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

The Democracy Festival 2014

Three former prime ministers and six recipients of the Fritt Ord Prize will be on stage at Demokratifestivalen on Eidsvoll, Saturday 13 September.

Per Fugelli, Abid Raja, Anne Sender, Nina Karin Monsen, Anders Sømme Hammer and Bushra Ishaq participate in what might be the most important conversation of this year’s celebration of the Norwegian Constitution’s 200th anniversary. Together will moderator Håvard Kleppa they will discuss the costs associated with freedom of speech.

The programme can be found here. The Fritt Ord Foundation has provided NOK 50 000 in support of the festival.

Support for documentary films


There were eight documentary films among the projects that were approved for Fritt Ord Foundation funding in August. Among them, Colorbar was granted NOK 150 000 for the production of "The last dose", in which the director Hilde Stålskjær Olsen shadows the former drug-abuser Siri as she makes her way out of drug-assisted rehabilitation. Motlys received NOK 100 000 to work with Paulina Cervenka's documentary film "Wanja" (picture) about a woman suffering from the fatal disease ALS. Further, NOK 200 000 was granted to Fenomen TV film og scene for the production of "The Lady from Os", directed by Pål Winsents - a sequel to the documentary "The Girl from Oz" (2006) about mentally challenged Christina.

A list has now been published of the grants awarded by the Fritt Ord Foundation in August 2014.