Arendalsuka logo.
Arendalsuka logo.

Arendalsuka is an annual Norwegian political festival that brings together politicians, journalists, policy makers, aid organisations, civil society and the private sector.

Actors come together for debate and policy shaping. Around 1,000 events and 200 stands fill the city of Arendal for five days in August each year. This year's festival takes place from 14-18 August.

PRIO has organized a series of public events at Arendalsuka this year, all located at 'den globale scene' venue, which is hosted by NORAD, and which brings together similar international affairs focused organizations.

Read more about our events below, and the events our researchers are participating in.

AI: How will it change the face of war

In the warfare of tomorrow, the most important soldier may be a machine rather than a human being. Not only the foot soldiers, but strategic military decisionmakers may also be machines. Artificial intelligences will be given increasingly executive powers. What kind of warfare will this turn out to be, and how can we find ways of controlling these means of war?


  • Henrik Syse, Research Professor PRIO
  • Samar Abbas Nawaz, Doctoral Researcher PRIO
  • Cecilie Hellestveit, Lawyer and Social Scientist
  • Arnaud Siad, Communication Advisor PRIO, former CNN producer, Emmy award-winning journalist, moderator

Time and place: 14:00-15:00, Monday, 14 August, at Den Lille Andunge.

A breakthrough for both the planet and humanity?

Radical changes are needed to ensure better international governance and world order. If not, we face a collective collapse in the multilateral system. More and more countries are moving in a nationalist direction, authoritarian leaders are tightening their grip and the development of democracy has been reversed. The UN and multilateralism are in crisis. At the same time, we are halfway through the work to achieve the sustainability goals. In this panel debate, the future of the multilateral system will be discussed, and new and exciting ideas that are being launched. We will also look at Scandinavia's possible role in the restoration of a more effective and legitimate multilateralism, which responds to the challenges of our time.


  • Stefan Löfven, former Prime Minister of Sweden, Co-Chair of the UN High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism and Chair of the Governing Board at Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Bård Vegar Solhjell, Norad Director
  • Simon Reid-Henry, Research Professor PRIO
  • Anne Marie Helland, Director for International Development at PricewaterhouseCoopers

Time and place: 10:00-10:45 on Tuesday, 15 August, at Den Lille Andunge (this event is co-organized with NORAD).

Nordic security: Norway and Sweden – differences and similarities

Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine has triggered Sweden's application for NATO membership, and fueled a new Nordic debate about the need for a closer foreign and security policy. In both Norway and Sweden, the security threats are being upgraded, and a number of measures are being taken to better meet a changed threat picture. This event will look at similarities and differences between the two neighboring countries in the understanding of Nordic security. What can be read from the reorientation so far?


  • Henrik Urdal, PRIO Director, moderator
  • Knut Storberget, former Minister of justice, lawyer
  • Stefan Löfven, former Prime Minister of Sweden, Co-Chair of the UN High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism and Chair of the Governing Board at Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Kristian Berg Harpviken, Research Professor PRIO
  • Louise Olsson, Senior Researcher PRIO
  • Pavel Baev, Research Professor PRIO

Time and place:  17:00-18:30 on Tuesday, 15 August, at Den Lille Andunge.

Norwegian peace diplomacy: Does it have a future?

For Norway, peace diplomacy has been central to foreign policy, and it was also listed as one of five priorities for Norway's membership of the UN Security Council (2021-22). The last major victory is the peace agreement in Colombia from 2016. Other major ventures, in Afghanistan, Libya, Sri Lanka and elsewhere, have not yielded similar victories. The room for playing a key role is now severely restricted for Norway, both because the UN and regional institutions have built up in the area, and because of the return of great power conflicts. At home, we have seen that peace diplomacy can have political costs, as in the criticism of the Støre government when they brought a Taliban delegation to the country in January 2022. None of this means that peace diplomacy will be less important in the future. Not least, there will be a great need for preventive diplomacy, whether it is about preventing conflicts from breaking out, or preventing escalation. But it is a form of diplomacy that yields few clear victories. What kind of peace diplomatic role can Norway play in a conflict pattern that is changing strongly? Will peace diplomacy be a significant diplomatic capital for Norway in the future? Can there be growing opposition to peace diplomacy at home?


  • Kristian Berg Harpviken, Research Professor PRIO, moderator
  • Torunn L. Tryggestad, Deputy Director and Senior Researcher PRIO
  • Dag Nylander, Noref Director, former diplomat
  • Hilde Frafjord Johnson, Senior Researcher European Institute for Peace, former diplomat and Minister of Development

Time and place: 11:00-12:30, Wednesday, 16 August, at Den Lille Andunge.

Other seminars with PRIO participation