Nansen Academy - the Norwegian Humanistic Academy

The Nansen Academy is an educational institution for students with different political, religious and cultural backgrounds. The Academy is founded on the inheritance of humanism and aims at strengthening the knowledge about this inheritance.
The Academy was founded in 1938, as a protest against the growth of totalitarian ideologies in Europe. The Academy is named after Fridtjof Nansen, the great polar explorer, scientist, author and humanist, who’s great work embodied essential elements of humanism: active love of one’s neighbour and freedom of thought.

Humanism is understood as a basic attitude that can unite people with different religious, political and cultural backgrounds. Humanism is not defined once and for all, but should be explored through constant dialogue and commitment. It is built on the acknowledgement of the unique value of each human being, its connection to other human beings and to history, as well as our responsibility for the environment. Active work for human rights, freedom of expression and democracy is important for the Nansen Academy. Today’s world is very different from 1938. But major challenges around the world still require our attention and commitment. Central themes in the Nansen Academy are: democracy and human rights; sustainable development; and peaceful conflict management.

Main programmes
The Academy’s main studies run from August till May every year.
All students attend classes in history of philosophy, our cultural heritage (literature, art, music),
and current affairs
In addition, our students choose between three main programmes:

1. “Idea - Culture - Society” seeks to stimulate independent, critical thinking and active involvement in society. The lectures address various topics within the social sciences, history, philosophy, literature, music as well as current ethical and socio-political issues.

2. The “Creative writing” course offers professional training in creative writing.

3. The “Creative arts” course provides professional training in creative art.

Minimum age: 18 years old, no upper age limit. The above mentioned courses require knowledge of Norwegian language, which is the language of instruction.

Summer seminars 

In the summer season the Nansen Academy organizes various shorter seminars in literature, arts and topics related to current issues in society.

The Nansen Academy received the Free Word Prize in 1987 for its work for humanism, tolerance and the free word.

Nansen Center for Peace and Dialog

The Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue (NCPD) was established as a separate part of The Nansen Academy Foundation in 2010, and has office facilities in the Nansen Academy. The center provides experience-based knowledge of ongoing conflicts and practical dialogue and reconciliation. The center's draws its experience from peace education for diaspora groups (refugees) in Norway and dialogue work internationally.

The Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue is a coordinating Unit for The Nansen Dialogue Network: a network of centers that work for dialogue and reconciliation in deeply segregated communities in the Western Balkans. The Nansen Academy received Honourable Mention of the “UNESCO Prize for Peace Education” in 1998. Senior Advisor Steinar Bryn has received “Amalie Laksow’s Human Rights Prize” and the “Bridge-builder Prize”. In 2009 and 2011, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize together with the Nansen Dialogue Network.

The Nansen Academy is located in quiet surroundings near the centre of Lillehammer, a town of 25 000 inhabitants, approximately 2,5 hours travel from Oslo. The town has a rich cultural life with renowned museums such as the Maihaugen Outdoor Museum and Lillehammer Art Museum, as well as festivals, concerts, exhibitions and theatre performances. The nature in the surrounding area is varied, with forests, rivers, lakes and mountains, and good opportunities for various sports and leisure activities all year.