Göran Persson has been Prime Minister of Sweden since 1996 to 2006. He was born in 1949, in Vingåker, Sweden.
After having studied at the University College in Örebro, he embarked on a career in the Swedish Social Democratic Youth League. Thereafter he held several assignments within the municipality of Katrineholm, including as chairman of the Board of Education. In 1979, Göran Persson was elected Member of Parliament. After five years as an MP, he returned to Katrineholm as Municipal Commissioner.
Mr. Persson has said that his tenure as Municipal Commissioner gave him insights that became instrumental for his continued political activities. A key lesson was that society constantly evolves. As he said, “We will always face new challenges. People’s needs and demands grow and change all the time. Previous challenges return.”
The will to assist in improving Swedish society brought Mr. Persson back to Stockholm to take office as Minister for Education and Science. Between 1989 and 1991, he was responsible for matters relating to compulsory and upper secondary school education, vocational training and public education.
Mr. Persson was appointed Minister for Finance in 1994. One of his most important tasks as Finance Minister was to stabilize Sweden’s budget. Mr. Persson was elected Chair of the Social Democratic Party in March 1996.
Later that year, he became Prime Minister of Sweden. He was reelected in 1998 and 2002. Under Göran Persson’s leadership, the Swedish Government has pursed an active foreign policy aiming at promoting international peace and development. Mr. Persson remains strongly committed to, among other things, reducing unemployment, securing the quality of education, improving the integration of immigrants, protecting the environment and contributing to a world in peace and freedom.
Göran Persson’s was the initiator of The Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust in January 26-28, 2000. The response to the Swedish Government’s initiative exceeded all expectations. During the conferences, Stockholm became a meeting place for politicians, decision makers and some of the world’s foremost experts on genocide and other crimes against humanity, as well as for representatives of a range of organisations. People who themselves survived persecution and violation, including during the Holocaust and the genocides in Rwanda and Cambodia, also shared their own experiences.