Young Norwegians Learn Diplomacy and Develop Life-long Relationships in Berlin

group of youth
The 5 Norwegian GIF participants from the left: Julius Aleksander Mikkelsen, Sherington Amarapala, Johanne Archer, Håvard Yttredal and Live Tronstad.

In August 2016, 5 young Norwegians traveled to Berlin to take part in the Global-In Fellowship (GIF) Program. GIF is a three-week Department of State sponsored youth project focusing on politics and diplomacy, providing opportunities to explore international relations and enhance diplomatic skills. The 2016 program welcomed 60 young participants from between 16 and 20 years old from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Jordan, Moldova, Morocco, Norway, Poland and Sweden.

Håvard Yttredal was one of the Norwegian participants and here is his report:

“Three weeks have passed, and Global-In Fellowship 2016 has come to an end. Through workshops, a first encounter with the concept of Model United Nations (MUN), and a political simulation, I have gained perspectives and knowledge that far exceed my initial expectations for this program.

The beginning of our stay in Berlin was filled with workshops and lectures on topics related to diplomacy, but also the very structures of our society. A session that really stood out was the day we got to listen to former diplomat Doris Hertrampf. She was stationed in countries such as North Korea, and her experiences really provided insight into the life of a diplomat.

During the MUN week, I had my hands full as a delegate of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (it’s important to say all this properly, or the Chair will yell). In the UN Security Council, we took on the challenges of state-sponsored terrorism and political and economic instability in Latin America. This week really let us delve into the challenges of diplomacy, and I learned a lot from lobbying and arguing for points of view that weren’t necessarily my own.

group of youth (Photo: GIF)
The GIF participants took part in a Model United Nations, where they took on roles of UN Member States and discussed topics ranging from climate change post-COP21 to civil unrest in South America.

The final week was a political simulation, and I had the pleasure of being assigned the role of an anarchist. As part of the constitutional committee and interim government of a nation just struck by an earthquake, it was my job to rebuild the country. I may or may not have failed miserably, but a single anarchist in a committee of 17 people can do little to stop the struggles for a military dictatorship.

While the academic program was good, what made these three weeks in Berlin not just good, but great, was the people. By “people”, I am talking about lecturers, directors and mentors (my mentor, Ivana, was the best), as well as my fellow participants.

The exchange of ideas and how neatly this exchange was facilitated made the interactive parts of the program perfect. Each and every person brought with them a different background and an open mind. I feel privileged and grateful to have met so many amazing people who have inspired and challenged me.

This has really been a life-changing experience.”

See more photos on the GIF Facebook page.