Today is Twelfth Night, called ‘Trettondagsafton’ in Swedish. Tomorrow is Epiphany and in Sweden, like many places around the world, it is a National Holiday – ‘Trettondagen’. (6 January)
In Sweden, not a lot happens on this day. Unlike the southern parts of Europe where it is the beginning of the carnival season, in the frozen north it is just another day off.
The day celebrates the arrival of the three wise men to Bethlehem to visit the savior in his cradle. These three wise men are said to represent the three continents of Europe, Africa and Asia.
This got me thinking about Sweden’s three wisest living men. Here is my triad – a highly subjective list of names! Who would you add to this list?
Wise man number 1 – Jan Eliasson. A Swedish diplomat who has been Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Sweden’s Foreign Minister and the Chairman of the International Peace Research Institute. He has worked to resolve conflict in Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Kongo, Sudan, Israel – amongst others. Since 2017, there is a Global Leadership Prize named after him.
Wise man number 2 – Anders Hansen. A Swedish psychiatrist, doctor and brain expert. He has written numerous books on how our brain works and led several tv programs on the subject. He has been given several awards, amongst them the Mensa Prize. He is an ambassador for Generation Pep – a non profit organisation that focuses on the mental health and well-being of young people.
Wise man number 3 – Micael Dahlen. A Swedish economist, and Professor at Stockholm School of Economics. His most popular books are Kaosologi, Nextopia and Monster. Kaosologi is about how to change habits, Nextopia is about what he calls ‘expectation society’ and Monster is about his research and interviews with 5 serial killers. He is the only Swede to have interviewed Charles Manson. He is on the board of numerous organisations and has won many awards. He is a popular lecturer, and advisor.
While these three wise men wouldn’t bring gold, frankincense and myrrh, they would bring peace-keeping, mental health and mind-boggling theories.