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Åpning av Fangenes Testamente 2012

Tale av Ordfører Per Kristian Lunden

Dear friends of peace
Dear guest of honour, Dr. Gene Sharp

I am as mayor happy to welcome you all to our town and the municipality of Risør.

Risør is not new to international interaction.  Our growth and development as a local society is historically based on international trade and shipping. Our forefathers crossed the seas to foreign places across the world and gave often references to cities like Cape Town, Buenos Aires and Shanghai.

Times have changed, but Risør is still very much part of a global environment. Our business enterprises have a wide range of trade partners and suppliers throughout the world. Tourists arrive from various nations. Trough travel and media we get drawn into the global context. I hope that we are able to approach the world as not only spectators but also active and open-minded participants.

There is no bigger global challenge than creating and maintaining peace in the world. And I am happy that we here on Risør through this week - and thanks to Aktive Fredsreiser - can participate in joint global effort to understand how peace, freedom and democracy can be created. We are also given a chance to show solidarity and be engaged in the long-term effort to create a better world. I hope that everyone in Risør will respond positively to this opportunity.

As a politician I have learned that democracy in a local society is not a static definition but a constant challenge in our mind-sets and out practical behaviour. I visited the speaker of the Norwegian Parliament a week ago. He receives visitors from all over the world, including several heads of states and ambassadors. They often sit down to talk about democracy and the Norwegian experience. A typical question is: What is the most powerful institution in a democracy - the Government or the Parliament. The answer is neither the Government nor the Parliament. The right answer is the People.

I am happy that we can use this evening to learn more about the power of the people. I am extremely proud about the fact that Risør has an organisation like Travel for Peace who delivers us top world thinks at our doorsteps.

I look very much forward to the rest of this afternoon and I hope you all have a pleasant stay in Risør.