Tormod Heier awarded the Ossietzkris Prize 2017

Congratulatulations to CCW Vistiting Research Fellow, Lieutenant Colonel Tormod Heier, on winning the Ossietzkris Prize 2017.  He was awarded the prize by Norsk PEN for his contribution to a public, critical debate on Norwegian defense and foreign policy.

The Ossietzkris prize is Norsk PEN's award for outstanding efforts for freedom of expression. The prize is awarded annually to a person or institution who, for some time or in connection with a particular case or incident, has made a special effort for freedom of speech. Prize winners should be affiliated with Norway, personally or in connection with the current case. The board of Norsk PEN decides who will be awarded the Ossietzkris prize.

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Tormod Heier is a counter-current voice in a consensus-prone academic environment in the Armed Forces. In an engaged way he has discussed current topics such as Syria, Norway's relationship with Russia and Norway's foreign operations, where he has used his own experiences from Afghanistan. He has used his military discipline to challenge adopted truths and come up with alternative approaches and analyzes of the new Cold War. He has, on a military background, posed critical questions regarding the basis for Norwegian participation in the bombing of Libya in 2011 and the implementation of the NATO operation, as a British parliamentary commission has subsequently shown, occurred on a failing basis. Heier has combined academic contributions with public debate posts, where he has required a review of the bombing. He has dealt with important topics such as censorship and self-censorship in the military-academic environment in a nuanced and reflective manner.

Tormod Heier is Lieutenant Colonel in the Norwegian Army and holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Oslo. He is a Senior Faculty Advisor at the Norwegian Command and Staff College at the Defence University in Oslo. He is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Changing Character of War Programme at Pembroke College, where he is conducting a case study on NATO’s Northern Group, looking at the conditions under which, how, and to what purpose regional clusters emerge, and what operational benefits and risks they bring. In 2016, along with Professor Janne Haaland Matlary, he published Ukraine and Beyond: Russia's Strategic Security Challenge to Europe (Palgrave Macmillan). The volume, described as “the first full-spectrum analysis of Russian and European norms of political action, ranging from international law, ethics, and strategy, to the specific norms for the use of force”, brings together leading scholars from these various fields, examining the differences in norm understanding between Russia and Europe.

The Board of Norsk PEN warmly hopes that the contributions Heier has given to the public conversation, will be positive examples for others. Norsk PEN congratulates Tormod Heier on the Ossietzkris prize for 2017, and thanks him for having had the will, desire and opportunity to share his knowledge and opinions on this important - naturally closed - subject area.

The prize will be presented on Thursday, November 16th, 19:00 at Litteraturhuset in Oslo in a separate program which includes: leader of the EOS committee, Eldbjørg Løwer, talks to the winner and journalist and chairman of Norsk PEN's warning group Kai Sibbern talks with Heier.