The past two years have seen the Arctic scene changing at an accelerating rate. Renowned polar expert Dr. Olav Orheim will examine new developments – political, climate, and transportation – occurring in the far north. Several countries, including China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore, became observers to the Arctic Council in May 2013, indicating a significant increase in political attention in Asia on what is happening in the Arctic. The European Union also wants in on the action. One reason for increased interest could be that in September 2012 the ice in the Arctic Ocean had a minimum extent far below any previous record – opening new ice-free sailing routes.
Other reasons could be related to resources, and a wish to be present on a scene of new political developments.
This lecture is presented as a tribute to the memory of Norwegian Resistance hero and 2001 ASF Cultural Award Winner Gunnar Sønsteby.
About Dr. Olav Orheim
Dr. Olav Orheim is a distinguished Norwegian polar expert, who has been deeply involved in Arctic affairs from the Cold War period to the present. His career includes Professor at University of Bergen and Director of the Norwegian Polar Institute from 1993 to 2005.
From 2005 to 2012, Orheim was in charge of International Polar Year activities at the Research Council of Norway.
About Gunnar Sønsteby
As the chief of operations in the Norwegian Resistance Movement during the German occupation in Norway during World War II, Gunnar Sønsteby (1918–2012) – also known as “Kjakan” (“The Chin”) and “No. 24” – saved countless lives and went on to become his country’s most highly decorated citizen. Following the war, he lived and studied in the United States before returning to Norway in 1955. His book, Report from No. 24, chronicling his wartime activities, was published in 1960.
Sønsteby’s visionary support helped to establish Norway’s Resistance Museum in Oslo, which ensures that his and future generations will remember the struggle the Norwegians fought on their own soil during a time of foreign occupation. He spent many years giving lectures at schools, universities, civic organizations, and cultural institutions around the world, including more than 200 lectures in the U.S.
The governments of Great Britain and the United States decorated him; in 2008, he became the first non-American to receive the Special Operations Medal. He was awarded the ASF Cultural Award in 2001 “in recognition of his efforts to advance the understanding and appreciation in the United States of the challenges confronted and resistance efforts undertaken by the Norwegian people in World War II.”