Count Folke Bernadotte
The Spirit of a Peace Pioneer
Count Folke Bernadotte af Wisborg was the UN's first official mediator. Tragically, he was also the international body's first peace representative to be assassinated as a direct consequence of his work.
A member of the Swedish royal family and nephew of the King, Folke Bernadotte was a military man with a deep commitment to basic human values. As Vice-Chairman of the Swedish Red Cross during the final months of the Second World War, Folke Bernadotte successfully negotiated with the Nazi regime in Germany to secure the release of 30,000 concentration camp prisoners who were transported to Sweden. The now-legendary "White Buses" operation remains a proud moment in Swedish history and one which has inspired the country to commit itself to play a growing role in humanitarian and peace operations.
In May 1948, Folke Bernadotte became the UN's first official mediator and succeeded in achieving a truce in the first Israeli-Arab war, laying the groundwork for both the UN Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA). On 17 September 1948, a few days before his second plan for a political solution was to be presented to the UN, Folke Bernadotte was assassinated in Jerusalem by Jewish extremists.
The Folke Bernadotte Academy is an expression of Sweden's commitment to international peace and security, and to the legacy of Count Folke Bernadotte.