Today Eirik Fismen, long-serving doctor at the Haugland Rehabilitation Centre, came to the College Meeting to receive our grateful thanks on the occasion of his retirement.
Larry offered the following address:
It is a great pleasure to welcome Dr Eirik Fismen here today.
Eirik has been the senior doctor at the Rehabilitation Centre for over twenty years and has been a committed, strong and loyal supporter of UWC Red Cross Nordic – and the partnership here at Haugland.
Earlier in his career, Eirik was fortunate to work alongside and forge a partnership with the inspirational Erling Stordhal, at Beitostolen. For students here today, it was Erling Stordahl who launched Ridderrenet, championed sport for the visually impaired and encouraged us all, in the spirit of Kurt Hahn, to believe that ‘there is more in you than you think’.
Eirik brought the philosophy of functional independence and the spirit of possibility to the campus here at Haugland. He was one of the key founders and contributors to RCN’s landmine programme – now the Survivors of Conflict Programme – and has provided medical and personal support, motivation and inspiration to a long list of students over the past twenty years. Both Eirik and Kari, his wife, have opened their home in Askvoll as host parents and have, time and again, extended the hand of friendship to students and staff at RCN.
Eirik is a great believer in and practitioner of friluftsliv – and there is evidence across the campus as to his vision for friluftsliv’s role in rehabilitation and education – from fire pits to the gapahuk overlooking the fjord, from the sami game (hobbit house) to trails across the mountainside. Patients and students alike have benefitted enormously from his creative vision.deep passion for the outdoors and
One of my favourite memories since becoming Rektor was being invited by Eirik to take Edwin, Yeison, plus Jose Luis and Cerren on a hunt on a golden autumn day on the mountains above Askvoll. No deer was shot that day by the hunters – and perhaps the most spectacular moment came when a beautiful stag erupted at top speed from a forest and literally jumped over Yeison who understandably, given the gradient of our ascent, had fallen asleep in the long grass!
Eirik, you have given an enormous amount to our world here. Through your cartoons, your dynamic and positive approach, and your professional commitment, you have taught us to see the resourcefulness of each individual. The students, who have come under your care, have been given the confidence to seek functional independence both on campus and beyond and to take on new challenges, new opportunities.
With two sons as alumni of UWC (at Singapore and Atlantic College), you know and appreciate the impact of a UWC education on students from all over the world.
You are also a great believer in the partnership, or as you call it the ‘symbiosa’, between the College and the Rehabilitation Centre.
You are many things: doctor, hunter, friluftsliv philosopher, wildlife photographer, master craftsman, host father, landscape gardener, guide and friend.
We shall miss your sparkle, the twinkle in your eyes, your daily magic – and hope that you continue to stay firmly connected in retirement to our College and Haugland in general.
On behalf of everyone gathered here today, we wish you the most wonderful retirement. Larry
Richard D A Lamont
UWC Red Cross Nordic
Edwin Gonzales (Nicaragua) presented Eirik with a framed photo of the fjord with a special note on the reverse from the students on the Survivors of Conflict Programme: “Thank you for helping us, in the spirit of Kurt Hahn, to recognize our resourcefulness and to understand that our ‘disability is our opportunity.’”