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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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