Interview with Fredrik Malmberg

Fredrik Malmberg has been the Ombudsman for Children in Sweden since November 2008. He is an economist and father of two children, and has wide experience of working with children’s issues within the Save the Children Fund.

What did you want to become when you were little? 
When I was really young, I wanted to become a pilot and when I was a little older I wanted to become a diplomat (a person who negotiates between countries). Today, I think that’s quite funny because I don’t like heights and I am not naturally diplomatic – quite the reverse, I find it hard not to take a clear stand.

What did you like doing as a child? 
I have always loved reading books! My friends and I also used to pretend that we were in the Olympic Games and that was great fun. I think we all used to win almost all the time!

Was there anything you thought was wrong or unfair as a child that you wanted to change? 
Lots! I often became angry about things I thought were wrong, and I think my teachers would tire of me sometimes. We argued about a driver who was mean to some children, and several years later we arranged a demonstration when a refugee we knew was going to be deported. On a more personal level, I was very upset and angry when my parents divorced when I was little.

Do you have a role model or idol? 
Yes, a woman who lived in England 100 years ago whose name was Eglantyne Jebb. She was tough and dared to challenge all those in power who didn’t care about children. It is much due to her that we have a convention for the rights of children today.