefs, and UI Analysis.

UI offers postdoctoral researchers a chance to carry out research at UI for a period of one to three years. The Programme is financed by the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and is one of few such investments in international studies in Sweden.

Public Information

UI publishes a variety of well-regarded journals intended to improve Swedish public understanding of international events. These include: Världspolitikens Dagsfrågor (“Current Issues in World Politics”), which offers accessible background, understanding, and deeper insight into current issues in world politics; Internationella Studier (“International Studies”), an award-winning UI publication for everyone interested in foreign policy and international topics of the future. It offers analyses, commentaries, and interviews not found anywhere else;  Länder i fickformat (”Countries in Your Pocket”) is UI’s most widespread publication. The series covers all of the world’s more than 190 countries in 145 leaflets, which describe geography, population, culture, history, politics, economy and more, in an easily digestible format; finally, we publish Landguiden (“The Country Guide”) an online version of Länder i Fickformat. Our editors monitor developments in all countries of the world and update the database daily.


Swedish and international researchers, experts, political leaders, and journalists converge at UI for talks and debates about foreign and security policy. There are around 60 lectures, conferences, seminars, professional development days, and meetings on current international issues per year. Some events are arranged by UI only, while others are held in collaboration with other organisations, government agencies or private companies. Events most often take place at UI premises.

Anna Lindh Library

The Anna Lindh Library holds Sweden’s largest collection of defence, security, and foreign policy literature. It is primarily aimed at researchers, students, and journalists, but is also open to the general public. The library is co-owned by the Swedish National Defence College and the Swedish Institute of International Affairs.

Follow Us

At you will find current information about the Institute, our activities and staff. You can also book event tickets, browse publications for purchase in our online shop, access research publications, and watch seminar recordings on UI Play. also hosts our blog, UI-bloggen, with contributions by UI researchers, journalists, experts, and in some cases specially invited guest writers (in Swedish). UI-bloggen aims to create critical understanding of events in world politics. UI has a Facebook page, and you can follow many of our staff on Twitter. The English-language version of the site comprises all of UI’s research, as well as information of and booking details for English-language events. Sign up for our English newsletter and follow our activities!

Recent publications from the Swedish Institute of International Affairs – Summer 2016


Borg, S. (2016) ‘The Arab Uprisings, the Liberal Civilizing Narrative and the Problem of Orientalism’, Middle East Critique, First View April 2016.

This article engages the problem of Orientalism in Western elite foreign policy discourse on the Arab uprisings. Reconstructing discursive representations among US and EU foreign policy elites, it argues that the Arab uprisings were inserted into a liberal civilizing narrative that emphasizes the underlying identity of ‘the Arab world’ and ‘the West.’ In this narrative, human rights play a crucial role. Difference, to the extent acknowledged, is inscribed temporally rather than spatially. Such a narrative thus breaks with Orientalizing ways of representing the Arab world as irredeemably different. Having noticed the hierarchical rendition of subjectivity that the liberal civilizing narrative nevertheless enacts temporally, the article also discusses challenges to the liberal civilizing narrative. It concludes by arguing for a politics of rights claiming approach to make sense of the Arab uprisings.

Bremberg, N. (2016) “Security Community-Building in Times of Crisis: Morocco, the ENP, and Practices of Mutual Responsiveness”, in Rieker, P. (ed.) External Governance as Security Community Building: The Limits and Potential of the European Neighbourhood Policy, Palgrave, 2016.

The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) was initially intended to create ‘a ring of friends surrounding the Union, from Morocco to Russia and the Black Sea’ (Prodi, 2002). Today, however, the ever-worsening security situation in the region clearly shows that the aim has not been achieved. With wars in Ukraine, Syria and Libya, the Union’s neighbourhood can therefore better be described as ‘a ring of fire’. Does this means that the policy has failed and that an alternative policy towards the EU’s neighbours is needed? Or should these developments be seen as temporary setbacks caused by external factors beyond EU control? By comparing the EU’s approach to its eastern and southern neighbours, this volume seeks to answer such overarching questions. The authors find that the EU still has a potential role to play in providing regional security, but that this role also risks being increasingly undermined if it does not increasingly take into account the broader geostrategic realities in both regions.

Sonnsjö, H. & Bremberg, N. (2016) ‘Climate Change in an EU Security Context: The Role of the European External Action Service’. Research report 2016, Stockholm University.

Schmidt-Felzmann, A. (2016) ‘After the war i Ukraine: peace building and reconciliation in spite of the external aggressor’ International Crisis Management. Volume 127: 151 – 161.

The obstacles to sustainable peace building in Ukraine are enormous. The conflict scenario is problematic as it combines elements of traditional inter-state warfare with an intra-state conflict, while at the same time complex domestic challenges have to be overcome. This contribution discusses how and under what conditions conflict transformation and lasting peace in Ukraine can be achieved. It focuses on the challenges posed by asymmetric cyber and information warfare, and on the difficulties of promoting change under conditions of occupation and armed aggression. Divisions within society, both in Ukraine and within the international community, weaken the capacities of domestic and international actors to promote peace in Ukraine in spite of the external aggressor.

Schmidt-Felzmann, A. (2016) ‘It´s never “just business”‘, Global Affairs, 2:2, 115-118.

Rhinard, M. and Nugent, N. (2016 “Is the European Commission Really in Decline?” Journal of Common Market Studies. Available in Early View.

In the academic debate on the relative powers and influence of the EU institutions, it has become common to suggest – especially in the case of advocates of the ‘new intergovernmentalism’ – that the European Commission is in decline. In this article we show that while in some limited respects this is indeed the case, the Commission’s overall position in the EU system is not one of having become a weaker institutional actor. The extent of the losses of its powers and influence tends to be exaggerated, while in some aspects its powers and influence have actually been strengthened. We show this by focusing on three of the Commission’s core functions – agenda-setter, legislative actor and executive – all of which are widely portrayed as being in decline. We incorporate into our analysis both the formal and informal resources available to the Commission in exercising the functions.

Fägersten. B. (2016) “For EU eyes only? Intelligence and European security, European Institute for Security Studies”, Brief, Issue 8: 2016.

Mannergren Selimovic, J. (2016) “Frictional Commemoration. Local agency and cosmopolitan politics at memorial sites in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Rwanda” in Peacebuilding and Friction, London: SAGE.

Fägersten. B. (2015)Intelligence and decision-making within the Common Foreign and Security Policy”, (2015:22epa) SIEPS publikationer.

In 2005, the European Union’s (EU) coordinator of counterterrorism policies quipped that: ‘You can’t get closer to the heart of national sovereignty than national security and intelligence services. Yet in Brussels we have these analysts working together for the first time’.1 Despite the inherent sensitivitiesthat exist within the field, the EU has considerably increased its resources for intelligence sharing andanalysis in the decade that followed this comment. Yet, this cooperation has largely gone unnoticed –within academia as well as in the public domain. This report analyses the organisation and process ofEuropean intelligence cooperation and the effect that this cooperation is having on European foreignpolicy. In the policy recommendations, it is argued that the EU intelligence system – following phasesof boosting efficiency and legitimacy – should now be developed with an eye on the interaction between producers and consumers of intelligence.

Parkes, R. (2015) “European Union and the Geopolitics of Migration”. UI Paper no. 1, February 2015.

For twenty years now, Europeans have been encouraged to view migration as the epitome of globalisation, the triumph of global economic drive over territorial order. So it’s significant that migration is now becoming an object of geopolitical competition. Across the world, countries are not only trying to reassert control of their borders but to use people flows and differences of population size for geostrategic gain. Is this a sign that geography now trumps economics? It suggests rather that US-led globalisation, as an organising principle of world politics, is losing its hold. This has triggered competition to promote alternative units and modes of power. Migration, as a culturally and ideologically-loaded form of cross-border interaction, has become a particularly strong vector in this reshuffle. This paper charts the challenges facing the EU in the field of migration, and suggests how Brussels might promote its own form of order.

Past events at the Swedish institute of International Affairs – Summer 2016


Seminar: “British Perspectives on Europe´s External Challenges”, Wednesday 20 April 2016, The Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Stockholm.

The Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) held a seminar on Europe’s external challenges with David Lidington, Minister of State for Europe of the United Kingdom.

More on the seminar here.

View the seminar on YouTube.

Seminar: “European Foreign Policy in Times of Turnoil”, Tuesday, February 23, 2016, The Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Stockholm.

In year 2015 we saw a series of developments that on their own posed a challenge to European capacity and coherence. The surrounding ring of friends that the EU has hoped for now resembles a ring of fire with conflicts from Ukraine to Libya. Does the EU stand a chance to manage these simultaneous conflicts and the developments they unleash, such as migration? What can we learn from last year’s foreign policy efforts that are relevant for this year’s drafting of the new European Union Global Strategy? And what role does Sweden play in the making of EU strategy and foreign policy?

The Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) held a discussion on the state of EU foreign policy, as the European Foreign Policy Scorecard 2016 was presented.

More on the seminar here.

View the seminar on YouTube.

Seminar: “Security in the Mediterranean: What Role for the EU?”, Thursday 21 January 2016,  The Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Stockholm.

 In the summer of 2015, the EU launched a naval mission to combat human smugglers and conduct sea rescue operations. What other tools and assets can the EU deploy in order to promote security in the Mediterranean region? What lessons can be drawn from past experiences? What should the EU focus on in the future?

The Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) held a discussion on the current security challenges facing the Mediterranean region and the role of the EU in tackling them.

More on the seminar here.

View the seminar on YouTube.

Seminar and workshop series – “Room for Reform?” at the Swedish institute of International Affairs

UIThe European Union (EU) is currently under pressure to respond to several simultaneous challenges. How to fix migration, protecting common values and stabilizing the Eurozone are examples of current questions. These are issues that touch upon the existence and principal aims of the EU; to promote its shared values, peace and wellbeing. The answers to these questions often suggest that reform is needed. Often, however, such reform suggestions are highly contrarious. Furthermore, the legal and political room for further reform of the EU can be questioned.

Throughout 2016/2017 the seminar and workshop series “Room for Reform?”  will discuss current challenges in the European Union (EU) as well as new and innovative ideas on future reform. The series is led by the Europe programme at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI).

International experts, scholars, policy makers and the public will participate in the discussions and cooperation with other institutions, research environments and relevant actors will be sought depending on issue area. The following major themes will be addressed in various formats and with different partners:

* The economy and the Eurozone: How secure future growth and trade within and beyond the EU?  Can the long term stability of the common currency be improved and to what price?

* Movement and migration: How should migration to Europe and movement within the EU be regulated? Can Schengen function without a truly common external border?

* Values and legitimacy: Common European values are increasingly contested by member state politicians. How can values be safeguarded and what do value conflicts mean for the legitimacy of European integration?

* Security and safety: What role should the EU have in the provision of security and safety of its citizens in times of terrorism and hybrid threats?

Past events at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) – Autumn 2014


Seminar, “The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – Challenges and Opportunities Ahead”
13 October 2014

The Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI), in collaboration with the US Embassy in Stockholm, organized a seminar on the US-EU trade and investment partnership, (TTIP). Discussion covered such timely questions as what are public attitudes towards free trade agreement between the US and Europe? What are the opportunities and challenges ahead in light of the new European Commission and Parliament? Will the mid- term elections for US legislators change the composition dynamics to the benefit or detriment of TTIP passage?

The full seminar is available on Youtube.

Also view a UI Focus interview with Bruce Stokes, Director of global economic attitudes, Pew Research Center, on the topic.

Seminar, Transatlantic Trends Survey 2014
11 September 2014

The Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI), the German Marshall Fund and the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs held a seminar on the results of the Transatlantic Trends Survey 2014.
Transatlantic Trends is an annual survey measuring public opinion in the United States, Turkey, Russia, and ten European Union member states: France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The survey explores how Europeans and Americans view the transatlantic relationship and different challenges facing the world. Sweden takes part in the survey for the fourth time this year.
The discussions covered: what actions are Europeans prepared to take to address the crisis in Ukraine? Is the EU doing enough to combat the economic crisis? Where do Americans want to work with Europe, and where do they want to work independently?

The full seminar is available on UI-play.

A UI Focus interview with Constance Stelzenmueller, German Marshall Fund can be found on Youtube.

Past events at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) – Winter 2014/15


“Russia: Eurasian and Nationalist Visions for Future Russian Policy”
12 February 2015

The Seminar on “Russia: Eurasian and Nationalist Visions for Future Russian Policy” took place at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) on 12 February 2015. UI organised a discussion on Russian nationalist and Eurasianist visions for the future of the country and its policy. Eurasianism – an ideology that gives Russia a unique position of an Asian as much as a European country – has become an important part of Putin’s foreign policy during his third presidency. At the same time, on the domestic scene a new generation of Russian ethnic nationalists challenges the state system and current Russian policy. How does President Putin respond to the new challenges?

More information can be found here.

“EU as Global Actor”
11 February 2015

The Seminar, “EU as Global Actor” took place at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) on 11 February 2015. The workshop focused on the trends in the development of the European foreign policies, and an assessment of the performance of the EU as a global actor, as the European Foreign Policy Scorecard 2015 is presented.How did the EU as a whole respond to the global and regional challenges in 2014? Has the EU changed its policy course? What role did Sweden play in EU’s common foreign policy?

More information can be found here.

“The World 2015: Challenges to EU Foreign and Security Policy”
22 January 2015

The Seminar, “The World 2015: Challenges to EU Foreign and Security Policy” took place on 22 January 2015.
The Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) invited a wide audience to a discussion on EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the role of the European External Action Service (EEAS), their current developments and future challenges.

Discussions covered: What is the current state of institutional development in EU foreign and security policy? How will the EEAS manage to respond to the issues it is faced with? What are the most important challenges, and can these be dealt with in the prevailing setting?

More information can be found here.

The full seminar is available on YouTube.

Russia 2015: Key Domestic and Foreign Policy Challenges
22 January 2015

The Seminar on Russia 2015: Key Domestic and Foreign Policy Challenges was held at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) on 22 January 2015.

Lilia Shevtsova, associate fellow at Chatham House presented on the substance and key arguments of the new Kremlin Strategy for Russian consolidation and foreign policy. Other issues covered were; what are the mechanisms of the new patriotic mobilization; the survivability of the political regime and the roots of the tension between Russia and the West? What does the Russian society think?

More information can be found here.

The full seminar is available on UI-play.

Past events at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) – Autumn 2014

Seminar, “The New EU Institutions; What Changes ahead?”, Mark Rhinard
25 November 2014, Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI)

The Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI), in cooperation with the Stockholm University Graduate School of International Studies, hosted a discussion on the latest trends shaping how the EU institutions operate and interact.

Much has changed in the EU in 2014. Elections to the European Parliament altered the contours of its party politics. A new Commission President was appointed using a new nomination system. And both the European Council and External Action Service (EEAS) changed leadership, with heightened expectations. What can we expect from the EU’s institutions in the years ahead? Will the Commission become more politicized? Will the European Council continue to be a driving force? Will the EEAS finally reach its potential? How can the EU shore up its economy, regain the confidence of its citizens and manage security threats in the ‘near abroad’?

Speakers: Neill Nugent, Emeritus Professor of Politics and Jean Monnet Professor of European Integration at Manchester Metropolitan University.

David Earnshaw, Chief Executive Officer of Burson-Marsteller in Brussels.

Michael Shackleton, Professor of European Institutions at Maastricht University. 

Annegret Bendiek, Deputy Head of Research Division at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.

Francis Jacobs, Head of the European Parliament Delegation to Ireland.

Helene Sjursen, Professor at ARENACentre for European Studies at the University of Oslo

The seminar was moderated by Mark Rhinard, Senior Research Fellow and head of the Europe Research Program at UI.

Seminar, “The Dynamics Of Defence Cooperation”
17 November 2014, Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI)

The Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) was the host of a discussion that brings together international perspectives on the possibilities and limits of Swedish defence cooperation.

Based on the premise that peace and security can only be achieved in cooperation with others, Tomas Bertelman was commissioned by the Swedish government to make an overview of Swedish defence cooperation, its present and possible future. The report was presented to the Swedish Government on 29 October 2014. What are the possibilities and limits of defence cooperation between the Nordic countries, the EU and NATO? What would be the possible consequences of that? Is this analysis shared by our neighbours?

Presentation by: Tomas Bertelman, Author and former Ambassador.

Comments by: Alyson Bailes, Adjunct Professor at the University of Iceland, former Director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and British Ambassador to Finland.

Kestutis Jankauskas, Lithuanian Ambassador to NATO.

Eugeniusz Smolar, Senior Fellow at the Polish Institute of International Affairs in Warsaw, and former President of the Center for International Relations.

The seminar was moderated by Anna Wieslander, deputy Director at UI.