The Hardanger Academy for Peace, Development and Environment

The Hardanger Academy for Peace, Development and Environment is a NGO that arranged yearly summer symposia in Jondal since 2005.Under its former name, "Nordic Peace Academy" the orgnisation has worked with peace issues and how to solve minor and major conflicts by human meetings - dialogue work - non-violent means.

The Hardanger Academy's primary goal is peace ork at all levels. We are aware of how our planet's climate situation and the seemingly fixed economic growth ideology are closely interwoven and easily can lead to armed conflicts and war. Therefore, the extension of our mission to the three areas of Peace, Development and Environment is a logical process that allows for greater perspectives.

The world is now up against a great challenges, and the inhabitants of our planet are facing perhaps the most important choice of direction of all time. The world peace organization, the United Nations, has pointed out the predominant problems, and has highlighted three main goals: PEACE, DEVELOPMENT and ENVIRONMENT,

ENVIRONMENT. Making an effort to achieve peace and development while protecting the environment, is an obvious path to choose in the situation in which the world now finds itself. The peaceful solution of conflict, just development, and the sustainable use of nature are values that are not only worth aiming for, but are also existentially essential to our future.

PEACE: Financial crises, climate disasters, and the hunt for the world's last resources increase the danger of war. Most of us know that war and other forms of armed conflict are completely mistaken means to pursue when the goal is conflict resolution. Still, we continue to wage war. Conflict resolution through negotiation and reconciliation is necessary to turn the destructive development around.

DEVELOPMENT: The governing model of production and distribution is founded on a purely economic ideology of growth, based on continuous quantitative increase. On the one hand, this has lead to over-production and over-consumption, while on the other it has resulted in pollution and poverty. Quantitative growth must be replaced by qualitative improvement, paired with sustainable development and fair distribution of goods.

ENVIRONMENT: Man-made climate change is a threat to all life on earth. A new awakening is necessary to see and recognize the direction in which we are headed. This must be embedded in our consciousness and in all political action.
These are the values that Jonatun, the project of the Nordic Peace Academy, has as its foundation and guiding light.

At the summer symposium in 2011, the plan to establish a base for more comprehensive and continued activity was revived. The operation of the health trust JONATUN had been discontinued, the buildings stood empty, and Helse Fonna was responsible for the upkeep of the property.

The effort for a house of peace in Jondal has lasted for many years. At the summer symposium in 2012 the plan was resumed to establish a center for more extensive and continuous work. The healthcare institution Jonatunet was closed, the house empty. The owner, Health Fonna, took care of the regular maintenance of the property and was going to sell it. We are grateful that the property  Jonatunet now is handed over to the academy. We estimate to spend a year making the building ready for all the studies and activities of the Hardanger Academy.

Jonatun was built as a tuberculosis sanatorium in 1934, and is beautifully situated in nature. It is distinguished by spaciousness, light and air. The facilities and the park are on Norway's heritage list, but in our opinion may be used for several purposes without requiring significant renovation or other changes. The simple standard of the buildings is perfectly suited to the ecological profile of the project. In addition to the established functions (kitchen, dining hall, bedrooms, chapel), we envision areas for use as conference rooms, library, exhibition rooms, workshops, auditorium/concert hall/cinema, guest rooms, studies, administration offices, etc.

We have oncluded that the layout, organization and size of the existing buildings are well suited and can easily be adapted to harbour a center for Peace, Development and Environment. With its large garden and three buildings, it is very well suited for both large and small conferences, courses, seminars and symposiums, and also for work- and study visits by individual researchers, artists, peace- and environmental workers, those who seek tranquility and dialogue, and for study and contemplation. 

On 20th October 2012 the council members and all board members of NPA attended a meeting in Jondal with the mayor, the chief administrative officer and two previous mayors. Here the plans for a take-over and the ensuing utilization of Jonatun were examined. The local government members expressed positive sentiments toward a center for peace, development and environment. They also regarded the idea as positive for the local community. The initiators may count on full support from Jondal's local government if a non-commercial organization, for example a trust, were to take over Jonatun. The negosiations have ended and it is now clear that we may acquire Jonatunet from Health Fonna via Jondal who helped making it possible. During 2013 and 2014 the academy has sent applications for local funding. There is now sufficient capital for repairs, reconstruction for our purpose and other maintenance expenses for the first year.

We will offer Jonatunet to academic institutions and NGOs. We have calculated that the operating income will cover the maintenance costs after the first year of reconstruction. We have several partner who will co-operate with us, and we are looking for more persones and organisations who also want to sow "future seeds for a better world".

Jondal is beautifully situated by the Hardanger fjord between the fjord and a glacier. The village is already a well established destination and meeting place with its two hotels, centers for youth, culture and activities and facilities for all year skiing.

Since the recent opening of the tunnel from Odda, Jondal has become a centrally-located meeting place in Southern Norway. The town is situated on the road between Bergen and Oslo, and is located only a few hours by car or bus from the universities, colleges, research institutes and peace- and environmental organizations of Oslo, Ås, Kristiansand, Stavanger and Bergen. Lying two hours from Flesland and four hours from the ferry at Kristiansand, Jonatun is also easily accessible for international conference participants.

The Hardanger Academy has the potential to become a meeting place, a workplace, a site for learning, culture, nature, and a fertile ground for future solutions. Projects, seminars, courses, symposiums and study groups could cover:

Nature, with keywords such as:
· Folgefonna glacier and the Hardangerfjord
· Natural resources and the utilization of resources nationally, regionally and globally, for instance the importance of water
· Norwegian arctic politics, with the drastic interventions into the ocean under the thawing ice now being planned
· Global natural disasters
· Energy-related challenges
· Food shortages as a result of failed distributional politics
· Ecological farming and locally produced food
· Permaculture

For glaciologists, the Folgefonna glacier is the most accessible and most well-explored glacier, with core data from prehistory's climate changes and environmental pollution. Glaciers are our time's indicators of the present climate crisis.

· Thought/knowledge/creativity - ground-breaking, transcendent
· Culture as a way of expression through words, images, music, theater, film, movement ...
· Culture as a way of co-existence (locally, regionally, globally), governed by fairness and reciprocity
· Dialogue and equality. The culture of peace, the culture of ecology
· Studies and cooperation toward developing alternative and better economic models, characterized by sustainability - with qualitative rather than quantitative growth (like an ecological economy)
· Social justice, non-violent conflict resolution.

The Hardanger Academy has a predominantly interdisciplinary, holistic profile. Natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities are intertwined. Given the importance of religion in conflicts and social development, history of religion, theology and ecumenism should also be among the fields of interest for Jonatun. The property's own chapel and Jondal church may be utilized for such purposes.

We are merely one of many organizations in many countries attempting to broaden the knowledge of - and the conditions for - peace and the road to peace in our complex reality. The Hardanger Academy is the initiator of the project, but we are of course aware that the project can only succeed in cooperation with relevant research institutions and organizations. When a sufficient number of forward-thinking institutions and groups discover the qualities and possibilities of Jonatun, we aim to establish collaboration and an appropriate owner-organization to secure a democratic and effective way of running and developing the site.

Through interactive, experimental and participating learning, new knowledge and practical skills are created, required to meet the ecological, economic and social challenges of the 21st century. Our task is to inspire, challenge and ask questions that help to develop creative, critical, and empowered citizens.

Jonatunet should be a meeting place where a multitude of different people come together to be promoters to solve the challenges we face.