Johan Chytraeus is a Swedish development and human rights practitioner trying to make a difference in war and post conflict zones.
Chytraeus was born in 1979 in Arvika, Sweden. He graduated from Lund University in 2006 with a Masters degree in political science. He has also studied Russian language at Herzen University in Saint Petersburg and Arabic language at the International House in Cairo, Egypt. During his university tenure, he interned as commercial attaché with the Swedish Embassy in Saudi Arabia.
Being eager to write and explain complex issues to a wider public, he took the opportunity to work as journalist for the NWT newspaper enterprise during his university summer leaves from 1998-2006.
During his university studies, Chytraeus was strongly engaged in civic rights issues and especially regarding support to refugees and asylum seekers residing in Sweden.
In 2002, he founded and chaired the Asylum Group (Asylgruppen) in Lund city in order to provide volunteer assistance (food, legal counciling and medical care) to asylum seekers. Although 14 years have passed, the Asylum Group is still active. The same year, Johan also initiated the Refugee Fund (Flyktingfonden) that is raising money for refugee support in Sweden. Also this national fund is still up and running.
After receiving his education, Johan Chytraeus was recruited by the Swedish Liberal Party (Liberalerna) as political advisor. He was later on appointed as member of board of the Swedish International Liberal Centre (SILC) and was during his tenure especially committed to the centre´s work with promoting democracy in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. His international commitment has remained strong and diverse ever since. Johan Chytraeus has several times been nominated by party members to different commissions of trust, such as the European parliament. He also ran for national parliament in 2006 and became the third most voted liberal in his constituency. Making a difference for others, especially for people from social vulnerable social groups, was always his political key priority.
Chytraeus left his job as political advisor in 2010 as he was eager to continue on the path of international work, preferably in conflict contexts.
Johan Chytraeus was in 2010 seconded by the Folke Bernadotte Academy, a Swedish state agency, to work with peace and monitoring issues in south Caucasus. He undertook the position as peace monitor with the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia and was soon promoted to reporting officer. His main focus was to report on humanitarian and reconciliation matters that would guide European decision makers in Brussels on the way ahead regarding the mission and the conflict. Chytraeus also took the opportunity to run the Kazbegi Marathon in Georgia which he won in 2010.
In June 2012, the Folke Bernadotte Academy seconded Chytraeus to the EU Police Mission EUPOL) in Afghanistan. He undertook the position as human rights advisor at the Kabul field office and alsoacted as mentor to the Kabul Police Management on gender and human rights issues. Some of his main personal accomplishments were an increased attention to anti-torture measurements, a systematic gender and human rights evaluation of all police stations in the capital and the opening of a new Gender & Human Rights Office within the Kabul City Police.
In June 2014, after serving peace for four years overseas, Chytraeus decided to take some time off from work and travel the world. He focused on Asia and the Middle East and also returned to Afghanistan as one of very few tourists visiting the country that year. This was also the right time to fulfill good old dreams hence he took the opportunity to study Arabic language at the International House in Cairo.
But Afghanistan was still calling for his professional attention. In December 2015, Johan Chytraeus returned to war-torn Kabul as Swedish diplomat with responsibility for the state-building portfolio at the Embassy of Sweden. He was in charge of 41 million USD, which is about 40% of Sweden's total aid to Afghanistan, aimed to support crucial state-building efforts mainly channelled directly through the UNDP and the World Bank.
Having served peace and development in Georgia and Afghanistan for nearly severn years, Johan decided to change professional theathre and moved in January 2017 to Eastern Ukraine where a conflict is on-going between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukranian government. He is accredited as diplomat to an international peace mission operating by the volatile contact line in the contested area. In his professional role, Johan is addressing conciliation matters, conflict reporting and is regulary leading international fact-finding teams in the conflict zone.
Through out his international career, Chytraeus has continued to educate himself by taking a number of expert courses on peace, reconciliation and human rights matters at institutions such as the Folke Bernadotte Academy, Barcelona Peace Resource Center, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna and the Austrian Armed Forces National Defense Academy.
This is a personal weblog. The opinions expressed here and in presented articles are Johan Chytraeus' own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization, state-body or political party he may be affiliated with.
Photo collage capturing some moments from serving peace around the world.