The Wergeland Centre inaugurated

Photo by Berit Hessen.

Crown Princess Mette-Marit was present at the inauguration of the European Wergeland Centre in Oslo on Friday May 26. The centre shall promote education for intercultural understanding, human rights and democratic citizenship.

The Centre was established by Norway in cooperation with the Council of Europe in 2008.

Henrik Arnold Wergeland (1808 – 1845) was a romantic Norwegian poet and an important historian. He worked for the independence of all nations, was an advocate for democracy, and an eager defender of freedom of faith and freedom of expression.

“In selecting the name it was natural to bring forward Henrik Wergeland, our great advocate for human rights, freedom and tolerance,” says the Minister of Education and Research, Baard Vegar Solhjell. 

The Wergeland Centre functions as an European resource centre on education for intercultural understanding, human rights and democratic citizenship. The Centre builds on and, will promote, the work performed by the Council of Europe and Norway within these areas. The main task of the Centre is to promote democratic culture and social belonging through its work with education. 

The Centre will carry out research and provide in-service training for teachers and teacher trainers. Furthermore, the Centre will disseminate information, serve as a platform and create a network for relevant actors within the field. The Centre has international staff, and the working language is English. 

The target groups of the Centre are teachers, teacher trainers, multipliers, scientists, practitioners, decision makers and other relevant actors. 

The Wergeland Centre is established as an independent legal entity, according to Norwegian law. The Centre is for the first couple of years to be located at Oslo University College. Further on it is planned that the Centre is located at the Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities (HL-senteret).

In his speech at the ceremony, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said that the Norwegian Government was honoured to cooperate with the Council on establishing this institution in Oslo.

“My hope is that the Centre will become – firstly – a leading institution for knowledge production, training, research and network building. And secondly – a centre for dissemination of information and best practices in these important areas,” Støre said.

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