Norwegian “people’s diplomats” are impressed by what they saw at Artek

Some civic activists from Norway taking an acquaintance trip around Crimea have visited Artek. The delegation members – scientists, public figures together with entrepreneurs – got to know all about everyday life at the International Children’s Center, which, according to their admission, is unique in the world.

The guests talked to children, watched the construction of Camp Solnechny, visited the viewing platform at Camp Lazurny, and walked around the Suuk-Su palace converted to a museum the display of which reviews the history of Artek and its current life. Specifically, they were told that Norwegian children also had an opportunity to come to Artek, with 11 of them visiting the center last year and six during Artek’s ten sessions of 2018. The Norwegian activists took a keen interest in international programs that enabled even more young Norwegians to come to Artek and promised to spread the word about this opportunity as soon as they were back home.

“There are practically no sources from which people in my country can draw truthful information about what really is taking place in Crimea. The aim of our visit is to inform them,” says delegation head and president of The People Diplomacy Norway Hendrik Weber. “Artek is quite impressive. Children from different countries acquire new skills here and, what is most important, they are learning how to be friends. We, adults, should look up to them.”

For some guests, this was not their first visit to Crimea. Dr. Mons Lee of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons: “Last year, we paid a similar visit to Crimea and attended Artek Forum that was being held just at that time. It was here at Artek that we learned about the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to our organization. A year later, right upon arrival to Crimea we saw some positive changes. The new terminal of the Simferopol airport is simply fantastic! We see changes at Artek. We know that the Crimea Bridge has been opened and that the new Taurida road is being built. All these changes cannot but please you.”

Chairman of the Committee for Interethnic Relations at the Crimea State Council Yuri Gempel, who helped to arrange the visit, thinks that the importance of these “people’s” visits can hardly be overestimated. “We are trying to organize these visits regularly and we can see their first results. Businesses from Germany and Scandinavia are implementing investment projects. Following one of such visits, a German national opened a diving school in Chernomorsky District in the summer,” he said.

Artek is really a uniting force, even years later. “My brother was on holiday at Artek in 1978 and is still nostalgic of his Artek days,” a delegation member, Tronn Eriksen, said. “When I told him that I was leaving for Artek, he asked me to take more photographs. Now I understand why. Artek is located in a very picturesque place, and your country can be by right proud of the conditions that have been created for children here.”

The Norwegian delegation will stay in Crimea and Sevastopol until October 6.