“Get to know your board members” series:
IFS Board Member Staffan Lindqvist
Where do you work and what is your title?
I am partly the Executive Director of IFS and partly Education Officer in the Swedish Federation of Settlements which is a national federation for about 80 municipal and NGO youth and community centers from all over Sweden.
Briefly summarize your background.
I grew up in a little village in southern Sweden and moved to the city of Lund after finishing high school. In Lund, I attended a Youth worker education and the reason for that was that since I wanted to change the world to the better, working with youth seemed like a good idea. The following ten years I worked at a municipal Community Center focusing on youth empowerment and community work. 1990 I left to become manager of a local Settlement in Lund. I stayed there for another ten years and then went to the university to study sociology and pedagogics for three years. I came back to the Settlement where I put a lot of effort in creating an international network for Youth centers in the Baltic Sea region. This led me to our national federation where I since then been serving as an International coordinator and responsible for further education for our members. This put me in contact with IFS where I got voted in as a board member 2010.
I am still strongly connected to the local Settlement in Lund where I nowadays serve as volunteer and board member.
Describe what you do for IFS and the Swedish Federation for Settlements.
My role in SSF is to supply our member organisations with further education, development projects and possibilities for exchange of good practises. The focus in our work themes are community work, empowerment and inclusion.
As director of IFS, I mainly try to connect our members from all over the world with each other and to develop our organization´s role as a strong voice for our basic values; Democracy, Inclusion and Social justice. We sometimes complain about our lack of resources in IFS, which is a fact when it comes to the economy, but our human resources are vast with so many people and organisations working daily in local organisations to strengthen local communities and individuals in the typical Settlement “help to self-help in the same eye level” way.
To have the possibility to get to know so many people engaged in Settlement work is extremely rewarding and I am very grateful to have this opportunity. And…my initial reason to become a Youth worker still stands, being a part of an organisation that changes the world to the better.