Connecting Countries in Dialogue
The Aurora Forum is a meeting of minds interested in security and prosperity in the region, stretching from the United Kingdom across the High North to the Nordic & Baltic countries.
The Aurora Forum began in 2017 from an initial idea that a gap existed for such a forum between the United Kingdom, Nordic and Baltic countries and secondly that it could also fulfil that role if delivered in a similar format to other well established, successful and long running bi-lateral conferences between the United Kingdom and other countries. To that end, the first Forum of 2018 was held at Hopetoun House in Scotland with the principal aim of building new relationships and fostering existing ones between the United Kingdom and the Nordic and Baltic countries. Traditions promoting this region as an area of free trade and shared security, with strong political and economic links to the United Kingdom, date back nearly 900 years.
The Aurora Forum’s underlying goal is to capture the spirit of these traditions in today’s context, establishing a platform through which relationships between the countries can be reinforced and strengthened.
The Forum brings together high-level diverse individuals from a cross section of sectors including business, politics, academia, opinion formers, policy advisors, think tanks and culture. This in order to address and discuss relevant issues of the day such as geo-politics, climate challenges, defence & security, trade & business, research & innovation, technology & digital transformation, energy & infrastructure, sustainability, corporate resilience and economic growth.
The Forum has the support of the United Kingdom Foreign & Commonwealth Development Office and Foreign Ministries of the Nordic and Baltic countries but remains independent of Government. The Aurora Forum is delivered as a result of the sponsorship support of the business partners of the Forum. In place there is an Advisory Committee who support the co-chairmen in the planning and delivery of the Forum.
The Aurora Forum works because it holds to the simple model of meeting face to face, where participants collaborate on the programme reflecting the interests and priorities of those attending. Sessions are run under Chatham House Rule to ensure open and frank dialogue. It is by invitation and participants enjoy the unique and friendly atmosphere, which allows for a relaxed and informal approach. For the programme of October 2020, a new hybrid/virtual format was necessary in order to ensure the continuation of the Aurora Forum into 2021. This was deemed a great success despite the challenging circumstances faced by all.
The benefits of the Aurora Forum can be described as great international networking.
“The Aurora Forum fosters dialogue on the big international economic and security challenges and opportunities among the political, diplomatic, academic and business communities from the UK, Nordic and Baltic countries. This like-minded community will be even more important to the UK post-Brexit.”
Lord Sedwill (Mark)
“The Aurora Forum is a one-stop-shop for informed perspectives from around the region. Although the recent two-day event was by necessity virtual and so lacked the usual face-to-face networking element, it was still a feast of high-level thinking on today's (and tomorrow's) big issues.”
Executive Editor, The Economist
"The Aurora Forum has already established itself as a key part of the relationship between the UK and Nordic and Baltic countries. There is an excellent atmosphere of trust and mutual respect which makes it possible to share analysis of tricky issues and exchange ideas on how to tackle them."
President of the Resolution Foundation
“This is a forum that is continuing to bring the UK, Nordic and Baltic countries together in dialogue. Building on 900 years of free trade and shared security whilst bringing together a cross section of high level attendees discussing key issues of the day.”
Mr Helge Lund
Chairman, BP p.l.c.
“The Aurora Forum is of great value as an official and structured dialogue between the UK and the Nordic-Baltic states. The Forum focuses on our shared values, common goals and challenges as it brings together the public and private sectors in an excellent way.”
H.E. Ambassador Wegger Chr. Strommen
Norwegian Ambassador to London
“It was a pleasure to participate for the first time in the Aurora Forum, as a panellist. Our relations with Scandinavia and the Baltic States are particularly important at this time, now we have left the European Union. We need bodies like the Aurora Forum to keep these strong and friendly links. We have exceptionally strong common values and interests. I hope to remain a supporter going forward.”
Rt Hon Greg Hands MP, Minister of State, Department for International Trade
“The Aurora Forum bringing the UK, Nordic and Baltic countries together is an exceptional space in which the big issues of the day are debated with the most insightful minds. It’s a forum where new thinking is developed and where change happens.”
Ms Seema Malhotra MP, Labour Member of Parliament and Shadow Minister for Department of Works & Pension
“The political events of recent years and extreme political fragmentation pose multiple challenges to our societies, while the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation. This Forum provides an excellent opportunity to reflect on the complex security challenges faced by Northern Europe's region and leverage leaders and experts' perspectives from various sectors: business, government, and academia. Participating at the Forum also provided new valuable insights on security and defence issues that are of particular concern to the Baltic countries’ audience.”
Ms Monika Garbačiauskaitė-Budrienė, Director General, Member of EBU Executive Board, Latvia
“A highlight for me was the ability of the organizers to create online the same cosy and intimate atmosphere that we have been accustomed to in these last years at Hopetoun House. Although I felt sorry not to be able to meet face to face, I immensely enjoyed the intellectual power of the discussions, the scope of analyses and the chats online. Content-wise, I eagerly followed the discussions about the future of the UK identity, how it would be created and what it would consist of after Brexit. I very much enjoyed listening to Minister Artis Pabriks, whose contribution was very insightful and thought provoking. So, for a while the vibe of Hopetoun House could be felt in my own kitchen at home. Thank you for that!”
Ms Eeva Eek-Pajuste,
Director of the Lennart Meri Conference, Estonia
"The recent Aurora Forum event in which I participated, did a superb job at creating a safe space to discuss difficult and sensitive issues despite being run virtually. The calibre of the discussants was excellent, generating new ideas and providing a rich environment to build understanding of the topics at hand. And the moderators did a superb job of bringing in other participants and other views to create a high quality of conversation and debate. Thank you."
Discover more about the Aurora Forum