Why Norway is Great

Today, Norway suffered a terrible attack. An explosion tore through central Oslo, killing seven and hospitalizing almost a hundred more, and a shooting rocked a Labor Party youth camp in Utoya where over 80 young activists lost their lives. I have always thought that Norway was a great country, and it pains me to see this happen anywhere – but especially Norway. Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said that Norway’s answer to the attack would be “more democracy, more openness” and said to terrorists, “you will not destroy us.” Championing democracy instead of war in the face of terror is one way to win my heart.

In addition, Mark Goldberg added to why we love Norway so much:

I have never been to Norway, but I still love the place — and I am not alone. Norway is among the most beloved nations in the international community and for good reason.

Norway has a population about the size of the state of Kentucky. It is the 47th largest economy in the world, putting it between Chile and Romania.Yet, for a country as small as Norway, it is arguably the most generous country in the world.  It allocates a full 1.1% of its Gross National Incometo international development activities. This puts Norway on top of all developed world countries in its relative contributions to global poverty reduction. (By comparison, the United States contributes about 0.2% of its GNI to official development assistance–roughly the same percentage as Greece.)

Beyond its official development assistance, Norway is among the most generous countries in the world when it comes to responding to natural and man-made disasters. When tragedy strikes somewhere in the world, the Norwegian government steps up. Last year, it gave $832,585,693 for crises like Haiti, Burma, and Sudan.  Earlier this month, when UN agencies began to warn of a hunger crisis in Somalia, Norway stepped up with a big relief package.

My thoughts are with Norway, like a lot of people tonight.


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