Pär Stenbäck, born in 1941, is a citizen of Finland. He has a Masters degree in political science and international politics from the University of Helsinki. After six years as a journalist in the broadcasting and print media, he was elected to parliament at the age of 28 and was consequently re-elected four times while as the Leader of the Swedish People’s Party from 1977-85. During his parliamentary career, he was also deputy chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee for nine years, specialising in development affairs. He became Minister of Education in 1979 and Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1982-83, the first to serve after President Kekkonen’s long presidential period.
Mr. Stenbäck left parliament after being appointed Secretary General of the Finnish Red Cross in 1985. In 1987, he was elected Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, spending five years in Geneva during a turbulent time of change and expansion. In 1992, he was appointed Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, the regional body for governmental cooperation between the five Nordic countries.
He returned to his home country in 1997 where he was elected President of the Finnish Red Cross (serving two periods) and working chairman for the Foundation for Swedish Culture in Finland, one of Finland’s largest grant-making foundations.
He served as Vice President for Europe of the International Youth Foundation (Baltimore) between 1996 and 2006. He is a founder and chairman of the Finnish Children and Youth Foundation and is chairing the Foundation for Cooperation between Sweden and Finland. He is also a founder and chairman of the Senate of the European Cultural Parliament. Since 2007, he has acted as monitor of humanitarian agreements between Israeli and Palestinian organisations, on behalf of governments and the International Red Cross Movement.
He was bestowed with the honorary title of Minister by the President of the Republic in 1999 and has an honorary Doctor’s degree from Petrozavodsk State University in Karelia, Russia. Mr Stenbäck is married to Sissel Lund Stenbäck, citizen of Norway, with whom he has two children, Anders (-74) and Matts (-76). His hobbies are literature and history.