Vidar Helgesen will become the new Executive Director of the Nobel Foundation

Photo: Bjørn Stuedal / Nobel Foundation

Vidar Helgesen to succeed Lars Heikensten as Executive Director of the Nobel Foundation at the beginning of 2021

Vidar Helgesen – Norway’s former State Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minister of European Affairs and Minister of Climate and the Environment – will become the new Executive Director of the Nobel Foundation at the beginning of 2021. He will thus assume the task of strengthening the long-term finances and position of the Nobel Prize as well as further developing the public activities surrounding the Nobel Prize in Sweden, Norway and internationally.

“The mission of the Nobel Foundation and the legacy of Alfred Nobel are more important than ever. To me, the Nobel Prize stands for science, free expression and peaceful dialogue. It also rewards concrete achievements that strengthen these values. The Nobel Prize is a brand and a platform that promote values showing how we can meet the major challenges of our era,” Mr Helgesen says.

“Vidar Helgesen has extensive experience of international cooperation on issues related to climate, democracy and human rights. These are central themes for the Nobel Prize, but above all it is Helgesen’s long experience of leading and developing idea-based activities that make him right for the role of Executive Director at the Nobel Foundation,” says Carl-Henrik Heldin, Chairman of the Nobel Foundation’s Board.

Today Vidar Helgesen (born 1968) is Norway’s Special Envoy to the international High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. Helgesen has worked as a lawyer, diplomat and politician; this has included serving as Norway’s State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Minister of European Affairs and Minister of Climate and the Environment. He has also been the Secretary-General of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) and has previously worked for the International Red Cross. During his period as State Secretary, Helgesen brokered peace negotiations in Sri Lanka and the Philippines. He has also served on the boards of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue in Geneva and the Norwegian Refugee Council, among other organisations.

The Trustees and the Board of the Nobel Foundation have decided that Vidar Helgesen will succeed Lars Heikensten on the Board and as Executive Director starting on 1 January 2021. Dr Heikensten, who assumed the post of Executive Director of the Nobel Foundation in 2011, is retiring at the end of 2020.

Questions about interviews and press photos should be directed to:

Rebecka Oxelström
Head of Press, Nobel Foundation
+46 734 12 66 75

You can find the press release here.

About the Nobel Foundation

The Nobel Foundation is a private foundation established in 1900 on the basis of the will of Alfred Nobel and the founding statutes promulgated in connection with the will. Its primary purpose is to ensure that the intentions of the will of Alfred Nobel are fulfilled. The Foundation is responsible for ensuring that the assets made available for awarding the Nobel Prize are managed in such a way as to safeguard the economic base of the Prize in a long-term perspective and guarantee the independence of the prize-awarding institutions in their work of selecting Laureates. The Nobel Foundation is also entrusted with managing and carefully developing the trademarks and intangible assets that have been built up during the more than century-long history of the Nobel Prize.

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