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Democracy and Folkbildning

Strengthening democratization is part of our educational responsibility as a Folkhögskola.

We believe that the tradition of adult education established as Folkhögskola in Sweden and the Nordic region has the special ability to strengthen civil society and its relationship to representative democracy, and thereby also to parliamentary democracy.

At Sankt Ignatios, we work on democratization primarily in three ways. Firstly, by offering  the Allmän kurs, which focuses on individual development, leading to integration into society. Secondly, through our College courses at the Folkhögskola, which focus on knowledge which deepens a consciousness about tradition, and self-awareness of the individual which makes it possible to better articulate and engage in dialogues with others.

The third way we work on democratization is through establishing folkbildning beyond the borders of the Nordic countries. Our hope is that, in this way, the Folkhögskola as an institution and as a form of education becomes an instrument of democracy with its unique quality which allows it to develop from within civil society.

It is this third form of democratization on whichh we work, under the rubric of “Democracy and Folkbildning.”

Folkbildning and Education for Ukraine

Sankt Ignatios is currently working with two local Orthodox churches in Unkaine to establish a Folkhögskola in the Kiev area. In order to achieve this purpose, in Södertälje we offer Ukrainian refugees education in English as well as in the ideas, leadership, and pedagogy of folkbildning. Upon their return after the war, this education will equip them to help establish this type of education.

In the long run, we will also offer our pastoral-educational program (bachelor’s degree plus Folkhögskola pedagogy) and our parish-educational program (master’s degree plus Folkhögskola pedagogy) for those who wish to become theology teachers with a special focus on adult education upon their return.

In this way, we hope to contribute to the rebuilding of civil society in Ukraine, where the churches urgently need to be equipped not only materially, but also educationally.


Sankt Ignatios Foundation has been engaged since 2014 in strengthening the integration of Ukraine with European Society, trying to embrace all three eastern churches in Ukraine: The Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Ex-Moscow Patriarchate) and the Greek-Catholic church in Ukraine. This project envisions the role of the eastern churches in strengthening the connection between civil society and representative democracy, and how theology can benefit to this.

Project description: The suggestion is a collaborative project between Sankt Ignatios Foundation, and the European Center for Strategic Analytics (ECSA) in Ukraine. Ukraine has a strong civil society, which has survived several transitional phases in society, but it is a society marked by major protests in the last decades. Sweden has been a big donor in the reconstruction of Ukraine, but Ukraine is still suffering from a weak link between civil society and representative democracy. Through this project we hope to contribute to the understanding of how civil society can strengthen representative democracy in a post-war Ukraine, and how respresentative democracy can invite civil society to participate in this over all purpose when war is beginning to decrease.

Purpose and Goals

The aim of this project is to understand how this link functions and how the development of a strong civil society beyond the act of simply protesting may be achievable, and how churches can participate in this. The project has four objectives:

  1. We need a better understanding of why the positive energy of these protests is not channeled into representative democratic institutions. Positive alternatives cannot surface without moving forward in understanding the social structure that creates an imbalance between civil society and representative democracy. Recent years have produced trends in civil society that are difficult to grasp and understand. This seems to be both caused by, and also itself to generate, opinions that have veered from high optimism to profound despair. We have, however, seen a new civic mobilization, worldwide, with notable democratic breakthroughs, which have led to a new dawn for how to support civil society (see Rapport 2015:01 till Expertgruppen för biståndsanalys (EBA)). The first objective is to map out and try to understand this global change and how it has effected Ukraine, prior to the war, and how the churches has participated and responded to this.

  2. The second objective is to take a glance on the present situation in the shadow of the war. Has the conflict weakened civil society, or strengthened it? Another question regards the link between civil society and representative democracy. Has this link weakened or could we project an expectation that civil society will be able to surpass the mere act of protesting, and instead participate in elections? Finally, has the ecclesiastical situation affected this in any direction?

  3. The third objective is to look at new models for democratic participation beyond protesting. What examples do we find on the ground and how can we measure its effect? What other models do we have, as for example Swedish Folkbildning? What kind of theological model will advance civil society to participate in representative democracy?

  4. The final objective deals with the institutionalization of a democracy beyond protests, where we take a closer look on the public role of the church in processes of democratization, which will be deemed public ecclesiology.

Admission & Finance

Admission Period (for studies beginning in August 2023)

The admission period for allmänkurs starting in the August 2023, is now open.

The Admission Process

You apply to Allmän Kurs (General Education programs) via web forms on our website. Once we have received your application, you will be called for an interview and level test where we assess which level of study is most appropriate for you. If you are accepted, you will be offered a place within a few days.

If you have questions regarding the admission process, please contact us at

Application Requirements

There are no formal requirements for entry to Allmän Kurs  at foundation level. A syllabus is created on the basis of each applicant’s educational level. However, since the courses are taught in Swedish, applicants whose first language is not Swedish should have studied Swedish to SFI level C or equivalent. Applicants are called to an interview and level test to assess their ability to participate in the program.

The requirements for entry to Allmän Kurs at gymnasium level is to have studied Allmän Kurs  at ground level, or a different education equivalent to Swedish compulsory school, and be assessed to have language skills that correspond to the requirements set for studies at gymnasium level .


Tuition at Sankt Ignatios Folkhögskola is free for everyone who is a citizen of Sweden or who has a residence permit for Sweden. However, we do charge a service fee for studies at the General Education Program at the Folkhögskola


Service Fees

Participants are required to pay a service fee which covers insurance, refreshments and some materials used by students in connection with their studies.

Programs and courses at campus

Full-time: SEK 1200 per term

Part-time: SEK 600 per term

Programs and courses online

SEK 400

Student Aid

As a participant in our courses you may be entitled to receive financial support from CSN, depending on your educational background and residency status.

Visit CNS to find out if you are eligible to apply.

You can read more about CSN here.