• Peace and Reconciliation Dialog in Norway and the Balkans

First Day in Lillehammer

Lessons in Nansen

The day began with a lesson on the Nansen Center and Fridtjof Nansen, the school’s namesake. Fritdjof Nansen was a great explorer and scientist whose fame segued into a role as a great humanitarian and beloved Norwegian figure. Nansen, the building, has two parts. We are studying with the Nansen Peace and Dialogue Center and then the other part is a folk high school, called Nansen Academy.

Folk high schools are an interesting concept. Students of all ages come to "learn for life." The study lasts for a year, so it's a common way to spend a gap year after high school or college. Different schools offer different subject matters and the curriculum shifts from year to year. Nansen happens to have a lot of philosophy and students focus on a variety of subjects from writing, to environmental studies, to fine arts.

We eat our meals with the students of the Nansen Academy. They’re all very nice and have been so welcoming. We’ve already had a lot of fun getting to know them, and have even tried to convince a few to come to Luther for college!

Lectures on Norway

Our second lecture was on “The Ways of Norway.” We learned about Norway’s history ranging from the Viking heritage to the process of acquiring a King (turns out it’s a bit more complicated than putting on a crown and moving into a castle). It turns out the United States has had a large influence on the culture I Norway, which was reinforced by the American brands and shops we saw when we were walking around downtown during our free time.

Our third and final lecture of the day was on the comparison and contrast between the Norwegian and American Constitutions. This lecture was part of a series of lectures that have been open to the whole community as well as the students of the academy. This year has the theme of the Norwegian Constitution since 2014 marks its 200th anniversary.

Tomorrow our lectures will pick up where they left off, and we’ll hopefully have more energy as our jetlag wears off.

The group with Birger Eide after our lecture on "The Ways of Norway."