A vision and the current situation
When I founded the Oslo Center with my colleague Einar Steensnæs in 2006, the idea was to establish a small and flexible center using dialogue and bridge building to promote peace and human rights. Gradually, we have increasingly focusedour efforts on democracy assistance projects as we view democracy as a crucial precondition for lasting peace and respect for human rights. In a world of international crisis, such as the civil wars in Syria and Yemen as well as setbacks in democratic development in Europe and elsewhere, we strongly believe that supporting democratic development has never been more important.
The Oslo Center will continue to provide comparative knowledge, share practical experience, creating meeting venues for conflict prevention, facilitate dialogue and contribute to strengthening responsible leadership.
We have three basic assumptions that will continue to lay the foundation for all our endeavors:
Integrity – we acknowledge the importance of building trust through relationships based on respect and of democracies that are homegrown and based on local ownership.
Inclusivity – we highlight the importance of inclusivity and equality in political representation and participation; stress the importance of human rights; and pay special attention to gender equality, the rights of minorities and the rights of vulnerable and marginalized groups.
Commitment – we take a practical, long-term approach to democracy assistance, acknowledging that democracy is a process which takes time.
The Oslo Center has become an independent, non-partisan democracy assistance center, which assists fragile states and vulnerable democracies to strengthen political institutions and processes. These countries often lack experience in democracy building and recognize the need for and request the assistance.
Our vision is a world consisting of stable democracies respecting equality, human dignity and human rights. The Oslo Center strives to contribute to this development.