First Nordic Reunion ever in archipelago paradise

For the first time ever members from the SWYAA from the Nordic countries Finland, Sweden and Norway unite, invited to the picturesque island of Åland located between Finland and Sweden. The true SWY spirit arrived with our guests, ex-PYs from nine countries. The highlight of the reunion was the Hiroshima Memorial Evening were we performed and fund-raised for the earthquake victims of Japan.

Planning for Nordic cooperation between SWYAA
The SWYAAs in the Nordic Countries have long time discussed the importance to cooperate over the Nation borders, since we share a similar culture and life-style. The goal is to support each other when planning the participation of our delegations, to gather strength and inspiration to organize post-program activities. During the last years we’ve had an increased contact and now it was time to gather for the first time.

The initiative for the reunion was taken by Petra Granholm from the Finnish delegation of SWY20 and Jenny Jonstoij from the Swedish delegation of SWY18 who both work for the Åland Island Peace Institute and SWYAA of Sweden and Finland are the organizers. The Island of Åland is the perfect location, where we can enjoy the Nordic summer in the middle of the sea between Finland and Sweden.

Reunion with ex-PYs from all over the world
The reunion soon extended to welcome exPYs from all over the world, and all together 25 persons from nine countries, including Japan, Costa Rica, Bahrain, Spain and Turkey, united at Åland during four summer days in August.

Ex-PYs representing batches from SWY4 until SWY23 experienced the Nordic way to enjoy summer; biking through the landscape, pic-nics in the meadows, garden party with smoked salmon and pickled herring, swimming in the lakes and the sea, island hopping by boat, sauna bathing and of course, the long bright summer nights by the water.

Sharing Japanese Culture and fund-raising for earth-quake victims
The main event during the Reunion was the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Memorial Evening, where SWYAA were co-organizers. In front of a crowd of 400 people, gathered at the harbour of Åland, we performed the impressive Soran-dance and taught how to fold Origami cranes. Matti Karvanen from SWY20 (Finland) shared his experiences of his visit to post-earthquake Japan and we read messages from our friends in Japan to the audience. The evening ended beautifully sending out floating candles of hope into the sea.

The Åland press was very interested in our event and members of the reunion was interviewed in radio and news paper.

As I am writing this, the Nordic Reunion is still continuing as we are travelling by boat to our final island, and we hope for more Nordic cooperations and reunions in the future!

Åsa Danielsson
President SWYAA Sweden
PY SWY10 and NL SWY23