Bjørn Ihler is a technologist, activist, speaker, academic and artist working to promote peace and human rights. He is currently producer and head of editorial design at the norwegian start-up newssite Resett. In 2017 he founded Hakawati, Hakawati focuses on understanding how narratives, stories, facts and information shared within groups impacts on both thought and behaviour among the members of the community. This through the analysis of publically accessible data. A key element in Ihler's work is his understanding of the influence design, narratives and storytelling has on our societies and culture and how we by transforming narratives can transform our societies to be more peaceful, more inclusive and more open. Ihler's work is influenced by his experiences as a survivor of the attack on Utøya Island in Norway on 22/7/2011; however political activism and work to prevent violence and hatred and to build communities resilient to this has always been among his core interests.
In 2013 he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Performance Design and Technology from the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts where he focused on video design and technology for stage productions and production design. His background in design and technology has also granted him a lot of experience with the process development and design of emerging technologies applicable to other fields. His work has been part of performances on a range of stages, including The Barbican Theatre in London and the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo. He also has experience from a range of positions on various video and film projects, working with internationally renown filmmakers, producers and directors.
Currently based in Istanbul Ihler is pursuing a masters degree in Peace and Conflict Studies ath Hacettepe University where he is focusing on countering violent extremism. Through comprehensive research and work with former extremists and experts in deradicalisation Ihler hopes to be able to help other extremists leave violent movements behind by better understanding the paths taken by others - thus creating a safer world and communities more resilient to violence.
Ihler started his work as an activist with a series of op-eds following the 2011 attack in Norway, writing on topics related to the philosophical state of the nation, the public debate and how to remain true to principles of human rights and democracy in the wake of a terrorist attack. This has in turn lead to Ihler writing, speaking and teaching on a wide range of topics for international papers including The Guardian, Huffington Post, Rheinische Post, Open Democracy and Quartz.
By combining his experiences and knowledge as an artist, a technologist, designer, academic and activist Ihler aims to reach a broad audience, challenging violent worldviews and educating communities by touching peoples hearts. He has a comprehensive understanding of how stories are shaped and how the stories we believe in shape the fathes of individuals and communities. His broad knowledge, experience and education is a valuable asset in reaching broad audiences and has been proven valuable in numerous situations from political consulting and giving talks to documentary filmmaking and film editing to designing video extensions of sets for operas
The Oslo Freedom Forum is a transformative annual conference where the world’s most engaging human rights advocates, artists, tech entrepreneurs, and world leaders meet to share their stories and brainstorm ways to expand freedom and unleash human potential across the globe. Watch my talk from the 2016 Oslo Freedom Forum here.
The Kofi Annan Foundation mobilises political will to overcome threats to peace, development and human rights. Violent extremism has become a major threat to our societies in general and to young people in particular. Through a variety of engagements, our ten advocates will provide young people with tools and methods to channel and transform disparaging tendencies into positive action.