Birgitta Ohlsson

Director, Political Parties

Birgitta Ohlsson serves as the National Democratic Institute’s director of political parties. Born in 1975, she has over twenty years of experience as a leader at the national level in political parties, leadership, feminism, civil society and foreign policy She entered politics formally in 1999 when was elected president of Liberal Youth of Sweden. In 2002, she was elected for as a member of the Swedish Parliament, where she served until 2018, serving in numerous leadership roles, including in the Committee on Foreign Affairs and as her party´s spokesperson. Between 2010 and 2014, she was the Swedish Minister for European Affairs and Democracy issues, serving as a strong international voice on gender equality, democracy and LGBTI-rights. She has also been the President of the women´s wing of the Liberal Party (2007-2010) and founded an independent Feminist Network, Felira, in 2003.

Birgitta has a strong passion for democracy support, human rights and multilateralism, evident in her service on the board of the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) from 2002 to 2010. Between 2001 and 2010 she also served on the board of Swedish International Liberal Center (SILC), a foundation that works to strengthen political parties and activists in totalitarian states to build democracy. In 2012, she was appointed as one of the Young Global Leaders (YGL) via the World Economic Forum.

After leaving politics in 2018, Birgitta served as acommissioner in the Independent Commission on Sexual Misconduct, Accountability and Culture Change for Oxfam International that presented recommendations on creating a culture of zero tolerance for any kind of sexual harassment, abuse or exploitation in the aid culture. Since 2019 she serves as the chairperson for the foundation  Culture Without Borders which promotes cultural exchanges across national, religious, language and ethnicity boundaries. She also worked as a senior advisor at Prime Weber Shandwick. She published the feminist bestseller Good Girls Revolt in 2017 and the children´s book Live As You Like in 2020 about ten famous Swedish Women like Astrid Lindgren, Ingrid Bergman and Greta Thunberg.

In 2017 Birgitta was awarded the National Order of the Legion of Honour (Ordre national de la Légio 'honneur) by the French President Hollande, the highest French order of merit for military and civil merits due to her longtime leadership and commitment to human rights issues and democracy in Europe. 

Birgitta Ohlsson earned her bachelor´s degree in political science at Stockholm University, and worked as a political editorial writer at Sweden´s leading daily morning paper Dagens Nyheter. She is married to Mark Klamberg, a professor in International Law, and has two daughters. She enjoys reading and writing.

 

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