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13 - Fridtjof Nansen


Fridtjof Nansen

(1861 - 1930)


Arctic explorer, oceanographer, zoologist, inventor - Fridtjof Nansen achieved fame in 1895 for nearly reaching the North Pole. He became Norway's ambassador to Britain in 1905.

Later, as a Norwegian delegate to the League of Nations, he became High Commissioner for Refugees.

Through his energetic and moral leadership

  • nearly 500,000 mainly Russian and German prisoners of war were repatriated (1920)
  • nearly two million Greeks and Turks were exchanged following the 1922 Greco-Turkish War
  • millions of Russian lives were saved in the 1921-22 famine.

He invented the Nansen Passport, recognized by 52 governments, to help resettle those who had lost home and country in World War I. After his death, the League of Nations set up the Nansen International Office for Refugees, the predecessor of today's Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).


Note : The Nansen International Office for Refugees was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1938. The UNHCR was a winner in 1954 and 1981.

Question : There are millions of refugees in the world today; what cause people to become refugees? What help do they receive? What can be done to reduce their number?

Created by toussa01
Last modified 2005-01-14 04:08 PM

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