May 2, 2012
Hans Brattskar, Norway's director general and special envoy for climate change, will give Luther College's 2012 Commencement address to the 565 Luther seniors receiving the bachelor of arts degree.
Brattskar, a 1979 graduate of Luther, will be awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree during the ceremonies Sunday, May 20 at Carlson Stadium on the Luther campus.
Brattskar served as the director of the government of Norway's Climate and Forest Initiative from 2008-11. During those four years the Norwegian government became a leader in the fight against the deforestation of the world's remaining rainforests.
Deforestation accounts for between 15 and 20 percent of all anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. Most deforestation takes place in tropical forests, which contain more than half the world's biodiversity and is home to millions of indigenous peoples and other forest-dependent people.
Brattskar's efforts helped build a program that has an annual budget of $450 million and actively fights deforestation in the critical rainforest regions of the Amazon, the Congo Basin and Southeast Asia.
He holds the bachelor of arts degree in history and business management from Luther, the master's degree in international management from Baylor University and the doctoral degree in political science from Claremont Graduate University.
Brattskar has extensive experience in international relations and in cooperative international development initiatives. He served as Norwegian ambassador to Sri Lanka and for more than four years was involved in the peace process between the government of Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers, a secessionist group.
He has worked as special advisor for peace building operations and conflict prevention at Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as Norway's special envoy to the peace process between the government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front.
He served as minister counselor and security council coordinator at the Norwegian Mission to the United Nations in New York. He held the position of director of the secretariat of the Minister of International Development and served at Norway's embassies in Washington, D.C. and Kuala Lumpur. Before entering the Foreign Service he worked as an associate professor of economics at Ostfold College in Norway.
Brattskar has traveled to more than 70 countries. He is married to Marilyn, a graduate of Luther, and has three daughters and three grandchildren.