South Saami Day 2021

The Mid-Norway European Office and partners cordially invite you to:

South Saami Day 2021
Youth and Faith in the Future

Thursday November 18 at 10am
Norway House, Rue Archimède 17, Brussels
Digital stream

Event attendance is free
Please register here

The South Saami people have a rich history and heritage. At the same time, the South Saami population in Norway and Sweden is facing numerous challenges posed by the modern world, including safeguarding linguistic and cultural heritage. In addition to a stronger regional and national focus on South Saami interests, it is crucial to improve European stakeholders’ knowledge on South Saami challenges and raise awareness on how European cooperation and development may help strengthen the position and interests of the South Saami people. During our seminar, we aim to explore, amongst others, the following questions:

  • What is the South Saami youth doing to revitalise their own language and how do they view the future of South Saami cultural heritage?
  • What are the barriers that need to be overcome in order to ensure high quality primary, secondary and higher education in and on endangered minority languages?
  • How do language, culture, lifestyle and traditional professions, such as reindeer herding, fit into a modern perspective?
  • How can European cooperation ensure stronger safeguarding initiatives for indigenous people and minorities?

The topic Youth and Faith in the Future is especially interesting in the wake of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s 2021 State of the European Union (SOTEU) speech, where she announced that 2022 will be the year of European Youth. Through the event, we hope to remind European decision-makers that both 2022 and all subsequent years should be dedicated to empowering and facilitating the lives of all European youth, particularly those of vulnerable indigenous and minority groups.

We invite you to read the full seminar programme below.

The event will be followed by a digital project workshop on Erasmus+ organised by the Norwegian Directorate for Higher Education and Skills (HKDIR). The workshop will be focusing particularly on South Saami opportunities in Erasmus+ and on social inclusion, and will be available to any stakeholder, organisation or people interested in exploring these topics. Please be aware that this workshop will be held in Norwegian only.


10.00: Opening speech – National support to the South Saami youth

     H.E. Mr. Per Strand Sjaastad, Deputy Head of the Mission of Norway to the EU and Norway’s ambassador to Belgium

10.10: Exploring innovative ways to safeguard European cultural minorities

     Håvard Tangvik, Director of the Mid-Norway European Office

10.20: Setting the scene – South Saami youth facing opportunities in a modern world

     Elli Jonna Joma and Maria Gunilla Påve Wilks

10.35: Understanding the indigenous identity – How to see the South Saami lifestyle, language and culture as a whole

     Speaker yet to be confirmed

11.00: Education as a key driver for empowering minority language users in their everyday life

     Randi Kårstad, Senior adviser at Trøndelag County Authority

11.15: Awareness creation – Building a strong EU-Sápmi knowledge base

     Åsa Larsson-Blind, Vice President of the Saami Council and project leader for the Interreg project “Filling the EU-Sápmi knowledge gaps”

11.30: Better together – A collective effort to revitalise European minority languages

     Davyth Hicks, Secretary-General of the European Language Equality Network (ELEN)

11.40: Open discussion (Q&A)

12.00: Finger foods – An introduction to Saami culture and heritage through food


Digital project workshop

13.00: Erasmus+ – Exploring project opportunities linked to education, training, youth and sports (in Norwegian).

     The Norwegian Directorate for Higher Education and Skills (HKDIR)

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