Bring the debate along Caritas at Arendalsuka

The organizer logo for Arendalsuka

Caritas participates in Arendalsuka to highlight topics such as inclusion, development policy and peace and reconciliation.

  • How can civil society contribute to increased trust between immigrants and public services?
  • What do we do when humanitarian needs increase and funding shrinks?
  • Is it possible to open a conversation about peace and reconciliation in Israel/Palestine?

These are some of the questions we take with us to the southern city in August.

Political festival

Arendalsuka is an annual political festival in Arendal that was established in 2012. Inspired by the Swedish Almedalsveckan, Arendalsuka brings together leading politicians, business leaders and debaters to discuss current societal challenges. Caritas has participated with its own events since 2018.

"Arendalsuka is a democratic meeting place for committed people, and in my experience there is no other place where the distance between the grassroots and the decision-makers is shorter. Here, it's easy to talk to ministers, parliamentary politicians, bureaucrats and industry colleagues. You meet them on the street or at one of the many debates that are arranged and therefore we prioritize being there.

Ingrid Rosendorf Joys, secretary general of caritas norway

This year, we are hosting three events ourselves, but are also co-organizing several others. The topics we have chosen are the role of civil society as a bridge between immigrants and public services, future development policy and opportunities for peace and reconciliation in Israel/Palestine.

How can civil society contribute to increased trust between immigrants and public services?

Equal public services mean that everyone has the same access, that the services are adapted to individual needs and that they are of equal quality for all users, regardless of background or starting point.

Unfortunately, this is not the case today. At Caritas , we meet people every day who find that public services are inaccessible to them, who struggle to orient themselves in society or to understand information from public agencies. This may be due to a lack of language skills, a lack of information, or a lack of digital skills. The government is in the process of designing a new integration policy, which is why we want to discuss how civil society can contribute to increased trust between immigrants and the public sector as bridge builders and door openers.

The debate will take place on Tuesday, August 13 at 10 am at Smashed in Kirkegata. FAFO researcher Jon Horgen Friberg, Sonja Skinnarland, Director of Work and Services at NAV, and Kjetil Vevle, State Secretary at the Ministry of Labor and Inclusion, will attend the event. We are also working to bring a politician from one of the opposition parties.

See the event's Facebook invitation here.

Guidance at Caritas Resource Center
Volunteer provides guidance to visitors at Caritas Resource Center. (Photo: Caritas Norway)

Current and former development ministers discuss development policy

In recent years, the world has experienced significant geopolitical tensions and climate change that have profound implications for development policy. What's next for the SDGs, poverty alleviation and the fight against hunger? We've invited current and former development ministers from the past 25 years to talk about global trends and the future of development policy.

The event is for anyone interested in how Norway can and should respond to rapidly changing global conditions. Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, current Minister for Development Cooperation (Sp), Hilde Frafjord Johnson (KrF), Nikolai Astrup (H) will participate in the conversation, which will be moderated by our Secretary General Ingrid Joys. This will take place at Høyer bookstore on Wednesday, August 14 at 15.00-15.45.

See the event's Facebook invitation here.

Female small-scale farmers standing in their fields in DR Congo.
Women smallholder farmers standing in their fields in DR Congo (Photo: Heidi Solheim Nordbeck/Caritas Norway)

Shortly afterwards, we move over to Bankgården and between 16:30 and 17:30 we highlight a topic that has dominated the news since last fall. The war in Gaza. The title we have given this event is:

Pathways to peace and reconciliation in Israel/Palestine

Gaza lies in ruins. Is it possible to open a conversation about reconciliation? The region is marked by deep wounds and a legacy of mistrust. Reconciliation requires a deep understanding and treatment of historical wounds, injustices and abuses. Based on a humanitarian testimony from the ground in Gaza, we will explore pathways to peace and reconciliation from a faith-based, legal and political perspective.

For this conversation, we have invited Joav Melchior from the Jewish Community, Senaid Kobilica, Muslim Dialogue Network, Sigurd Markussen, the Catholic Church, international lawyer Cecilie Hellestveit, Hanne Sofie Greve, former judge at the European Court of Human Rights and Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide.

See the event's Facebook invitation here.

Caritas-Gaza employee walks on a dirt road surrounded by ruins
CaritasAn employee in Gaza walks on a dirt road surrounded by ruins (Photo: Caritas Jerusalem)

Collaborate on more events

Caritas is also involved in several other events. These include the major development debate, which is an annual collaboration between the aid organizations in Norway. This year's debate focuses on the various parties' overall policies. The world is increasingly troubled, with multiple and complex challenges. Norway has an important international role in peace, climate and development work. The debate will be held at Bærekraftscenen on Wednesday, August 14, 18.30-19.30.

See the event's Facebook invitation here.

Caritas is also a co-organizer of the role-playing game "The Activist - the game" about locally led development together with the Church emergency response and several other development organizations. "The Activist" addresses various dilemmas related to partnership, locally led development and the balance of power between local grassroots organizations and international organizations.  

Read more about the event here.

Global week and modern slavery

Together with Global Week and the organizations in the Christian Council of Norway, we also support the dance performance Wingspan, which is about modern slavery.

The performance is part of the Arendalsuka Ung program, will be performed on 15 and 16 August, is intended for a younger audience and all the city's schools are invited.

Here you can see the event's Facebook invitation for August 15th and August 16th.