Happily and safely returned from Oslo, it is time to sum up the experiences of the first of hopefully many annual Nordic Studies conferences in the future. The strategic initiative of the University of Oslo ‒ UiO:Nordic ‒ has now been running for a little more than a year. It is a high profile strategic initiative in Social Sciences and Humanities, uniting five faculties. The rectorate of the university has provided for the programme during eight year with around one million euros (10 million NOK) invested in Nordic Studies related research projects and activities every year.
As part of this the first conference – Global Challenges, Nordic Experiences – was arranged earlier this week at the University of Oslo by the UiO:Nordic initiative, bringing together some 100 scholars from various disciplines and from around the world.
The conference coincided with many other Nordic events in Oslo. Today, March 23, is the Nordic day, and usually the Karl Johan Street in central Oslo is decorated with banners of the Norwegian Nordic Association. This year, however, there was only room for the Icelandic flags celebrating the official visit of the Icelandic president.
A historian by profession, President Guðni Th Jóhannesson, also joined us at the conference, giving his inspirational view on the Nordic model. With him came also the Norwegian King and Queen, contributing to a glamorous set up.
The dialectical relationship between cooperation and competition was a leading theme at the conference. In his inspiring keynote lecture Richard Sennett talked about the need to balance competition with cooperation, raising a warning particularly against a form of competition where the winner takes it all.
The organisers provide a video stream of the session which is embedded below. The original video stream is from here.
In the opening panel on Monday new research perspectives on the Nordic Model was under debate. CENS was represented by Johan Strang, and he emphasized the significance of the everyday practices of Nordic comparisons, competition and cooperation among politicians, officials, experts and different professionals in the making of the Nordic Welfare Model.
At the same time we had the pleasure to invite all the participants as well as everybody else interested in research on the Nordic Region to the next conference in Helsinki:
CENS 2018: The Second Annual Nordic studies Conference #CENS2018
Put March 7-9 2018 in your calendars, because then the Centre for Nordic Studies will arrange CENS2018: The Second Annual Nordic Studies Conference.
Thank you UiO:Norden and welcome to Helsinki next year! #CENS2018
Peter Stadius is Professor in Nordic Studies and Research Director of CENS
Johan Strang is University Lecturer at the Centre for Nordic Studies. He is interested in Scandinavian politics and 20th century intellectual history. His publications include studies on Nordic cooperation, Nordic democracy and Scandinavian Legal Realism.