The Armenian Government will donate Fridtjof Nansen’s portrait by Diaspora Armenian artist Daniel Varoujan Hejinian to the Government of the Kingdom of Norway.
Armenia’s Acting Minister of Diaspora Mkhitar Hayrapetyan will hand over the portrait to Norway’s Honorary Consul in Armenia Timothy David Straight.
The picture titled “Nansen: Bridge of Friendship and Peace” reflects the friendship of the Armenian and Norwegian peoples through which Armenia and the Armenian people express their gratitude to the great humanist Fridtjof Nansen for his devoted attitude towards Armenians, for his kindness and invaluable support, as well as to Norway and its people for the humanitarian assistance provided to Armenia during the 1988 earthquake.
Norwegian explorer, politician and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Fridtjof Nansen was a strong supporter of Armenia-related issues. One of the important parts of the public work of Nansen was his activity aimed at helping the Armenian people.
He became interested in the Armenian Question in September 1896, after he became aware of 1894-1896 Hamidian massacres. Prior to World War I Nansen presented a report on the rights of small nations at the University of Christiania (nowadays Oslo) University and touched upon the problems of the Armenians, among others. Right after World War I he became involved in the matter.
Starting from 1920 Nansen actively participated in the works of the League of Nations. During 1920-22 he was the League of Nations’ High Commissioner for the repatriation of prisoners of war. In 1921 he was appointed a High Commissioner for Refugees and organized an exchange of prisoners and repatriation of refugees.
Upon Nansen’s offer, the League of Nations ratified the Nansen Passport which gave right to the stateless refugees to enter different countries. This allowed more than 320,000 Armenians receive the right to free movement.
In 1924 Fridtjof Nansen started to study the repatriation issues of the Armenian refugees. In June 1925 he visited Soviet Armenia and, as a result, succeeded in organizing the repatriation of nearly 7,000 Armenian refugees.
In 2011, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Fridtjof Nansen, the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute issued a nominal postcard, as well as ''Fridtjof Nansen -150'' medal.