|Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik|
As a state known for its work in maintaining and enacting peace, Norway certainly possesses many institutions designed to continue that work. One such place is the Oslo Center for Peace. Led by two-time former Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, the center has done pivotal work in the Middle East, the horn of Africa, and North Korea.
Situated in a cozy, relatively small home-like building, the Center and its small staff manage to traverse the globe frequently. In North Korea, they helped an American-led law firm gain information on the terrible humanitarian violations occurring within that state. Currently, nearly two hundred thousand political prisoners exist within Kim Jong-Il's state. Furthermore, Bondevik and the OCP were involved in the Middle East in the months leading up to the Arab Spring. As a prolific and successful politician, Bondevik gained experience in establishing coalitions of political parties who all compromise to ensure the state functions well. Based on this experience, Bondevik met with Middle Eastern politicians and warned them of the dangers of oppressing their citizens. Furthermore, he met with dissident leaders and offered them advice on how to establish a successful new government. Thus, those that ignored his advice were overthrown, and the democratic up-risers were better prepared for what followed.
Bondevik also worked in ensuring a peaceful transition for the newly independent Republic of South Sudan. As a member of the prestigious Club Madrid (an organization of past head of states who band together to offer governments advice on how to establish successful governance), Bondevik was able to offer assistance and advice to the Sudanese for their near future.
All together, Bondevik and the OCP have done an incredibly admirable job in advocating peace around the world. And we, ten lowly peace students, got to spend an entire afternoon of coffee, tea, ice cream, and conversation with this Prime Minister and his staff on a warm patio amid a sunny Norwegian afternoon.
Ahhh, this life.
P.S. Find out more about Bondevik and the OCP at http://visendienable.no/oslocenter/www/