NRF Speakers 2016


Speakers & Panelists

Arne Elias Corneliussen

Founder and CEO

Arne Elias Corneliussen, aged 39, is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of NRCI. He formed NRCI in 2010. Mr. Corneliussen developed a genuine passion for international relations and history at a very early age and in his teenager years frequented the Parliament and University of Oslo to attend lectures. Regular travels around the world from an early age formed his international personality and zest for exploration.

Originally from Oslo, Mr. Corneliussen received his bachelor of arts in political science at Wittenberg University in Ohio in 1998. He studied at the American University in Cairo (AUC) in Egypt in 1996. He then returned to the US where he mapped Islamic terrorist movements from Morocco to the Philippines at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C in 1998. He lived in Santiago, Chile in 1999 where he examined South America´s political situation and economic development, drug cartels in Colombia and strategic relations between South America, North America and Europe. During the late 1990s he attended a range of conferences in Washington, D.C., New York City, London and Cairo. He later continued and completed a Master of Arts in International Relations and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University in New York in 2000.

He worked as a Captain for the Norwegian Armed Forces during NATO’s operation in Kosovo from 2001 until 2002. Since 2002 he held different roles in the corporate sector in Norway including sales, coaching, international business development and recruitment services. Mr. Corneliussen travelled to more than 100 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Latin and North America and Europe. He brings a unique combination of an intrepid practitioner, insightful academic and dynamic business acumen. Mr. Corneliussen manages NRCI with a life-long perspective to become a global geopolitical risk consultancy trusted and respected by clients, partners and local contacts worldwide.

Mr. Corneliussen regularly conducts long fact-finding expeditions where he maps political and security risks, infrastructure, local conditions and expands NRCI’s global network. He travelled on eight long fact-finding expeditions through 35 countries in Africa and crossed 22 countries on the African continent by bus. His recent field trips include a fact-finding expedition where he travelled 5000 km by km across 8 countries in West Africa in addition to travels through Iran, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia and Kenya.

Sigurd Falkenberg Mikkelsen

Foreign News Reporter
Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation

Sigurd Falkenberg Mikkelsen, born 1975 in Oslo, works as Foreign News reporter at the Norwegian Broadcasting Corp. NRK. He served as NRK’s Middle East Correspondent in Cairo from 2011 until this autumn. He worked as a foreign news reporter since 1999 and he covered the Middle East since the war in Iraq in 2003.

He graduated from Institut d`Etudes Politiques de Paris (Scieneces Po) in 2000. He also studied Arabic in Damascus (2006). In 2006 he received NRK`s Golden rose award for his work during the war between Hizbollah and Israel and in 2016 NRK named him Journalist of the year.

He wrote three books in Norwegian, the latest published this year; Arabisk Høst (Arabic autumn). He also produced two documentaries, Iraq: The Making of an Army (2005) and Victims of War (2006).

Erik Furu

Senior Advisor
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Erik Furu is a senior adviser with the Section for Humanitarian and Criminal Law within the Department for Legal Affairs of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Among his main areas of responsibility are sanctions, restrictive measures and export control law.

Mr. Furu has been with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2007. He was previously posted to Norway’s Embassy and Delegation in Vienna, where he worked with matters related to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as well as with bilateral affairs. He has also served as Deputy Head of Mission at the Norwegian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, with responsibility for official matters in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain.

Before joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Furu was an attorney with the Oslo law firm Wiersholm, particularly focusing on intellectual property litigation.

Mr. Furu holds law degrees from the University of Oslo, Heidelberg University (Germany), and Columbia Law School (New York). He is a member of the bar in Norway and New York, USA. He completed his military service with the Royal Norwegian Air Force at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

Saeid Golkar

Northwestern University

Saeid Golkar is a lecturer at Middle East and North Africa studies at Northwestern University, a Senior Fellow on Iran Policy at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs (CCGA), and a Consultant Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

Before that, he served as a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at Stanford University. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Tehran University in 2008 and was a lecturer at Azad University before coming to the US. His research interests encompass politics of authoritarian regimes, state and society relationships, civil-military gaps, social movements and new information technologies and politics all with a focus on the Middle East.

He is the author of Captive Society: the Basij Militia and Social Control in Post-revolutionary Iran (Columbia University Press, 2015). The book is the first full-length study of this critical organization in the Iranian power structure. The book provides a comprehensive account of the Basij’s organizational structure, insight into the social background of its membership, the training and indoctrination of the members, and the Basij’s extensive security, watchdog, and propaganda role in Iranian society. His second book, titled Domination and Resistance: Islamization of Universities and Students Resistance in Iran, is currently under review at Columbia University Press. The book explores why and how the Islamic Republic attempts to Islamize Iranian universities and explains the state’s failure to transform the universities into ideological tools for the training of a new generation of devoted, religious students.

Recent publications can also be found in journals such as Middle East Journal; Armed Forces & Society; International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society; Politics, Religion & Ideology; Middle East Policy, Journal of Women of the Middle East and the Islamic World, the journal of Middle East and Africa, Digest of Middle East Studies, Middle East Quarterly, and Journal of Emerging Technologies & Society.

Sverre Lodgaard

Senior Research Fellow
Norwegian Institute of International Affairs

Princeton University

Sverre Lodgaard is Senior Research Fellow and former Director (1997-2007) of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) in Oslo. Before joining NUPI he directed the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR, 1992-1996).

His public service includes serving as a Member of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters (1992-1999); Member of the Norwegian Government’s Advisory Council for Arms Control and Disarmament (1972–1985; 1989–1992; 1998–2009; Advisor/member of Norwegian delegations to international conferences on arms control and disarmament matters; Chairman of the Board of the Oslo Center for Peace, Democracy and Human Rights.

His most recent books include Nuclear disarmament and Non-Proliferation. Routledge (2011). In the Wake of the Arab Spring, Scandinavian Academic Press (2013). Mr. Lodgaard is widely used as a commentator in media and he regularly conducts presentations at conferences. He also participated as a speaker and panelist at NRCI’s annual international Norwegian Risk Forum in 2016 and will participate again in 2018. Mr. Loodgaard is also a Member of NRCI’s Global Advisory Board.

Ole Johan Sandvær

Regional Director, Middle East and Africa
Innovation Norway

Ole Johan holds an MSc degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Norwegian University of Science & Technology (1979). He has an extensive industrial and business leadership experience from Norway and internationally.

He held operational responsibility for companies like Algea and Norske Skog Follum, before he moved abroad in 1991. 5 years as plant manager for cement plants in Ghana and Bangladesh, 4 years as regional director for Kenmore International in Asia (with operations in Singapore, China, India).

He joined Innovation Norway in 2000 as director for their office in Japan. In 2004 he moved back to Norway to head the regional office for Buskerud and Vestfold counties, before he moved to Singapore in January 2008 to take up the regional responsibility for Innovation Norway’s total activities in South and Southeast Asia, a position he held till May 2014. Since 2009 till date he maintained regional responsibility for the Middle East and Africa within Innovation Norway.

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