Forskings- og høgare utdanningsministerens tale på Holbergprisutdelinga 2024

Holbergprisen gjekk i år til professor Achille Mbembe og Nils Klim-prisen gjekk til professor Siddharth Sareen. Her er statsråd Hoel sin tale frå utdelinga av dei to prisane.

Dear laureates. Your Excellency. Ladies and gentlemen.

On behalf of the Norwegian government, I am proud to say that it is the 21st time that the Holberg prize and the Nils Klim prize are awarded here in Bergen. Once again we get to honour scholars who have made outstanding contributions to research in the humanities, social sciences, law or theology.

We live in a world of accelerating change and revolutionary technologies.

But in this world of upheaval, we simply cannot find the right path – we cannot even begin to look for it – without the disciplines which we celebrate here today.

Now more than ever we need the perspectives which question the narratives that have always been told.

And in the very center of this questioning, we find this years’ laureates.

Professor Achille Mbembe and Professor Siddharth Sareen, I want to extend my warmest congratulations to you both.

And, I must say, it is about time that the Holberg prize goes to an scholar based in Africa. For far too long, a great deal of academic teaching in Europe has been dominated by Western thought.

To understand ourselves and others, to understand the concept of “us” – of humanity – we need to include more perspectives. If not, we will end up reproducing the errors of today – those of climate crisis, inequality, racism and exploitation.

I am happy that we have scholars like you, prof. Mbembe and prof. Sareen, on our team. In each of your ways, you direct attention towards some of the greatest struggles of our time.

By helping us understand the world better, we are better equipped to act. For that – and for your exceptional contributions – we honour you today.

Thank you!