Arendalsuka was a great success. Over five days, 90,000 people gathered in the scenic port city of Arendal to listen, learn, discuss, debate and mingle. While lockdowns still confined people to their homes in many countries, friends and relatives from America to Australia were stunned that such a big gathering could take place safely in Norway.
Some say it is easier for small countries to manage pandemics. Yet, there are smaller countries that are still struggling with covid lockdowns. Cases now rise as the Delta variant impacts children, but Norway’s relative success is a tribute to an efficient public administration, a strong scientific community and law-abiding citizens. This civic foundation made it possible for people to attend Arendalsuka and ‘dance on the floor of democracy’ as former Governor Øystein Djupedal, the event’s pioneer, likes to say.
Both Global Outlook with Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide and the Ambassadors Round-Table events received high ratings. Both were full. Our Roundtable was held in the ‘festsalen’ of the Gamle Rådhus. It was gorgeous, with red carpet, chandeliers, mirrors, historic paintings, exquisite draperies and fresh flowers that provided an elegant ambience for the interesting and wide-ranging discussions. We heard viewpoints not just from different countries, but from different continents – Europe, Asia, Africa, South America.
Arendalsuka is always held in calendar week 33 (from August 15 in 2022), so please schedule it in your calendar and plan a trip, combining this festival of democracy with a holiday on the charming southern coast of Norway.
Back in Oslo, we now start a new season with booked-out events, new programmes and more interactions with the CD community. We hope that we can pick up the threads of normal life and enjoy the different activities, together.