International anti-bullying conference convenes in Stockholm
As many as 600 teachers, researchers and parents from more than 40 countries met in Stockholm on Monday to learn how to put the latest knowledge on preventing bullying into practice.
The World Anti-Bullying Forum 2017, organised by the Swedish charity Friends, was opened on Monday by Sweden's Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia.
Carolina Engström, the charity's director general, said that the idea came up back in 2012, when the Swedish bank Swedbank gave the charity the naming rights to Sweden's national football stadium.
"We wanted then to start a knowledge centre here, to spread, share and collect knowledge about how to prevent bullying," she told Radio Sweden.
In Sweden, bullying is a live issue at present, with the OECD's PISA research program in April reporting a dramatic rise in the proportion of Swedish 15-year-olds who feel excluded by their peers.
Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia, both of whom have suffered online bullying, made countering the problem one of the missions of the charitable foundation they set up when they got married in 2015.
"It is every parent's nightmare that their children should be bullied," Princess Sofia said in their inauguration speech on Monday.
Mehran Misaghi, a physical education teacher from Stockholm's Futuraskolan, said he had come to the conference hoping to find "new tools" to combat bullying.
He said he had worked to fight bullying at the school where he worked for more than 20 years, building on his own experiences of being bullied as a child in Iran, on account of his Bahá'í faith.
His students, he said, faced similar but different problems, with online bullying now being a particular problem.