Research topic: History of international aid
International aid (development aid, development cooperation) is part of Norway's social development, cultural history and foreign policy and must be seen in a broad historical context.
It began as part of the new vision of international "development" within the UN system after 1945, but was also used as an instrument in the Cold War by both Western and Soviet powers. Norway was an early participant with the Campaign for India ("Indiahjelpen") in 1953. The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) was founded in 1962/66 as a separate directorate under the auspices of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (UD) and has been continually restructured.
On average, 50 % of Norway's international aid is provided directly from state to state (bilateral aid) and 50 % goes through international organisations (multilateral aid). Voluntary organisations have become increasingly important channels for aid, and Norwegian businesses operating in developing countries have received various types of subsidies.
Geographically, Norway's international aid has gone in particular to its "main cooperation countries" in Eastern and Southern Africa, South Asia and Central America, as well as more recently to the Middle East, countries in the former Yugoslavia and now Afghanistan. The aid provided takes the form of specialised personnel, specific construction projects and financial support.
The history of international aid address themes that illuminate the many dilemmas encountered in this field: the relationship between idealism and self-interest; aid's contribution to the internationalisation of Norwegian society; and how it is characterised as a series of meetings between cultures. Our research also addresses questions concerning the changing ideological basis of international aid and its effects in recipient countries.