As an informal meeting place for international and Norwegian employees, Secrets of Kristiansand enables intercultural networking and an arena for newcomers to establish a broader network in the region.
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Written by: Ingrid Dihle
On Monday the 4thof February, the first Secrets of Kristiansand event was held at the Theatre in the city centre. The event was a collaboration between Business Region Kristiansand, the University of Agder and Kristiansand Chamber of Commerce.
The aim of the event was to create an intercultural meeting place between international and Norwegian talents in the region of Kristiansand.
Birthe Helland Olsen works for Business Region Kristiansand and was the host for the evening.
“I was happy to see that so many people appreciated the initiative. More people than we expected signed up and contributed to many new connections being made,” Helland Olsen said.
Around fifty people attended the event. The purpose was to better include international newcomers in Kristiansand and create an informal meeting place for people to make connections and establish a broader network in the region. The event was directed at international newcomers to Kristiansand, while also being open for Norwegians who want to make international connections.
The mayor of Kristiansand, Harald Furre, attended the event as one of the speakers. He talked about Kristiansand’s wish to be on the forefront in the means of international development, as Kristiansand is the county where Norway exports the most per capita.
“We are large enough to be interesting, and small enough to create good partnerships,” Furre said.
The event was part of the week-long event called En By for Alle (A City for All), which is meant to inspire activities to make Kristiansand a more open, inclusive and available city for all.
“There are 160 nationalities represented in Kristiansand, and this week we mark the intercultural society we are where everyone is welcome with whatever qualities they have,” Furre said.
Robertha Höglund, an ambassador for Business Region Kristiansand also spoke at the event. She is from Mexico and is currently working as head of IPS in Elkem.
“My favorite place in Kristiansand is Odderøya, and I also love Kilden's beauty and acoustics,” Höglund said.
Another speaker was Birgitte Kleivset, a local entrepreneur from Kristiansand. She spoke about local traditions, the dialect and that many people from the Southern Norway, unlike most Norwegians, eat cod for Christmas dinner.
The event is a pilot project that might be an established meeting place in the future. If people continue to take advantage of the offer, the events will start again in September.
“We hope participants will encourage both international and Norwegian friends to join the upcoming events, so more people can become aware of this great opportunity,” Helland Olsen said.
The next Secrets of Kristiansand events will be held on the 4thof March and the 8thof April.