Loftur Bjarnason Lecture Series and BYU Kennedy Center lectures sponsored by the Scandinavian Studies Program


Katrine Frøkjær Baunvig is an associate professor at Aarhus University in Denmark where she leads a national research center focused on the social thought of Danish bishop and poet N. F. S. Grundtvig. w they expect political parties to emerge following a democratic transition.

Communal singing is a signature cultural activity in Denmark. It occurs either spontaneously or as semi-ritualized features in private and public events. Communal singing facilitates social bonding, upholds social cohesion, and is an integral part of the high trust culture in Denmark. This has been the case ever since Danish cultural entrepreneurs like N.F.S. Grundtvig made strategic use of communal singing as a social mobilization technique. Professor Baunvig will present the results of a recent survey on contemporary attitudes towards communal singing in Denmark and the ways it impacts the Danish understanding of nation and community.

Dr. Julie Allen presents Sisters in Zion: Scandinavian Convert-Immigrant Women in Pleasant Grove. She is Professor of Scandinavian Studies and Comparative Literature at BYU. Her book Danish but Not Lutheran (2017) examines how Danish society reacted to conversions to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the 19th century.

Becca Driggs presents From Fjords to Fields: the Journeys of Early Swedish Mormon Settlers. She is a Kennedy Center Student Research Fellow, pursuing a BA in history and a minor in Global Women’s Studies. Her research focuses on suffrage, polygamy, and the religious lives of Utah women.

Dr. Sarah Reed presents “As many rare flowers as you can bring”: Anna Widtsoe’s Mormon Norwegian Immigration Letters. She is Assistant Professor of History at BYU where she teaches immigration and family history. Her research areas include German-American studies, Scandinavian-American studies, Mormon literature, and women writers.

Part of the BYU Kennedy International Center’s fall 2022 lecture series, “The Global Religious Experience.”

The Kvens of Northern Norway: A field report – Dr Daniel Haataja, 29 March, 2022

Dr. Daniel K. Haataja is a Senior Lecturer in Finnish and Linguistics at the University of Minnesota.

Danish Healthcare – Jonas Dahl, 10 Apr, 2019

Jonas Dahl is a former Member of Parliament in the Danish Folketing. During eleven years as an elected politician, Dahl, among other things, was chief whip for his party in the Parliament and one of the youngest ministers while he was a minister of taxation. Now retired from politics, he is CEO of Randers Regional Hospital.

Memory and Conflict – Henrik Syse, 21 FEB, 2018

Henrik Syse is a research professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and a professor of peace and conflict studies at Bjørknes University College in Oslo. Through reflections and examples, this lecture describes memory as a source of community and reconciliation rather than conflict.

Scandinavian Perspectives on Environmental Policy – Ville Niinistö, 21 Sept, 2017

Ville Niinistö is a member of the Finnish parliament, a member of the city council of Turku, a former chairperson of the Green League (Vihreä liitto), and former minister of the environment in Finland (2011–14). Finland and the rest of Scandinavia have been at the forefront of innovative environmental policies for decades. What motivates this engagement? How does Finland, in particular, balance the demands of economic well-being and environmental resilience?

Reforming the Norwegian Welfare State – Dagfinn Høybråtten, 23 Jun, 2015

Dagfinn Høybråtten, Norwegian Minister of Labor and Social Affairs

Finnish Lessons: What can the U.S. Learn from educational change in Finland? – Pasi Sahlberg, 19 Mar, 2015

Sahlberg discusses school improvement, international education issues, classroom teaching and learning, and school leadership from his award-winning book.

The Meaning of the Welfare State – Lasse Horne Kjældgaard, 17 SEPt, 2014

Kjældgaard, the Director of The Society for Danish Language and Literature in Copenhagen, discusses the dialogue between literary and political discourses during the early years of the welfare state in Denmark.

Denmark’s Green Agenda – His Excellency Peter Taksoe-Jensen, 8 APR, 2013

His Excellency Peter Taksoe-Jensen Danish ambassador to the U.S.: The changes we have witnessed are man-made and can be changed by man.

The Internationalization of Education and Research – Tora Aasland, 14 Sept, 2010

Minister of research and higher education, Norway Aasland relates how a university experience abroad can foster more than just academic learning.