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Recipients over the years

Swedish Woman of the Year since 1989

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HRH Crown Princess Victoria

H.K.H. Kronprinsessan Victoria; Foto: Elisabeth Toll; Copyright Kungl. Hovstaterna

H.K.H. Kronprinsessan Victoria
Foto: Elisabeth Toll
Copyright Kungl. Hovstaterna

HRH Crown Princess Victoria was awarded the distinction of Swedish Woman of the Year 2021 during a ceremony at the museum Millesgården in Stockholm on a lovely September afternoon. She was nominated by Barbara Osher, the founder of SWEA San Francisco and Sweden’s honorary consul in San Francisco. The motivation presents the Crown Princess as representing everything that SWEA identifies with: a contemporary, modern Sweden with openness, inclusion, environmental thinking, and care, qualities that members in SWEA take with them into the world in a global sisterhood across borders, which clearly includes our Crown Princess.

More info in Swedish: SWEAs webpage about Woman of the Year 2021

Pia Sundhage


Pia Sundhage has been awarded the distinction for her successful career in the world of soccer. Throughout her career, she has put Sweden on the world map. She has given a face to women’s soccer and has made a strong contribution to growing interest in the sport. After assignments in Sweden and US she is at present head coach of the Brazil women’s soccer team. Her contributions make her a shining example of a Swedish international woman.

More info in Swedish: SWEAs webpage about Woman of the Year 2020

Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg

Photo: Livoeian, Shutterstock

What began as a school strike outside the Parliament building in 2018 led, among other things, to to the UN climate summit in Katowice and the World Economic Forum in Davos. Greta represents the younger generation who no longer accepts the status quo, but acts rather than watches. Through her firm position, she has inspired people around the world to act for change here and now. SWEA International, as a global organization, honors Greta for her courageous efforts as an influencer in the environmental issue internationally.

More info in Swedish: SWEAs webpage about Woman of the Year 2019

Ulrica Hydman Vallien

Ulrica Hydman Vallien
Ulrica Hydman Vallien is posthumously awarded the distinction of Swedish Woman of the Year 2018 for her highly successful work as an artist and designer. After completing her studies at University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, where she specialized in ceramics and glass, she has made Sweden famous to a large international audience through her distinctive and unique art. She was a colorful artist who made her work available to all, and her glass work featuring snake and tulip motifs can now be found in homes around the world. Her work will be preserved for posterity.

More info in Swedish: SWEAs webpage about Woman of the Year 2018

Nikoo Bazsefidpay

Nikoo Bazsefidpay, ÅSK 2017
Nikoo Bazsefidpay founded the organization Tandläkare utan gränser (TLUG) in 2008, after completing dental studies at the Karolinska Institute. TLUG is an independent nonprofit organization that has worked since 2009 to promote oral health in countries with a shortage of dental resources. Twice a year, TLUG, whose motto is that everyone is entitled to a healthy oral health, arranges for groups of Swedish volunteer dental professionals and students to travel to Nepal, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe. While undertaking these expeditions, the team offer free emergency and preventive dental care, as well as oral health education. The work of TLUG is supported by sponsors, members, and volunteers.

More info in Swedish: SWEAs webpage about Woman of the Year 2017

Maria Strømme

Maria Strømme, ÅSK 2016
Maria Strømme received the award in 2016. Maria became professor of nanotechnology at Uppsala University in 2004, becoming Sweden’s youngest professor in an engineering field. Maria’s focus is to find solutions to human problems. Her research group’s invention, a new porous material called Upsalite®, has become a worldwide sensation. Upsalite® is used to help the body to assimilate poorly soluble drugs.

More info in Swedish: SWEAs webpage about Woman of the Year 2016

Petra Wadström

Petra Wadström; Foto: Kerstin Alm
Petra Wadström, inventor, designer, and entrepreneur, received the award in 2015. Petra has worked extensively with recycled materials, developing ingenious practical inventions that have attracted attention both in Sweden and abroad. Her most famous invention, Solvatten, provides communities in developing countries with access to clean drinking water. Using solar energy, Solvatten purifies polluted water with a portable, two-part container that raises water temperature sufficiently to kill bacteria, viruses, and parasites.

More info in Swedish: SWEAs webpage about Woman of the Year 2015

Nina Stemme

Nina Stemme; Fotograf Tanja Nieman

Fotograf Tanja Nieman

Ninna Stemme received the award in 2014. With her dramatic soprano voice, Ninna Stemme represents Sweden in the grandest of operatic contexts. She possesses a rare ability to reach out and fully capture her audience with her beautiful voice and her ability to interpret and communicate the gestalt of her roles. The world’s most beautiful voice is Swedish.

More info in Swedish: SWEAs webpage about Woman of the Year 2014

Mona Henning

Mona Henning
Mona Henning received the award in 2013 for her invaluable and dedicated work in bringing Swedish literature to Arabic-speaking countries. Mona was born in Jordan but has now lived in Stockholm for many years. Originally a pharmacist, she has devoted her life since 1986 to running a small publishing house that publishes Swedish literature in Arabic-speaking countries.

More info in Swedish: SWEAs webpage about Woman of the Year 2013

Filippa Knutsson

Filippa Knutsson
Filippa Knutsson received the award in 2012 for her outstanding entrepreneurship, which has contributed to development of the Swedish clothing industry and has spread goodwill toward Swedish design and entrepreneurship both in Sweden and abroad.

More info in Swedish: SWEAs webpage about Woman of the Year 2012

Christina Lampe-Önnerud

Dr. Christina Lampe-Önnerud

Foto: Fredrik Persson

Christina Lampe-Önnerud, a researcher in inorganic chemistry, received the award in 2011 in recognition of her invention of the lithium-ion battery, the world’s first Swan-labeled battery, used in laptops and vehicles. Unlike conventional batteries, this battery does not contain PVC or heavy metals, resulting in a positive impact on our ecological environment. In addition, Christina’s invention lasts much longer than conventional batteries. Christina “is an internationally recognized innovator and entrepreneur. A fearless pioneer and a true visionary”.

More info in Swedish: SWEAs webpage about Woman of the Year 2011

Kjerstin Dellert

Kjerstin Dellert
Kjerstin Dellert received the award in 2010 as the CEO for Ulriksdal’s Palace Theater, ”Confidencen”, a historic theater located in a Swedish castle. Without Kerstin’s efforts, this theater would otherwise have been forgotten. She has enjoyed a long career as a highly respected opera singer. In addition to working with Confidencen, Kerstin has poured her energy and enthusiasm into developing a training film for use in elderly care.

More info in Swedish: SWEAs webpage about Woman of the Year 2010

2009 — HedersÅSKa
Agneta Nilsson

Agneta Nilsson received the award in 2009 for her role in promoting Sweden abroad by recruiting over 8,000 Swedish ambassadors, putting Sweden on the map in over 70 locations in more than 30 countries worldwide. She is a person who has realized her vision; for 30 years she has put her entire soul and energy into shaping and developing this fantastic organization, SWEA. In parallel with this unique lifework, she has been a true Ambassador for promoting Sweden in the world.

More info in Swedish:

Inger Schuberth

Inger Schuberth, ÅSK 2008
Inger Schuberth, who received the award in 2008, gives lectures at schools and universities across Germany, Poland, the Baltic States, and Finland. She has strengthened Swedish-German ties through exhibitions in Germany about the two countries’ common history and has strived to promote Lützen and its death memorial to King Gustav II Adolf.

More info in Swedish: SWEAs webpage about Woman of the Year 2008

Marianne Forssblad

Marianne Forssblad, ÅSK 2007
Marianne Forssblad received the award in 2007 in recognition of her 27 years of work as the driving force and head of the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle. The museum, which focuses on and collaborates with all of the Nordic countries, is the only one of its kind in the United States.

More info in Swedish: SWEAs webpage about Woman of the Year 2007

Tina Nordström

Tina Nordström, ÅSK 2006
Tina Nordström received the award in 2007 in recognition of her special talents and infectious passion for food and for moving food preparation in new directions. She simplifies and reimagines recipes while still preserving old culinary traditions. She was also recognized for her positive approaches to conveying knowledge about Sweden and Swedish food culture throughout the world.

More info in Swedish: SWEAs webpage about Woman of the Year 2006

Ingrid le Roux

Ingrid le Roux; Foto: Ulrika Lagerlöf/IKON

Foto: Ulrika Lagerlöf/IKON

Dr. Ingrid le Roux received the award for her long-term compassionate work in the slums of Cape Town, helping to provide vulnerable individuals with the opportunity to live a dignified life.

More info in Swedish: SWEAs webpage about Woman of the Year 2005

Barbro S. Osher

Barbro Osher; Foto: Kerstin Alm

Foto: Kerstin Alm

Barbro S. Osher received the award in 2004 for her longstanding and extensive efforts to proactively strengthen ties between Sweden and the United States.

More info in Swedish: SWEAs webpage about Woman of the Year 2004

Ewa Kumlin

Ewa Kumlin (Creative Commons via

Creative Commons via

Ewa Kumlin received the award in 2003 in recognition of her work as the originator and project manager for Swedish Style in Tokyo.

More info in Swedish: SWEAs webpage about Woman of the Year 2003

Eva Olofsson

Eva Olofsson (BaanChivitMai)

Foto: BaanChivitMai

Eva Olofsson received the award in 2002 in recognition of her many years of work to improve the lives of the most vulnerable children in northern Thailand.

More info in Swedish: SWEAs webpage about Woman of the Year 2002

H.M. Drottning Silvia

H.M. Drottning Silvia; Foto: Holger Motzkau (cc-by-sa-3.0)

Foto: Holger Motzkau 2010, Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons (cc-by-sa-3.0)

Queen Silvia of Sweden received the award in 2001 for her longstanding efforts to improve the lives of the world’s vulnerable children. Queen Silvia founded the World Childhood Foundation, WCF.

More info in Swedish: SWEAs webpage about Woman of the Year 2001

Maria Nyström Reuterswärd

Maria Nyström Reuterswärd; Foto: Jan-Olof Yxell

Foto: Jan-Olof Yxell

Maria Nyström Reuterswärd received the award in 2000 in recognition of her work on NASA’s Mars Project, specifically research related to living on that planet.

More info in Swedish: SWEAs webpage about Woman of the Year 2000

Kerstin Nordquist-Lane

Kerstin Nordquist-Lane; Foto: Nordstjernen

Foto: Nordstjernen

Kerstin Nordquist-Lane received the award in 1999 in recognition of her tireless work with the Swedish American Museum in Chicago.

Dorothea Rosenblad

Dorothea Rosenblad, ÅSK 1998
Dorothea Rosenblad received the award in 1998 in recognition of her work with the organization “Children of Abraham”.

Ulla-Brita Palm

Ulla-Brita Palm, ÅSK 1997

Ulla-Brita Palm received the award in 1997 in recognition of the care center she created for poor women and children living in the slums of Quito, Ecuador. The care center includes a doctor’s office, a kindergarten, a shower room, a lunchroom, and a learning center.


Ingrid Karlsson

Ingrid Karlsson, ÅSK 1995
Ingrid Karlsson received the award in 1995 in recognition of starting “The Ecole Reine Astrid” in Brussels (the Scandinavian School of Brussels).

Lise-Lotte Lybeck-Erixon

Lise-Lotte Lybeck-Erixon, ÅSK 1994
Lise-Lotte Lybeck-Erixon received the award in 1994 in recognition of her passionate commitment to bringing the memory of the Swedish Queen Christina to life in Rome.

Anne-Marie De Geer och Ingrid Croneborg-Bergman

Anne-Marie De Geer, ÅSK 1993

Anne-Marie De Geer

Anne-Marie De Geer och Ingrid Croneborg-Bergman received the award in 1993 for their efforts in providing humanitarian aid to Estonia. Their initiatives led to an extensive aid program targeted at all three Baltic states.



Birgitta Wistrand

Birgitta Wistrand, ÅSK 1990
Birgitta Wistrand received the award in 1990 in recognition of her work as the founder and president of the organization Positiva Sverige (Positive Sweden), which has the goal of simplifying contacts between Sweden and other countries.

Ulla Wachtmeister

Ulla Wachtmeister, ÅSK 1989; Foto: Washington Life Magazine

Foto: Washington Life Magazine

Ulla Wachtmeister received the award in 1989 in recognition of her contributions during the 15 years she spent in the USA as the wife of the Swedish ambassador. She was a master of artistic expression and ensured a rich cultural exchange between Sweden and the USA.