Norwegen: Ingrid Eide

Failure is an orphan, success has many fathers.

— Ingrid Eide

Ingrid Eide is a member of the Board of the United Nations Association, Norway. She co-founded the Peace Research Institute in Oslo in 1959, one of the first centers of peace research in the world. She has served a member of parliament and Deputy Minister of Education. She was an active member of the Executive Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) and an early supporter of its Culture of Peace program. Ingrid is the former head of the Division of Women in Development of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Ingrid Eide grew up in a suburb outside of Oslo during World War II. Both her parents were teachers, and were involved in the Resistance. Ingrid remembers lying awake at nights worrying about her mother and father being arrested and taken away. At the time, the Nazis were using her local school as a military camp, so she was unable to attend class. Mostly, her parents taught her at home, but sometimes she would go with her father, and sit in the back of his classroom. One of her earliest memories is traveling through town with her father to the school where he worked. Next to her on the tram was a German soldier. “I looked at him and thought, maybe he has a little girl at home, just like me. It seems as if we could not be that different,” she muses. As the war progressed Ingrid was sent away to spend a year with relatives on the west coast, as her parents felt she would be safer there. “My time in this small village was invaluable to my later work,” she recollects. “I learned how a community works, how everyone has to contribute and work together.” Ingrid’s father was arrested and sent to a prison camp in Kirkenes, in the north of Norway. “When he came home he weighed 45 kilos,” she remembers. After the war was over, the awful truth emerged. Pictures of dead bodies in Auschwitz, destruction, the horror of war. Ingrid Eide was happy about the peace, but at the same time determined that this must never happen again. The seeds of a long political career for peace had been sown.

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