Freedom of Expression Tribute to Odd S. Lovoll


Press release, 1 September 2011

The Fritt Ord Foundation has decided to award the Freedom of Expression Tribute to Professor Odd S. Lovoll. The tribute will be awarded to Dr Lovoll by Guri Hjeltnes, a member of Fritt Ord's Board of Trustees, on Tuesday, 6 September 2011, at 5 p.m., in the Fritt Ord Foundation's premises at Uranienborgveien 2 in Oslo. Following the ceremony, Professor Lovoll will lecture on "A forgotten cultural heritage: The remarkable flourishing of the Norwegian-American immigrant press".

The Freedom of Expression Tribute is being awarded to Odd S. Lovoll for his significant contribution to writing the history of Norwegian America.

Through his comprehensive body of work, Odd S. Lovoll has shed light on a wide variety of Norwegian-American topics. The recipient of the Tribute has published general accounts and specific studies, covering not least the Norwegian regional societies (bygdelag) in America and immigrants' lives in Chicago and in small prairie towns. His latest book, Norwegian Newspapers in America, is a standard work on the Norwegian-American press.

Dr Lovoll is referred to as "the foremost historian of the Norwegian Americans", and few have a comparable level of knowledge about and understanding of this segment of the population.

The Promise of America (1983) is Dr Lovoll's best-known, most popular publication. The book portrays emigration from Norway to the USA and the society created by the immigrants in the new country. The Promise Fulfilled (1999) gives a contemporary depiction of that segment of the population at the change of the millennium. The book occupies a special position in recent American ethnic history.

Odd S. Lovoll is professor emeritus at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. He has worked at that institution for 30 years, holding the King Olav V Chair in Scandinavian-American Studies from 1992 to 2000.

Throughout his professional career, Professor Lovoll has maintained close ties with Norway as a lecturer and through speaking engagements at universities and colleges. He was employed as a professor II of History at the University of Oslo from 1995 to 2004. In 1986, Professor Lovoll was decorated with the Knight's Cross of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit, and in 1989, he became a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

Odd S. Lovoll was born in 1934 in Sande in Møre & Romsdal County, emigrating to Seattle in 1946. Educated in Norway and USA, he studied Norwegian at the University of Bergen (1961) and history at the University of Oslo (1967). Further, he wrote his M.A. thesis at the University of North Dakota (1969) and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota (1973).

The Freedom of Expression Foundation is a public-utility private foundation that aspires to promote freedom of expression and public debate.

The Freedom of Expression Tribute acknowledges remarkable efforts to promote free speech, often in connection with current events. Tributes are bestowed when someone deserves them, without any constraints on their number. The tribute is accompanied by a crystal vase and NOK 100 000.

See the list of previous recipients of the Freedom of Expression Tribute.


Odd S. Lovoll: Tel. 001 507 645 6058

Erik Rudeng, Fritt Ord Foundation: Tel. (+47) 230 14641

Oskar Kvasnes, Fritt Ord Foundation: Tel. (+47) 230 14644 or 408 53370 to obtain print-quality pictures.

Photo: Janne Lindgren

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Supported projects – examples

Amanda Prize to Light Fly, Fly High

On 16 August 2014, the Amanda Prize for the best documentary film was awarded to Fri Film for the documentary "Light Fly, Fly High". The film is about the young Indian boxing talent Thulasi and her struggle against discrimination, corruption and sexual oppression. Beathe Hofseth and Susann Østigaard have directed and produced the film. Warm congratulations to Fri Film!

The Fritt Ord Foundation provided NOK 295 000 for the development and production of "Light Fly, Fly High".

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NJP #1 earned distinction in the category “periodica”, and the jury writes, among other things: “Using a subtle, modern layout, 10 Norwegian photographers are presented objectively and clearly. Single navy blue dividing sheets mark the introduction and the transition to/between the individual players whose series of photos are vastly different, but are kept in precisely the same tight rein within a set framework.”

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Support for journals

Five journals figure on the list of recipients of the Fritt Ord Foundation's minor grants in June 2014. The journal Manifest Tidsskrift received support for a series of articles "Piketty to the People", and the philosophical journal Agora for a themed issue on racism. Seismopolite received a grant for its publication about freedom of expression in photography, film, theatre and performance art, while the Association of 2007 for the Promotion of Artistic Reflection and Debate received a grant for next year's issue of the art journal Second-Class Mail. Support was also granted for magazine Fanfare's #4 on the concept of "bullshit".

A list has been published of the minor grants awarded by the Freedom of Expression Foundation in June 2014.

Who is your hero?

The Fritt Ord Foundation Competition for Pupils in Upper Secondary School will continue with a new topic in the upcoming school year: "Freedom of expression's heroes and anti-heroes".

To help the participants get started, we would like a contribution from you. Send in a short film clip in which you answer the question about who is your hero or anti-hero, and state your reason why in one sentence. Send the film to or as ‪#‎frittordhelt‬ on Twitter.