Anders Engström passed away on 17 December 2021 at the age of 77. He was the Mayor of Kalmar in 1988-1998. He initiated the establishment of the Union of the Baltic Cities and became its first President in 1991 holding this position for 10 years. In 2001 he was nominated as the UBC Honorary President at the VI General Conference in Rostock.
Anders Engström substantially contributed to the development of the Union of the Baltic Cities. His visionary ideas, commitment, and cooperativeness made the cities relations very fruitful and effective. The organisation had grown dynamically finding its true spirit of respect and friendliness.
This is how he recalled the beginnings of UBC:
My formula for the UBC was to find out as soon as possible what member cities expected from the UBC. In the years 1991-92, I spent a lot of time visiting member cities and talking to mayors and employers working with international relations about their expectations. Of course, they had many different expectations and interests. I have never noticed that they competed. There was an enormous will to cooperate. I very often noticed that if a city wanted some help in solving a problem, other cities would always be ready to offer their expertise and experiences to learn from. As stressed in the major UBC documents, it has always been an organization built upon cooperation, exchange of experience and partnership. These three count most.
Homo Balticus has been the joint spirit of the Baltic Sea Region. It has always been present here and in the cities. It is our common Baltic identity. A true gift that still needs to be revealed. Cities must speak to the world well beyond national government. They need to attract investment bankers, inward-investing companies, property developers, and the most talented people in the world ever. They need to court the media through which the city’s resonance is either confirmed or generated.
Anders Engström will be remembered as a very warm, friendly, open and open-minded person, with big sense of humour, whose strong personality, enthusiasm and leadership let the young organisation grow and attract people in challenging times.
Condolences to his family and friends.