Utøya - an international meeting place
Utøya is an international meeting place and learning centre for young people fighting for democracy, human rights, peace and reconciliation – locally, nationally and globally. At Utøya, values such as tolerance, equality and diversity stand strong. In many countries, these values are increasingly under pressure and anti-democratic attitudes are on the rise. Violent protests, hate speech and hate crimes towards immigrants, refugees, LHBTQ and other minorities are more frequent than before. Polarization and distrust in democratic institutions and between people seems to be increasing both within countries and across borders. That is why it is instrumental to facilitate meeting places for young people to learn and collaborate on how to face these challenges, and together build strong international networks to promote democracy and human rights. That is what we do at Utøya.
International Education Program
The international educational program at Utøya is aimed towards young people fighting against extremism and anti-democratic forces while standing up for human rights and democratic values. Every year youth leaders and young activist from all over the world come to Utøya for peace dialogue, training, sharing of experiences and hope for a more democratic world.
Our International Projects
Utøya, in partnership with The European Wergeland Centre, offers several international trainings every year. Here are some examples:
The Thorvald Stoltenberg-seminar
An annual seminar for youth leaders and activists advocating for democracy and human rights.
Participants are from countries in Europe, Northern Africa, and the Middle East. The seminar is organized in the name of former Norwegian Minister of Defense, Minister of Foreign Affairs and international diplomat Mr. Thorvald Stoltenberg, who passed away in 2018. An important part of his legacy is his strong belief in dialogue and bringing people together, often exemplified by his “kitchen meetings” where he invited ministers and government leaders to his home for some coffee, food and talks in a relaxed informal atmosphere. His approach to dialogue and peaceful conflict resolution influences the Thorvald Stoltenberg seminars and is very much in line with what Utøya is today: a place where young people meet to learn, exchange experiences, agree and disagree in a peaceful and safe setting.
The Visegrad Seminar
Youth politicians from political parties and youth leaders from civil society organizations in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Norway meet to exchange experiences on how to stand up against hate speech and promote values and principles of democracy and human rights in the public sphere. The seminar is organized in cooperation with the Norwegian embassies in each country.
Utøya and the European Wergeland Centre organize trainings for teachers from the Nordic and Baltic countries supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers. The trainings are based on principles of education for democratic citizenship and human rights, specifically addressing the issue of how to teach controversial issues in schools.