The U.S. Embassy is a proud partner of the Young Ambassadors program, which aims to inspire young Norwegian high school students to become engaged citizens. Every school year, 20 youth are competitively selected to participate in the varied program that covers all aspects of the Norwegian society. This year, the group has visited institutions such as the Storting, the EU delegation in Norway, think tank Agenda, the Norwegian Stock Exchange (Oslo Børs) and World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) Norway, and prominent speakers have given in-depth talks on issues relevant for the upcoming generation.
For the 2014/2015 program, a new aspect of the program has been introduced: the “2015 Report for the Future”, and on March 23 the final report was presented to the political adviser to the Minister of Finance, Petter Kvinge Tvedt, in a grand ceremony at the Norwegian Opera and Ballet. He was excited to receive it and we can only hope the politicians have time to read it carefully – it is only appropriate that the youth voice is represented when developing policies and plans for the future.
The 20 Young Ambassadors have each written a text on a relevant topic, and their conclusions are both optimistic and challenging: They are concerned about conflicts and tensions between people; they are frustrated that the shift towards a greener and more sustainable society is taking too long; and they emphasize the importance of courage – courage to leave the dependence on oil behind, courage to be yourself, and courage to develop a creative community based on love and respect.
From the report summary:
- Mira (18) writes to her future daughter: If you choose to submit to the unwritten norms about what you can and cannot do, you are taking part in the continuation of these norms. Only when you actively distance yourself are you contributing to change.
- Matteo (18) is concerned about immigration and integration and emphasizes that Norway is neither lacking space nor funds to accept more refugees.
- Kristen (16) presents an objection to those pessimistic to the future: There is no reason why we can’t continue the progress made by former generations. They took us from caves to skyscrapers – our generation can do the same!
- Signe (17) wants Norway to develop into a creative and knowledge based society: The best investment Norway can make is in the most valuable resource we have: the people living here.
The report in the news:
- Aftenposten Osloby: Kloke hoder er klare til å ta vare på samfunnet
- Romerikes Blad: Løfter frem de unges stemme