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Barents Region’s father appointed Honorary Doctor

The founding-father of the Barents Cooperation, Thorvald Stoltenberg, becomes the first honorary doctor of the new Arctic University in Arkhangelsk.

The former minister of foreign affairs in 1993 formalized the ground-breaking cooperation initiative together with Russian, Finnish and Swedish counterparts.

The ceremony takes place in Arkhangelsk on February 15.

The Northern (Arctic) Federal University of Arkhangelsk was established in 2010 when the two biggest state universities in Arkhangelsk – The Technical University and the Pomor University were merged into one structure with a high level of autonomy and lavish federal financing.

Thorvald Stoltenberg served as Minister of Defense (1979-81) and Minister of Foreign Affairs (1987-1989 and 1990-1993) in two Labour governments.

The Barents Cooperation was formalized in 1993 in the wake of the Soviet Union breakup. The cooperation initiative, which is based on the idea to build institutional and human bridges across the regional east-west border, has since contributed to stability and growth in the northernmost part of Europe.

-Stoltenberg's idea about a regional cooperation in the North is perhaps the most important Norwegian foreign policy initiative ever, says Head of the Norwegian Barents Secretariat Rune Rafaelsen.

Text: Trude Pettersen

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