Utøya - an international meeting place
Utøya is an international meeting place and learning centre for young people fighting for democracy, human rights, peace and reconciliation – locally, nationally and globally. At Utøya, values such as tolerance, equality and diversity stand strong. In many countries, these values are increasingly under pressure and anti-democratic attitudes are on the rise. Violent protests, hate speech and hate crimes towards immigrants, refugees, LHBTQ and other minorities are more frequent than before. Polarization and distrust in democratic institutions and between people seems to be increasing both within countries and across borders. That is why it is instrumental to facilitate meeting places for young people to learn and collaborate on how to face these challenges, and together build strong international networks to promote democracy and human rights. That is what we do at Utøya.
OUR INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMMES
YOUTH & DEMOCRACY
Utøya has a long-standing tradition as a meeting place for young people engaging in political, civic and democratic issues. It is a place for international solidarity and peace work, based on democratic values and principles.
After the terror attacks 22 July 2011, Utøya was re-established as a place for civic and democratic engagement. Young people come to Utøya from all over the world to share experiences and collaborate to promote democratic values and practices. It has become a powerful and inspiring example of young people’s resilience to extremism and terror.
The programme on Youth and Democracy acknowledges and promotes the importance of young people for sustainable democracies. It encourages democratic participation, activism, training and networking through workshops, seminars and conferences aiming to empower young people to make their voices heard and count.
The Thorvald Stoltenberg Seminar is an annual training course at Utøya to support young people’s actions to foster co-existence, trust and dialogue among people living in diverse societies.
THE SURVIVOR TREE YOUTH PROGRAM
The Survivor Tree Youth Program aims to connect and support these young people to strengthen our common fight against extremism and for peaceful coexistence.
Peace & Dialogue
Utøya has a long-standing tradition as a meeting place for international solidarity and peace work, going all the way back to the 1930s. International issues and perspectives have always been integral to the political and civil society engagement at Utøya.
After the terror attacks 22 July 2011, Utøya has become an international symbol of how democracy cannot be taken for granted. What happened here resonates not only in Norway, but everywhere young people are fighting against anti-democratic, populist or extremist forces. The rebuilding of Utøya after the terror attacks as a place for peaceful dialogue is a powerful and inspiring example of young people’s resilience to extremism and terror.
Young people come to Utøya to share experiences and find ways to collaborate in the face of various threats to peace and democracy. Utøya today represents hope and resilience in the face of growing threats to human rights and democratic values and principles. Utøya has become a symbol of how one cannot take democracy for granted, not even in a peaceful country like Norway. When young people come to Utøya today, they arrive at a place where young peers from all over the world meet to stand up for democracy, human rights, peace and reconciliation.
YOUTH PEACE PROCESS FOR LIBYA
Utøya supports an informal peace process for Libya by facilitating meetings at Utøya with young people from different sides of the conflict in Libya.
Although Utøya is not a research center, we work closely with researchers and research institutions on issues relating to extremism and radicalization. Utøya facilitates study visits, workshops and conferences where research meets practice and policy.
The learning centre at Utøya is frequently the subject of research in the field of education and pedagogy, democracy and youth. Teacher education institutions follow the education programmes at Utøya, and there are several master theses written on various aspects of the learning programme at Utøya
A third field of particular interest for research is Utøya as a place for commemoration and memorialization. Utøya hosts study visits from museums, memorials and other sites of remembrance and commemoration, and maintains a close cooperation with several such places and institutions around the world.
Utøya organizes several conferences and public debates every year. This is an opportunity for policy makers, researchers and practitioners to meet and discuss issues relating to various threats to democracy. Utøya is a place where it is evident that democratic values cannot be taken for granted. As such, it offers a powerful setting for difficult and important conversations on how to counter and prevent extremism.