Knowledge is the most effective tool we have against racism, according to Sweden’s Culture and Democracy Minister Alice Bah Kuhnke, who announced the initiative.
"We're lacking a knowledge and resource centre and that's why we're strengthening the University of Gothenburg with five million kronor this year," she said.
The national centre’s aim is to spread the use of successful programs and science-based methods to create a more tolerant society.
One of the models that will be expanded is the Tolerance Project, which is based on the so-called Kungälv model, a teaching method aimed at teenagers between the ages of 14 and 16.
The Kungälv model was created in the wake of the brutal 1995 murder of 14-year-old John Hron by four young neo-Nazis in Kungälv, north of Gothenburg. The model has proved successful – today there is no neo-Nazi recruitment in Kungälv – and has been recognized by the UN.
The Tolerance Project’s goals are to increase tolerance and reduce racism and intolerant attitudes among young people, especially those living in intolerant or extremely intolerant environments. It is currently in schools in 20 communes.
“The project uses scientific methods and works with both youth and adults in the area,” said Bah Kuhnke. “It’s important that it be expanded further.”
But she emphasized that successfully fighting racism won’t be done quickly, adding that the government was making a long-term investment in anti-racism efforts in Sweden.
The government has also announced plans to fund a new program to promote research on racism.
And last Wednesday the government announced it would allocate 13 million kronor ($6 million) a year from 2016-19 in their spring budget to educating so called “bridge builders”, who will work to increase knowledge of Roma culture and language in the education and social care sectors.