We who make up Human Dignity are the founder Annika Sundbom Åström, leadership developer, group developer and author, and Mathilda Lindgren, peace researcher, communicator and partner.
Annika Sundbom Åström is a well-renowned authority in leadership, emotional communication and personal growth thanks to her unique method and extensive experience. She always makes sure to be one step ahead of the development of the groups and leaders that she guides. Her unique method implies always taking full responsibility for her projections in relation to those that she leads and their goals. It also implies leveraging great self-awareness, herself creating and expanding on peace to educate the participants to do the same. She has lead several societal development projects, trained and developed over 400 leaders in the private sector since 2003 within the framework of her own company Human Dignity. She has als worked with group- and leadership development at the Swedish Permanent Mission to the UN in 2011. Annika’s courses receive high grades in evaluations, for example, for the total experience (8,5/9), the pedagogics (8,5/9) and the course leader (9/9). She also practices what she preaches in her private life as a mother of five, four of which are adopted, paving the way for confident and unique personalities by developing herself and the love in her marriage. Annika has also authored the book ”Duktig eller Död, en ledares självbekännelse eller jakten på självkärlek” (2012, English translation to come 2017). She has a background as an ICU nurse and she has been an instructor in crisis medicine and war medicine within the Swedish defence.
Mathilda Lindgren has over nine years of research experience with a doctor degree in conflict resolution from the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University. Her dissertation, ”Peacemaking Up Close: Explaining the Mediator Styles of International Mediators” (2016), is one of the first, cutting edge studies on mediator styles of international mediators in armed conflicts. The book explains variations in mediator styles based on evidence from interviews and surveys with over 150 international mediators at various peacemaking organisations such as, for example, the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union and non-governmental organisations like Crisis Management Initiative. Mathilda has taught at Uppsala University and the Swedish Defence College; been a guest researcher at New York University and a member of the Folke Bernadotte Academy’s research group on conflict prevention. Mathilda is also a skilful communicator who brings people together by building relationships. Parallel to her peace research, Mathilda sings and writes in the band Artymove.
Annika and Mathilda have been collaborating since December 2016. Their paths first crossed at an event on international mediation in September 2016 where Annika, in a discussion with Professor Isak Svensson, was encouraged to contact his then colleague Mathilda Lindgren. Isak saw how Annika and Mathilda might share an interest in filling the knowledge gap in university education on the role of emotional communication in peacemaking. Annika had always wanted to work internationally with leadership development in order to get to share with the world that feeling of total freedom and love that she experienced as a child among her relatives. She had also long nurtured a keen interest in collaborating with a researcher in order to systematically capture and share insights of the profound effects of her unique leadership development methods. Mathilda had, on her side, also early on been passionate about international peacemaking, which was clear to her family when she at the young age of four exclaimed toward the TV screen, ”That’s my future job!”, at the sight of the then United Nations Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. She had also, during her PhD studies, felt a growing urge to make her research more practically useful to the peacemaking community. She saw a great need for more research on positive peace, i.e. more than the mere absence of violence; leadership in mediation processes; health and sustainable peacemaking; and the role of the values and world views of peacemakers.
Annika and Mathilda now combine their strengths, interests and networks in a unprecedented collaboration between practical leadership education and coaching, and systematic research and understanding. Annika develops and leads participants by, both privately and professionally, herself practicing what she preaches. This implies that she constantly takes responsibility for her own development in relation to the relevant group and results by using peace as a means to achieve results. Mathilda studies how the leadership development contributes to peace in order to document and share the insights with those who Annika directly works with, with the world, and with current and future generations.