Monthly Archives: November 2018

November 28, 2018

Til fjells – A walk in the hills

November 28th, 2018|

Some current students have been especially enthusiastic to experience local outdoor possibilities; this was noticeable when they woke up one Sunday morning last winter and carried skis for an hour to a nearby skiing area, to then “ski on skins” up the slopes and spend the day romping on the slopes before walking back to campus.

With sub-zero temperatures and no snow over the last week, frost structures building beautifully on campus, conditions seemed perfect for a hike up Storehesten, the big mountain seen en route to Førde. After assembling a “matpakke” in the kantine, and a 40 minute drive, five student enthusiasts and a recently-arrived South Dakotan started walking around 10:15 in sub-zero sunshine. It was surprisingly warm, the path was frozen dry and a rapid pace saw us lose the sun around the expansive North slopes, to reach the top within 2 hours. Whoops of delight for the sunny panorama on top, the open ocean and islands 40kms west, Jostedal glacier 40 kms east and, below, the village of Bygstad covered in a thick layer of white frost, permanently shielded from winter sun by the hills on the south.

With the Christmas dinner set to start at 17:00, some haste was needed, resulting in a fine “jogge-tur” over the open slopes. A rest to explore the thick ice on a frozen lake, helped cool participants. Back at the car within 90 mins of the top, the gang managed (in footwear impressively ill-suited to the task) some thin lay-away moves up a pillar placed at the parking lot. All in all, deep appreciation for frost, ice, dry rough rock, (sort-of) warming sun, vast blue skies, 360 degree views through crystal clear air, and the fun of moving over a mountain in these winter conditions.

Campus Renovation Campaign 2018

November 19th, 2018|

We are now in the last week of our Campus Renovation Campaign. Of the total of nearly 400,000 NOK donated to our Campus Renovation Campaign so far, approximately 162,000 comes from graduates of our College. We are nearly two-thirds of the way to our target of 600,000 NOK and for alumni participation we are almost halfway to our target of 250 donations.

The Leif Høegh Foundation has informed us that they will support the Renovation Work annually with 200.000 NOK for a period of 5 years. The alumni generations of 97/98 and 06/07 are jointly making a contribution in excess of 40.000 NOK. The start of the campaign nicely coincided with the announcement that we will receive extra funding from the Norwegian state for the necessary extra maintenance work coming up. This support from the state is an encouragement for others who have benefited from two formative years in Flekke to join in to the benefit of the coming generations. Every gift matters and is eligible for Davis matching which doubles the amount of any donation made.



If you would like to donate using Vipps or Paypal, click here.

Download the pdf,  to get a detailed overview of the need and costs.

Please make a contribution for the well being of the future generations of our students.

Maarten Hillebrandt (RCN ’01-’03)

November 13th, 2018|

If ever a national stereotype applied to a young adolescent, for me, it would be the famed Dutch directness. From a young age, I strived to “tell it as I see it”. In high school, this got me into trouble with the board, when the school newspaper of which I was editor-in-chief published a series of less-than-favourable articles about disruptive building works on the school grounds.

As I entered Red Cross Nordic in 2001, a couple of things were set straight. It was impressed on me that even when you want to tell it as you see it, there are many ways of seeing a thing. This rendered Dutch directness a little less straight-forward! Though incorrigibly, I still retained the tendency to describe reality in a way that disrupts, makes people think. Only ever so gradually, the style became more academic, intellectual.

A study project in Birmingham during a project-based learning week related to the every-day realities of multicultural life in the second city of the United Kingdom inspired me to pursue my ambitions at a British university. After a Third Year Option at a Tibetan Children’s Village in northern India, I thus enrolled in the History and Sociology degree at the University of Warwick in 2004. During the introduction week, I was fascinated by what a professor of sociology told us freshers: “when, at any time, you don’t feel so well, find someone to take care of”. For me, it made total sense. Taking care as an active need: we are parts of a larger whole, and trying to make it thrive is what makes us happy. I always interpreted this counsel as an encouragement at the personal level, to be as kind and understanding as possible, and at the larger level, to take responsibility and call out and try to repair injustice when you see it.

It was at Warwick that I first became interested in the European Union as a curious social and political phenomenon, and decided to write a thesis on European identity politics. European identity engendered the promise to transcend nationalism, and be curious and welcoming, but could also be uninterested, retreated, and defined in opposition to an external bad. Doing volunteering work at the Coventry refugee centre, helping refugee seekers find their way through the complex British asylum machine, I encountered examples of both.

When I obtained my BA with first class honours, it first dawned on me that perhaps academic research was something for me. But I also wanted to get more concrete, spending more time on understanding how our governments work the way they do. I thus returned to the Netherlands, where I enrolled in a research master of Public Administration and Organisational Science at Utrecht University, and became a research assistant in a project on transparency in the European Union. I became increasingly fascinated by that strange, grey world of law and protocol which quietly zoomed on, creating policies ranging from the EU’s stance in climate negotiations to trade liberalisation treaties with the world’s large economies, without most of European citizens caring or knowing much about it. To me, this obviously screamed for a good story to be told about it!

Thus, after concluding my master (cum laude), I started a PhD project at the University of Amsterdam in 2012. Being based in a law faculty, my first task was to learn more about the functioning of administrative law in the EU, in order to understand the structure of all the case law and administrative procedures that were now becoming my bread and butter. Of course, soon enough, it emerged to me that all those ‘obvious’ arguments raised by the European institutions were perhaps understandable, but not so obvious as at all – and arguably, not necessarily in society’s best interest. In 2017, I completed my dissertation, Living Transparency: The development of access to documents in the Council of the EU and its democratic implications, and defended it successfully in front of a bench of professors of law and political science from across Europe. Recently, this dissertation received the Van Poelje Prize, an annual award for the best dissertation written in the field of public administration in the Netherlands and Flanders. I see this as a great encouragement to continue to care, which means for me: describing political institutions in ways that people had not thought about them yet, in order to find positive ways forward.

Rafto Prize 2018 – Adam Bodnar

November 12th, 2018|

45 of our students and 3 teachers attended this year’s Rafto Conference, which gave us an insight into the Human Rights situation in Europe with a particular focus on vulnerable groups, among them: women, refugees and LGBTI communities. We had a chance to learn about importance of the role of the civil society in addressing the issues often ignored or pushed to the side by governments. Marcia V.J. Kran, a member of the UN Human Rights Committee, stressed the importance of HR education, giving account to any individual case of the abuse of HR. All events over the Rafto weekend was as a great demonstration of Solidarity between the Norwegian and Polish People. As Adam Bodnar the recipient of the award said:

“I treat this award as the solidarity of citizens of the Human Rights City of Bergen not only with myself, but with all those who fight in Poland for freedom, human rights and rule of law: civil society, members of academia, judges, prosecutors, attorneys, and each and every member of the society who is concerned with the process of undemocratic changes.”