World Seminars of 2016

World Seminars of 2016

Norwegian institutions connection to weapon and the oil industry in Israel

The panel consisted of Ronnie Barkan, Israeli human rights activist working with Boycott from Within, Peder Martin Lysestøl, associate professor in economics at the University College of Sør-Trønderlag, and Kristina Klakegg, officer of international affairs at Studentparliamentet at Universitet i Oslo. Lysestøl has among else written the book «Israel: bak muren av myter og propaganda» and the pamphlet «Det isrealiske gasseventyret og Norge som den gode fe» The moderator was Tora Systad Tyssen from Fellesutvalget for Palestina.

Each of the panelists introduced the topic from their point of view, and then there was a debate going a bit deeper into some of the topics the panelist took up under their introductions. It was also possible for people in the audience to ask questions or comment.

Recently NTNU started cooperating with Israeli universities. Israel is in need of energy, and has found several large gas fields. They have contacted Norway to start research cooperation and to start extraction from the field.

Another topic that was important in the debate was academia as something that intentionally or unintentionally contributes to breaking human rights and violating international law.

Education, not politics; another topic that came up during the discussion was whether research collaborations could be totally separated from politics.

Hydropower in Myanmar – clean energy or conflict driver?

Once again a large and varied audience gathered in Auditorium 3, this time for the last World seminar (Verdensseminar) of 2016. The theme for the debate was hydropower in Myanmar, and if it is clean energy or a conflict driver.

The panel consisted of Saw Tha Phoe, the Salween Campaign Program Coordinator for Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN). Stephen Sparkes the Head of Environmental and Social Governance, Statkraft (owner of SN Power) and Svein Erik Stave, a researcher for Fafo, involved in "A Baseline Study of Norwegian Development Cooperation within the areas of Environment and Natural Resources Management in Myanmar."

The debate had an introduction with Åse Sand who is the head of Information for Norwegian Burma Committee. Audun Aagre, director of the Norwegian Burma Committee moderated the event.

Each of the panellists where given an opportunity to introduce the topic, according to their point of view, and the three panellists had quite different approaches to the issues at hand.

The Namtu- river is already the site for several other hydropower projects that have not benefited the local population because the electricity is being sold, and one of the questions raised in the debate is how SN Power, the biggest investor in this new hydropower project, will make sure that it will benefit the locals.

Myanmar is in huge need of energy, as 70 percent of the population is without it. Electricity is a precondition for development, and this debate revolved around whether hydropower in the Namtu- river is a possible solution to this problem, or if it will be a hindrance in the democratisation process that is ongoing in Myanmar. 

- Synnøve Kristine Moe