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Fridtjof Nansen

Career as a Statesman and Humanitarian

Nansen's career as a statesman began in 1905, when he worked for the peaceful separation of Norway from Sweden; his efforts were rewarded by his appointment as Norway's first minister to Great Britain (1906–8). In 1901 he had become director of an international commission to study the sea, and he made (1910–14) several scientific journeys, mainly in the N Atlantic.

In the years after World War I he added to his role of great explorer that of great humanitarian, becoming internationally renowned for his service to famine-stricken Russia as well as for his work in the repatriation of war prisoners. Appointed (1921) as League of Nations high commissioner for refugees, Nansen received the 1922 Nobel Peace Prize, and the League honored him by creating (1931) the Nansen International Office for Refugees, which won the 1938 Nobel Peace Prize. As a memorial to his father, Odd Nansen founded (1937) the Nansen Help to supplement the work of the Nansen International Office.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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