Democracy and Human Rights trainings at Utøya

Last week EWC held the first of a series of workshops at Utøya, where 69 young people lost their lives and many more were wounded by a terrorist attack 22 July 2011. The island symbolizes how important it is to defend and shape democracy every day.

At the workshop 9th and 10th graders from Norway reflect on what democracy means to them, what challenges our democracies face and how young people can promote democratic values and practices. Norwegian Broadcaster NRK visited the training and you can see their story here (2.46 into the broadcast).

-Utøya has a longstanding tradition as an arena for promoting democratic values and international solidarity. At the same time it is the place where our shared democratic values were so brutally attacked. Hence, the island bears witness of why these values cannot be taken for granted, says the manager of Utøya Jørgen Watne Frydnes. 

The European Wergeland Centre organizes the training together with Utøya and the Rafto Foundation. The project is financed by Fritt Ord Foundation and The Norwegian Directorate of Education and Training.

As part of the rebuilding of Utøya following the terrorist attack on 22 July 2011 a new conference centre was built. During the summer of 2016 the new memorial and learning centre Hegnhuset will be completed. Hegnhuset will play a significant role in the training seminars on Education for Democracy, Human Rights and Intercultural understanding (EDC/HRE/ICE) that EWC and Utøya will start in the fall of 2016. 

-Utøya island is a symbol for the importance of defending and shaping democracy every day. This makes Utøya a special place for youth to gather and reflect on what democracy means to them, what challenges our democracies face and how youth themselves can defend and promote democratic values, says Deputy Director at EWC Lars Gudmundson. 

Schools are central arenas for education for democracy and prevention of anti democratic attitudes and ideologies. The EDC/HRE/ICE trainings on Utøya aims to strengthen the school’s already established mandate and work on promoting EDC/HRE/ICE. 

- The program will give students an opportunity to become positive role models and trainers for their peers. In addition to strengthening the students’ democratic competencies, the project will contribute to improving the school environment, says Gudmundson.

Norwegian Lower Secondary schools that wish to take part in the program are kindly asked to contact EWC at

Karl Johans gate 2,
NO 0154 Oslo, Norway

Karl Johans gate 2,
NO 0154 Oslo, Norway

PHONE: +47 21 08 24 10
FAX: +47 21 08 24 11