Stav School presenting its project at Utøya

Democracy learning from Utøya to the classroom

The students who participated at Learning Democracy at Utøya this fall have brought what they learned back to their classrooms. Schools who want to join the programme, can apply for the spring seminars.

66 students from 13 different Norwegian schools spent three days at Utøya, learning and talking about the terrorist attack 22 July 2011, and at the same time discussing topics such as democratic citizenship and prevention of hate speech, anti-democratic forces and extremism. The European Wergeland Centre organized the seminars together with the 22 July Centre, Rafto Foundation and Utøya.

Returning to their schools, the participants shared what they learned with around 800 of their peers.

Sigurd, Maria, Leah and Amelia from Stav school in Skedsmo carried out lectures and exercises for five 9th grade classes.

They told their fellow students what happened 22 July 2011, and also about their own experiences from participating in “Learning Democracy at Utøya”. Afterwards, they followed up with practical exercises, which they had themselves taken part in during the workshop. The aim with the exercises is to engage young people in critical thinking, reflection and democratic dialogue.

The student group also plan to present the project for parents and do similar sessions with students from 8th grade, and maybe 10th grade. The other schools who participated at the trainings this fall are also reporting about similar successful training sessions.

EWC aims to re-establish Utøya as a place where young people learn about, through and for democracy and human rights. By honoring the memory and democratic engagement of those who died, and telling the stories and thoughts of some who survived, Utøya serves as a very real starting point for democratic dialogue.

Two seminars will take place this spring and further seminars are planned in the autumn of 2017. Registration for the spring seminars is now open with the first selection of school teams December 1. Details on how to apply are available in Norwegian at

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