During his visit on 13 January, the Crown Prince received a tour of NRC’s headquarters in Oslo and met with various staff helping people forced to flee. He and his family have been interested in protecting and championing the rights of refugees for many decades.
In recent years, the Crown Prince has visited NRC field sites in Ethiopia, Colombia and Jordan. On his visit to our head office, he explained why the refugee cause is so important to his family:
“It’s always been an underlying part of our belief in the importance of humanity. That we are all people, and that we have a lot in common, and that fighting for the rights of people is important.”
A personal connection
The Norwegian royal family feels a personal connection to the plight of refugees. During the occupation of Norway in World War Two, the Crown Prince’s family themselves had to flee. Their lives were in danger. Some of the family accepted refuge in the United Kingdom, and others in the United States.
This is something that the Crown Prince touched upon during his visit:
“[My family] were threatened. Their security was threatened. They had to move, and the family was split for years which is the same as is happening to many refugees today.”
NRC has focussed on protecting and supporting displaced youth for many years with special assistance programmes. We offer a range of innovative education solutions for displaced youth that includes academic, employability and soft skills training. We also provide information campaigns for youth in Norway to raise awareness of the global refugee crisis.
We are therefore delighted that the Crown Prince and his family have made youth a priority through their work. The Crown Prince and his wife, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, established a humanitarian fund in 2001 that supports projects for youth at risk of marginalisation.
When asked why he thinks youth should be a priority in humanitarian work, the Crown Prince said: “Youth are important in themselves. [It’s important] that young people grow up in a safe environment and that they’re able to use their potential to build a good life for themselves.”
Having hope for the future is important for youth. Facilitating hope in young refugees can enable them to plan for a future that is better than the challenging past that they have faced. As the Crown Prince explains:
“If young people are given an education, if they believe in their future, if they can build a good life for themselves, it’s actually … a good resource for their country. So, it’s something that we need to tackle … because it’s key to a good life and a good society.”
The Crown Prince’s visit came at an important time. A record 70.8 million people around the world have fled their homes due to war and crisis. The need for the international community to share responsibility for protecting refugees and victims of war is greater than ever.
Having the backing of the Crown Prince helps to strengthen our work across the globe.
“I, of course, know this organisation quite well. I’ve been following [NRC’s] work for many years and it’s really great when I’m travelling around the world to hear about the great work that the NRC is doing …It always makes me proud that NRC is a Norwegian organisation, but a very international organisation and that you are doing such great work.”