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Freedom of Expression Prize for 2013 awarded to Per Fugelli

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Press Release - 20 February 2013

The decision of the Board of Trustees of the Fritt Ord Foundation is based on the following grounds:

"Per Fugelli is awarded the Freedom of Expression Foundation Prize for 2013 for having given a voice to cancer patients and those who stand face to face with death."

The Freedom of Expression Prize is the institution's highest distinction. The amount of the prize is NOK 400 000. The prize is accompanied by the Fritt Ord Foundation statuette made by Nils Aas. The award ceremony will take place at 7.00 p.m. on Tuesday, 14 May 2013, at the Norwegian Opera & Ballet, Stage 2, in Oslo.

Based on his own experiences and illness after being diagnosed with cancer in 2009, Per Fugelli has helped open up a discussion about what it means to be seriously ill. With wisdom and generosity, he has drawn attention to our fears of talking about death and how we repress such thoughts. As Fugelli puts it: "Today's society needs to 'release death from the prison of banned words". Among other works, he has written the following book on this topic: Death, shall we dance? (2010), which has proved a welcome contribution to candour about death in life.

As a general practitioner, Per Fugelli has been an independent critic of his own profession for many years. He has opposed the bureaucratisation of Norwegian health care institutions. Fugelli takes a humanistic approach to health and social policy, focussing on the entire individual. He has shown that the best "social medicine" is to build up and share dignity with vulnerable groups such as ethnic minorities, the poor and those who are physically challenged. Through countless lectures and fearless participation in a large number of important debates, he has been a prominent contributor to Norway's public space fora for a long time.

Born in Stavanger in 1943, Per Fugelli is currently a professor of Social Medicine at the University of Oslo. Before moving to Oslo in 1992, he was a professor of General Practice at the University of Bergen. Fugelli has also worked as a medical officer in Lofoten and in Finnmark County in the far north of Norway. In addition to Death, shall we dance? (2010), he has published the book The Enough Point. Essays on health and dignity (2008), The 0 Vision. Essays on health and freedom (2003), Red prescription. Essays on perfection, performance and health (1999) and The patient Norway. Studies in political pathology (1994). Per Fugelli had a seat on the steering group of Norway's National Value Commission.

The Fritt Ord Foundation's Board is comprised of Georg Fr. Rieber-Mohn (Chair), Grethe Brochmann (Deputy Chair), Christian Bjelland, Liv Bliksrud, Guri Hjeltnes, Frank Rossavik and Sigrun Slapgard.

The Fritt Ord Foundation is a private non-profit foundation that aspires to promote freedom of expression and public debate.

For information about the previous prize laureates.


Photo: Charlotte Holst Fugelli



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Supported projects – examples

Support for journals
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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 (in Norwegian).

Who is your hero?
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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 post@fritt-ord.no or as ‪#‎frittordhelt‬ on Twitter.

Manuscript support for new books
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The Fritt Ord Foundation's round of major allocations in June 2014 included grants for 20 Norwegian writers to support the creation of new factual prose. For example, Sidsel Wold received NOK 150 000 for a book project with the working title "How to understand Syria?", while Sølvi Wærhaug received NOK 100 000 for a book on the history of the school of home economics that takes its point of departure in its founder Minna Wetlesen. NOK 150 000 were awarded to Ola Henmo for his documentary book about Karen Friele. Håvard Rem was awarded NOK 125 000 for the book ”Norwegian lyrics”, an historical literary review of Norwegian-language lyrics from 1945 to 2015, and Kjetil Jakobsen was granted NOK 150 000 to work on the second and third volume of the work "The World Citizenry's History of Ideas".

See the entire list of the major grants made by the Fritt Ord Foundation in June 2014.

Contributions to blog projects
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The minor grants in May 2014 include two journalistic projects based on blogs as a means of communicating information. Through a blog and a newspaper column in the newspaper Dagsavisen, musician and journalist Aslak Borgersrud will report from the corridors of Stortinget, the Norwegian parliament, under the title "A Lout in Parliament". In their project "The Identity of Ukraine", the young journalists Eskil Wie and Frode Nagel Dahl will communicate news items from Ukraine through blogs, websites, exhibitions and books.

A list of the minor grants awarded in May 2014 has been posted.

Festival support
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When processing applications for major grants in April 2014, support was given to seven festivals. The Bollywood Festival Norway 2014 and the project "Nobel-Myanmar Literary Festival: Literature: for Peace" were among the recipients, along with the Non-fiction Festival in Oslo and the Festival University at the Oslo Book Festival. Grants were also awarded to the Oslo International Poetry Festival, the Trondheim Documentary Festival and the Literary Festival Words in the Borderland in Fredrikstad. Most of the festivals are scheduled for autumn 2014.

See the list of the major grants awarded by the Fritt Ord Foundation's in April 2014.