Norwegian Institute of International Affairs

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Group.png Norwegian Institute of International Affairs  
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SubpageNorwegian Institute of International Affairs/Director
A semi-official foreign policy think tank close to the [Norwegian Defence Research Establishment and the military intelligence service.

The Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (Norsk utenrikspolitisk institutt; NUPI) is a Norwegian research institution based in Oslo. It was established by the Norwegian Parliament in 1959.

A very special and close alliance was formed between NUPI, the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment and the military intelligence service. In this nexus, the foundation for the country's official security policy was created; the platform for conventional wisdom and for development of foreign policy and defence policy tools. Former Conservative politician and deep state actor Oddmund H. Hammerstad described it as: "Today NUPI is situated next door to the military intelligence service's headquarter - a hard-hitting alliance with a hint of inbreeding". [1]

Its first director was John Sanness. He was active in the Labour Party's surveillance work from 1945, and sat in the party's foreign policy committee from 1945 to 1973.[1]


The Norwegian Institute of International Affairs[2] (NUPI) was established by the Norwegian Parliament in 1959 in order to promote a better understanding of international issues in Norway. NUPI has sought to achieve this by undertaking a wide range of research activities and by disseminating information on international issues. Among the Norwegian institutes that do international affairs research, NUPI has a leading position on matters of direct relevance to Norwegian foreign policy and economic relations.

Although it was previously entirely funded over the state budget (later supplemented by a sizable share of outside project funding), NUPI's has a formal independence from Norwegian foreign policy. The institute as such has never taken a policy stance on current issues, but has left this to the professional judgment of its individual researchers. Nevertheless, in the Norwegian political debate and in the wider Norwegian research community of international affairs, NUPI has tended to be perceived as close to the government's views, whether the government has been Labour or Conservative, center-left or center-right. Several of its directors have been prominent Labour politicians, notably John Sanness, Johan Jørgen Holst and Jan Egeland. Three of its other researchers, Anders C. Sjaastad, John Kristen Skogan and Janne Haaland Matlary, have been members of Conservative/center-right or centrist governments.[3]


Ulf Sverdrup has been director since 2012. The institute employs research professors (corresponding to full professors), senior researchers (corresponding to associate professors), researchers (corresponding to assistant professors), and non-academic staff.

The institute is organised into four research groups:

  • Research group for Security and defence (Head: Karsten Friis, PhD)
  • Research group for Russia, Asia and International Trade (Head: Helge Blakkisrud, PhD)
  • Research group for Peace, Conflict and Development (Head: Kari Osland, PhD)
  • Research group for Global Order and Diplomacy (Head: Kristin M. Haugevik, PhD)


The position was originally a permanent appointment. In 1996 it was changed to a once-renewable 6-year appointment.


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  1. a b Oddmund H. Hammerstad Oppgjør pages 59-60
  2. See website for updated information
  3. According to former director Olav Fagelund Knudsen
  4. Daniel Heradstveit served as Acting Director during part of this period
  5. On leave March 1986 to November 1989 (as Minister of Defence) and from November 1990 to January 1994 (as Minister of Defence and Minister of Foreign Affairs)