Nordic Horizons has been helping citizens and policymakers learn from Scotland's nearest neighbours for twelve years. Maybe it's time to explain why.
It's twelve years since Dan Wynn and Lesley Riddoch set up a think tank to focus on the policy successes of Scotland's Nordic neighbours. Since then, Nordic Horizons has organised almost 70 meetings - most of them in person until the pandemic lockdown in 2020. Now Nordic Horizons meets online - less disruption and travel for speakers and more access for Scots living outside Edinburgh. We're also producing monthly podcasts of recent events and edited versions of some 'Golden Oldies' - including a talk about Norway's education system where children attend kindergarten (often outdoor) until the age of six - a school starting age the SNP conference is set to discuss in October 2022. It seems many lessons learned over the past decade are still very relevant.
So why did NH start and is the Nordic focus still relevant? Has the group made any real change to Scottish Government policy? What next?
Here's a short podcast with online editor Chris Smith in the driving seat and Steering Group members Mike Danson, Dan Wynn and Lesley Riddoch.
What is Nordic Horizons?
How do the Nordic nations consistently top international league tables?
Between Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland they are the world's best democracy, the best place to be a woman, the best educated people and the happiest. They regularly top UNICEF's child wellbeing index, lead on the Green Transition and have an enduring emphasis on equality that's the envy of the world.
Nordic Horizons is a Scottish-based group that's been interested in learning more from our nearest European neighbours since devolved government resumed 20+ years ago. We've invited experts over to speak in the Scottish Parliament on Norwegian outdoor kindergarten, Finnish prison reform, Swedish electoral systems, Iceland's crowd-sourced constitution and Copenhagen's claim to be the world's first eco metropolis. Since the pandemic, our events have gone online - but all were recorded and will now be available - updated and edited - via this podcast on a monthly basis.