Fridtjof Nansen (October 2008)

Arctic explorer, Norwegian statesman and humanist.

October 17, 2008

Dr. Liliane Willens, a member of our Lodge for the past 12 years, gave a talk on Fridtjof Nansen.

About Fridtjof Nansen

While Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930) is best known as an Arctic explorer, he was also a Norwegian statesman and a humanist. He was actively involved in negotiations to gain Norway’s independence from Sweden and he became a diplomat for newly independent Norway.

Later, returning to his research in the field of oceanography, he was nevertheless able to devote his life to humanitarian causes—first in the aftermath of the slaughter during World War I, then in the League of Nations, where he played an important role in the resettlement of refugees and relief operations in famine-stricken countries in Europe.

In her talk, Liliane will place emphasis on the latter facets of Fridtjof Nansen's life.

About Liliane Willens

Liliane was born and raised in Shanghai, China, where she went to a French lycée and later studied at Boston University where she received a Ph.D. in French Language and Literature.

She taught these subjects at Boston College and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. When she moved to Washington, D.C., Liliane worked at the Agency for International Development and the Peace Corps.

Upon retirement, Liliane gave lectures on cruise ships traveling the high seas, including five lectures on Norway as her ship sailed along that country’s beautiful coast. She has just finished writing her memoir on growing up in China and is now looking for a literary agent.

Liliane gave several years ago at our Lodge on "The Sami People in Norway—Their History and Culture."