Visiting speakers

World Today

2018-10-16T09:33:51+01:00February 9th, 2014|

On Friday 7th more than 100 members of the RCN community attended a World Today presentation titled, ‘The New Global Order’ given by visiting speaker Dr. Cedric de Coning. Dr. de Coning is head of the Peace Operations and Peacebuilding Research Group at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI). He is also a special advisor to the Head of the Peace Support Operations Division of the African Union, and a member of the Advisory Group of the UN Peacebuilding Fund. Cedric serves on the research board of CMC Finland and on the editorial boards of the journals ‘Peacebuilding’ and ‘Global Governance’. His presentation described the changing face of international alliances and how, after many decades of western countries guiding the policy decisions of international institutions such as the IMF, WTO, and World Bank, other alliances – such as the African Union, and the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) – are finding common cause to justify claiming a voice in international policy decision-making. Dr. de Coning’s take on this readjustment of influence seemed to be largely positive and optimistic. After his introduction, Dr. de Coning took questions for an hour from a very attentive and interested audience.

Earlier in the day, Dr. de Coning’s wife, Eve – who works with Interpol to research contraventions of maritime law and promote international cooperation between enforcement agencies on various issues – gave a presentation focused on fish in the global food supply, and specifically on ships recently impounded in Cape Town. These ships fish in international waters and evade various regulations and conventions (eg, species-specific and total catch quotas, income tax, human labour laws, and basic human rights) by various means, including changing their registration details (flag, name & identity). The presentation highlighted, on the one hand, the challenges of promoting and monitoring sustainable fishing practices at a global-international level and on the other, the problematic inter-relatedness between organised crime and environmental and humanitarian values. A thoroughly engaging presentation that dealt with topics in biology, geography and environmental systems & societies courses, prompted many focused questions!

On Saturday morning Dr. de Coning led a well-attended workshop for History and Global Politics students about peacekeeping and peacebuilding.

Our thanks go to Dr. Cedric and Eve de Coning, and to the World Today team for organising the visit.

Healthy Lifestyle Day

2018-10-16T09:33:58+01:00October 1st, 2013|

On 1st October we held a Healthy Lifestyle Day at the College. The goal of the day was to provide students with training, ideas, discussions, and options so they can be the best students they can be while at RCN. Another aim was to provide different tools that can help to have, and maintain, a healthy lifestyle.

During the day we had workshops about relaxation and mindfulness; sleep deprivation; anxiety prevention; healthy eating; active listening; yoga and fitness. The were opportunities for dance, tai chi, trust games and friendly football (the new ballrink is getting a lot of use!) and music making – and much more.

Dr. Eirik Fismen, the director of the Haugland Rehabilitation Centre gave a well-received talk to the students and we were fortunate to have alumnus Grzegorz Więcław (RCN 2004-06) visit the College to deliver a talk to the students. It is wonderful when graduates return to the College to share their experience and expertise. Grzegorz completed his undergraduate degree in Psychology and Communications at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia (Canada) and holds a European Masters in Sport and Exercise Psychology from the University of Jyväskylä in Jyväskylä, Finland. He is now based in Gliwice, Poland with his own consulting firm.

His talk was titled “We Are Made To Move” and addressed the idea that exercise and physical activity is not just a possibility for everyone but is an essential part of our nature and we ignore it at our peril. Having been a student here he understands the demands of the UWC program and was able to give concrete advice on how to see the campus as a place full of opportunity for physical activity.

We also had workshops for the staff, and a presentation to the students, from Dick Moore and Jessica McKoen. Dick, formerly an English teacher, a House Mentor and latterly a principal of a co-educational day and residential school for almost 23 years is an Associate Trainer for the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust (a trust established in the UK to equip young people to look after their mental well-being) and is a Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor. Jessica, formerly a mental health practitioner and social worker, has run her own training company for the last thirteen years. She has been a senior lecturer at Middlesex University, London, and teaches Community Mental Health Care. She was one of the first instructors for Youth Mental Health First Aid.

We were very grateful to all who organized the day – with its speakers and workshops, and to Dr. Fismen, Grzegorz, Dick and Jessica for coming to spend some days with us.

Polar Expeditions

2018-10-16T09:33:59+01:00September 10th, 2013|

Karin Strand, once-upon-a-time a lawyer, now, and for the last ten years, an expedition leader on the polar exploration vessel the MV Fram, visited the College to talk about her work in the polar regions. The MV Fram, named after the expedition vessel of the great Norwegian explorer Fritjof Nansen, spends seven months of the year in the polar regions – half of the time in the Arctic, half of the time in the Antarctic.

She gave a vivid overview of Norwegian exploration of the poles over the last hundred years – talking about the adventures of Nansen, Otto Sverdrup and, of course, the remarkable Roald Amundsen. She quoted Amundsen who famously wrote in his 1912 book, ‘The South Pole’, that, “Victory awaits him who has everything in order — luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck.”

Karin’s work, while not necessarily involving victory and defeat, does require a certain amount of luck. In taking groups of visitors to inhospitable and inaccessible places plans are always needing to be adjusted, destinations altered and chances taken. She showed us film clips of the seal and penguin colonies in Antarctica, of dramatic seas in the far north and of kayaks moving towards astonishingly blue icebergs.

Questions from the audience? “What do I have to study to do what you do?!”

After the talk Arne Osland presented Karin with some gifts from the College and she kindly stayed behind to answer the many questions that students hadn’t been able to ask during the presentation.

Then, as she was leaving, Karin said, “Thank you for having me, it was truly inspirational for me to see this fantastic environment, you are doing the world more good than you know.”

Many thanks to Karin for coming to talk to us. For more information, click here, and here.

Norwegian Elections

2013-10-08T15:48:17+01:00September 7th, 2013|

On Friday, September 6th Norwegian youth representatives of different political parties visited the college for an election debate in advance of the September 9th Norwegian elections. Hosted by the World Today (the College debate forum), the representatives managed to fill almost every seat in the auditorium; first debating, then answering questions on diverse topics such as international politics, immigration, and the ongoing conflict in Syria.

Represented on the panel were the Christian Democratic Party (Kristeligt Folkeparti), The Christians (De Kristne), the Conservatives (Høyre), the Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet), the Socialist Left (Sosialistisk Venstre), the Centre Party (Senterpartiet), and the Socio Liberal Party (Venstre). The one-and-a-half hour debate started out with the representatives introducing the audience to their respective parties and their positions on key issues, which served as a basis for the students to later question the opinions and policies of every party from the far left to the far right wing of the political spectrum. This also provided an interesting opportunity for the students to get an insight into Norwegian politics, which could not be timed more fortunately, as the parliamentary elections would be held on the following MOnday.

Reactions from the representatives ranged widely, provoking many “shaking hands” moments from the RCN students – silent shaking hands signifying audience agreement – and a few incidents which prompted signs of disagreement, which gave the debate some edge.

After the debate, some representatives took the time to stay and talk about their parties’ politics and to discuss Atlantic College, as AC ’12 alumnus, Albert Andersen Øyvind, was present representing the Socialist Left on the panel.

After the debate, the World Today Team conducted a survey to find out how the votes of UWCRCN would have been placed on the political spectrum, which will be posted in the next issue of the newsletter.

Many thanks to all who organised and participated in the event.

Max Secher Quorning (RCN 12-14)