Hilsen til åpningen av utstillingen Sea Change

Oslo, 12. januar 2013

- I would like to extend my gratitude to the Literature House of Oslo for putting “Europe” on the agenda through a series of events this week, sa statssekretær Ingvild Næss Stub da hun åpnet utstillingen Sea Change 12. januar.

Dear friends,

First of all, congratulations to everyone involved in the Sea Change project.

You have taken on the challenging task of documenting the lives of our young generations at a time of transformation in Europe.

You give us powerful testimonies -- of dreams, of fears and of hopes for the future. It is nothing short of impressive.

The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs takes pride in supporting this project through the EEA and Norway Grants. The Grants represent our contribution to reducing social and economic disparities in the European Economic Area.

The financial crisis has hit young people harder than any other group.

Investing in children and young people have always been a cornerstone of the Grants.

It is all about giving them the confidence that they have the ability and the power to make changes in their own lives.

Young people are individual bundles of positive energy. If they feel empowered, they will tackle almost everything.

This exhibition documents this energy, freezing moments in the everyday lives and experiences of our young generations.

Kudos to the photographers once again for blending unnoticed into their environments – environments often inaccessible to their worried parents.

More than anything, you have documented the beautiful mosaic of European diversity.

I am pleased to see that the exhibition will be touring cities in Europe for the coming year and that it provides the framework for interesting debates and lectures on its way.

Are we suffering a Sea Change, and if so, in what way has Europe changed? Is the generation we see in these images on their way to becoming a lost one? And with it, are we losing the liberal and open Europe we have gotten used to in recent decades? Or are our notions of change just part of the constant evolutions that have always taken place on our continent?

I would like to extend my gratitude to the Literature House of Oslo for putting “Europe” on the agenda through a series of events this week. It is timely to discuss these questions and trends of developments. After a week in which Europe was once again, horribly, reminded of the power of images, I hope this exhibition will show us the power of images to acquaint us with the experiences and lives of others with whom we share a continent.

Thank you!