10th June Keynote: Ole Henrik Magga
Ole Henrik Magga is a professor of Sami linguistics at The Saami University College in Guovdageaidnu (Kautokeino), Norway. He will speak on "Arctic peoples and Arctic research - success stories, contradictions and mutual expectations". Professor Magga was the first president of The Sami Parliament in Norway from 1989-97.
"I am very much aware of the sense of community between the indigenous peoples of the world, especially in international cooperation and on matters of principle."
Ole Henrik Magga
Ole Henrik Magga has combined his academic career with politics. He was the President of the political party Norske Samers Riksforbund from 1980 to 1985. He has been a member of numerous committees and commissions on Sami issues and active in the international indigenous movement for several decades.
Magga was one of the founding members of The World Council of Indigenous Peoples (WCIP), established in Canada in 1976. The council was a formal international body dedicated to having concepts of aboriginal rights accepted on a worldwide scale. The WCIP had observer status in the United Nations, and dealt with the economic, cultural, political, and social rights of indigenous peoples, along with the retention of their land and natural resources, before being dissolved in 1996.
He has also had other international engagements, including membership of the Norwegian delegation to United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro 1992. In 1992-1995 he served as a member of the World Commission of Culture and Development (UN/UNESCO) chaired by Perez de Cuéllar. He has worked for indigenous peoples' rights for more than 30 years.
From 2002 to 2004 Professor Magga was the first chairman of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. The Permanent Forum is an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council, with a mandate to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights.
Sápmi is the name of the cultural region traditionally inhabited by the Sámi people, located in Northern Europe and includes the northern parts of Fennoscandia. The region stretches over four countries: Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. The last decades cross-border co-operation has become more important, and existing state borders less important both for the Sámi indigenous population and non-Sámi inhabitants. Russians and Norwegians are the most numerous groups, and the Sámi make up only a small minority of about 5%. The global population of indigenous peoples is estimated at 300 million in 70 countries.
His mother worked in Finland, so Ole Henrik Magga grew up with his grandparents in Guovdageaidnu (Kautokeino) in northern Norway. Later his mother returned to Norway and married a reindeer owner, and he had seven brothers and sisters. After military training in Norway, he went to university, where he studied biology, chemistry and mathematics. Then he decided to help furthering Sami culture, and started studying Sami linguistics. He took a PhD in Sami linguistics in 1986.
As a Professor at Saami University College, Ole Henrik Magga is specialised in Saami syntax and language planning. Ole Henrik Magga became Professor in Fennougristics at the Universitety of Oslo in 1988, but decided to move to Sápmi and The Saami University College in Guovdageaidnu (Kautokeino). Magga is a Member of The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters since 1993.
Last updated: 14.04.2010