Exploring Nansen’s humanitarianism

Uncover the multifaceted life of Fridtjof Nansen in Nansen: Explorer and Humanitarian


Molly Jones
Norwegian American Weekly

Not only an explorer and scientist but also a diplomat and humanitarian, Fridtjof Nansen was an extraordinary man with a lasting legacy. In Nansen: Explorer and Humanitarian, authors Marit Fosse (NAW contributor) and John Fox seek to explore the impact of Nansen’s life, specifically in regards to his longstanding support of displaced persons.

Nansen: Explorer and Humanitarian covers the wide range of Nansen’s experiences—from a dedicated oceanographer and an Arctic explorer to a Nobel Peace Prize laureate—with a focus on his role as a humanitarian as the League of Nation’s High Commissioner for Refugees. Devoted to protecting the most vulnerable, Nansen stood up for those displaced by conflict. He helped prisoners-of-war in remote areas of Europe and Siberia and refugees from Russia and Armenia, among others, and developed the Nansen Passport for stateless persons.

The idea for Nansen: Explorer and Humanitarian began when the authors worked together on a book about the League of Nations and discovered that the foundations of current international organizations originated in the 1920s. And just as the interwar period was a time with high numbers of refugees and prisoners-of-war, we continue to face the same situations in our current society—only at higher rates. By looking into the life of Nansen, Fosse and Fox hope readers will feel encouraged to follow his lead and effect change in these international crises.

As the preface states, “In difficult times we all need encouragement and see that action by an altruistic organization or, in this case, by a single man can make a tremendous difference. This is what we wanted to show by looking into the life of Fridtjof Nansen.” Nansen’s selfless actions prove that a solution always exists where there is an idea and a will to persevere.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres emphasizes the significance of the book in the foreword, writing, “It portrays the many dimensions of a man who was one of the most interesting personalities of his time. And it shows, through that man’s struggles, setbacks and overwhelming victories on behalf of hundreds of thousands of people in need, the fundamental importance of having a strong international system in place for their protection.”

Nansen: Explorer and Humanitarian is a well-researched book intended for the general public as well as students of international politics. It is scheduled to be published in the U.S. and is available for pre-purchase through University Press of America/Hamilton Books.

To preorder Nansen: Explorer and Humanitarian, customers in the Americas should call 1 (800) 462-6420 or fill out the prepublication order form and email it to customercare@rowman.com or fax it to 1 (800) 338-4550. International customers can call +44 (0) 1752 202301 or send to the form to orders@nbninternational.com or fax it to +44 (0) 1752 202333. The cost is $28.99; 135 prepublication orders are required prior to printing.

This article originally appeared in the July 24, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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