NRF Speakers 2017


Speakers & Panelists

Arne Elias Corneliussen

Founder and CEO

Arne Elias Corneliussen, aged 40, 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 from 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, 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 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 an officer 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, international business development and recruitment services. Mr. Corneliussen travelled to more than 110 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, security and business risks, infrastructure, local conditions and expands NRCI’s global network with local contacts. He travelled on 10 fact-finding expeditions through 42 countries in Africa and crossed 27 countries on the African continent by bus. His recent field trips include Central Asia, Central Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya, Russia, Turkey and Iran. Mr. Corneliussen’s unique experience combining extensive travel and detailed assessment of risk on the ground enables him to provide insightful, practical and hands-on advice to businesses and governments.

Rolf Willy Hansen

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Rolf Willy Hansen graduated from the University of Oslo as Master of Arts (Cand. Philol) in 1974 (Political Science, English and Modern History). Mr. Hansen joined the Norwegian Diplomatic Service in 1975. Posted to embassies in Dar es Salaam and Paris as Second and First Secretary. He then returned to HQ in 1983 to work on UN-related issues such as the fight against apartheid. Seconded to the Norwegian Parliament in 1987 to work on international issues.

He became the Head of the Norwegian Liaison Office in Windhoek, Namibia from 1989-91 to oversee transition to independence. He then returned to Oslo to edit the Government White Paper on North/South issues. Head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFAs UN Political Affairs office, later Head of UN Development Affairs office from 1992-94, followed by heading the Middle East Section from 1994 to 1997 (after the Oslo agreement).

He then became Consul General in Hong Kong in 1997. Deputy Head of Press, Culture and Information Department in MFA from 2001-04. In 2004 he attended Norwegian Military Staff College before he was appointed as the Senior Adviser on Small Arms and Light Weapons in the MFA from 2004. He was Consul General in Minneapolis from 2005-08 before being appointed as ambassador to Damascus from 2008-12. Due to the war in Syria Rolf Willy Hansen returned to Oslo to serve as Policy Director for AHLC (funding coordination mechanism for the Palestinian Authority). Mr. Hansen served as Ambassador in Riyadh from 2014-17. Currently he works as Senior Adviser for Afghanistan affairs in Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Oslo. Mr. Hansen is married and has two children.

Hugo-A. B. Munthe-Kaas


Mr. Munthe-Kaas works as a lawyer at the law firm Thommessen and has broad legal experience within matters concerning the offshore, shipping and insurance industries, including litigation and compliance within these areas. He lectures annually at the University of Oslo within subjects such as maritime law, marine insurance and tort law.

Mr. Munthe-Kaas previously worked as a research assistant at the Scandinavian Institute of Maritime Law and has experience as an in house lawyer for the companies Höegh Autoliners and Höegh LNG. He also has a background from the Norwegian Armed Forces School of Intelligence and Security Service (FSES), where he studied Russian while going through officer training.

Mr. Munthe-Kaas assists clients in connection with international trade, economic sanctions, anti-corruption, AML and export control. Among other, he assists clients with government relations, risk assessments, international contracting, compliance programs, integrity due diligence, training and internal investigations. Mr. Munthe-Kaas also maintains broad experience advising in situations where there is suspicion or accusations of compliance breaches and where companies are put under public investigation.

Nikolai Norman

Regional Development Manager
Kanoo Shipping a Kanoo Group Company

Nikolai Norman is regional development manager in Kanoo Shipping a Kanoo Group Company. He is a seasoned shipping executive and spent 17 years in the Middle East working for Wilhelmsen Ships Service (Wilh. Wilhelmsen Group Company) in regional roles and as a member of the global management team. With 30 years international working experience in the United Kingdom, postings in Russia, Ukraine and Asia. Mr. Norman spent a considerable time in the Middle East developing a deep understanding for what drives the Gulf States’ and Iran’s’ growth aspirations.

He completed “Business” and “Commercial Operations of Shipping” studies at London Metropolitan University followed by a period as a seafarer to gain further experience prior to his professional working career.

Notable achievements comprise of opening up new markets supported by organic growth and company acquisitions establishing Wilhelmsen Ships Service as a market leader within the maritime service sector in the Middle East. Working closely with national oil companies (NOC), mining and trading houses providing on and offshore services to meet customer needs and operational quality expectations.

Mr. Norman remains in the Middle East having exited Wilhelmsen Ships Service earlier this year taking up a new role at a highly respected Middle Eastern business conglomerate dating back to 1890. With responsibilities such as transforming a family company to meet future corporate challenges and commence the journey of digitalization within the maritime service industry.

Joakim Parslow

Associate Professor of Middle East Studies
University of Oslo

Joakim Parslow is Associate Professor of Middle East Studies in the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages at the University of Oslo. He received his PhD in Near and Middle East Studies from the University of Washington in 2015 with a dissertation on the politics of military courts, martial law, and similar instances of exceptional law in Turkey from 1930 to 1980.

Prior to that, he completed an MA in Turkish Studies as a fellow of the ARENA Centre for European Studies. Parslow has studied Turkish at Bosporus University in Istanbul and Arabic at Harvard University and the American University in Cairo.

He is a frequent contributor to Norwegian media on current events in Turkey. His scholarly work on the intellectual history of Turkish exceptional law has most recently appeared in New Perspectives on Turkey and is forthcoming in the International Journal of Middle East Studies.

Kjetil Selvik

Senior Research Fellow
Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI)

Kjetil Selvik is a Senior Research Fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) and Adjunct Associate Professor at the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo. He holds a PhD in political science from L’Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris. He has previously worked as researcher at the Fafo Institute of Applied International Studies, at the Chr. Michelsen Institute and as lecturer at the Department of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen.

Mr. Selvik specializes in the comparative politics of Iran and the Arab world. He is the co-author of Stability and Change in the Modern Middle East (2011) with Stig Stenslie and Oil States in the New Middle East: Uprisings and Stability (2016) with Bjørn Olav Utvik. He has moreover published articles in The International Journal of Middle East Studies, World Development, The Middle East Journal, Comparative Sociology and Middle Eastern Studies. His 2004 PhD dissertation (Théocratie et capitalisme: les entrepreneurs industriels de la République Islamique d’Iran) studied the re-composition of the private manufacturing industry sector following the 1979 revolution in Iran.

Drawing on two years of fieldwork and in-depth interviews with 55 founders and owners of private manufacturing companies, it analyzed the problems of manufacturing industry in an oil-rich and protectionist economic context and the business class’ changing relations with the Islamic government. Selvik has also conducted fieldwork in many Arab countries and follows regional developments closely. He is fluent in Arabic and Persian.

Teodor Sveen-Nilsen

Equity Analyst
SpareBank 1 Markets

Teodor Sveen-Nilsen (born 1982) works as an equity analyst at SpareBank1 Markets. He has broad experience from equity research, business valuation, financial advisory and energy market research. Mr. Sveen-Nilsen covers the oil market, E&P companies and the oil service sector, focusing on Scandinavian listed names. He is a board member of the Norwegian Society of Financial Analysts (NFF) and is represented in a number of NFF’s expert committees.

Based on client feedback, the magazine Kapital ranked him among the top three oil and gas equity analysts in Norway for several consecutive years. Prior to joining SpareBank1 Markets, he worked with Swedbank, First Securities and PwC.

Mr. Sveen-Nilsen holds a Master in Economics from BI Norwegian School of Business in Oslo, an MBA in Corporate Finance from Norwegian School of Economics in Bergen (NHH) and he achieved the title Chartered European Financial analyst (AFA).

Henrik Thune

Norwegian Center for Conflict Resolution (NOREF)

Henrik Thune (born 1969) is a Norwegian academic, writer and diplomat, who is the Director of the Norwegian Center for Conflict Resolution (NOREF). He was previously a Senior Research Fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) and head of its Middle East Programme.

Mr. Thune holds a PhD and two Masters degrees in international relations from the University of Oslo and the London School of Economics and Political Science. He has served five years as a diplomat in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From 2009 to 2012 he was a project manager at the Secretariat of the Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

Mr. Thune has published numerous books and articles on International Relations Theory, the Middle East, Norwegian foreign policy, and the role of the news media in international relations, and he is a commentator and columnist in Norwegian newspapers.

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