Some of you will remember the story of Maria Amelie, from when she made a media splash in 2011. To some she is a new name. Most do not know that since 2011, Maria has made a space for herself as a blogger, a bookwriter, a journalist and a speaker. And we are very, very fortunate to have her join us at the upcoming summit in Kristiansand, June 14th.
Less well known by her real name, Madina Salamova, Maria came to Norway via Finland with her family, in 2002. The family´s application for visa and residence was rejected, as was their appeal. After that last verdict, the family went into hiding. In 2010 Maria published a book about her family´s existence as illegal residents. The book, Illegally Norwegian, became a controversial media issue. Maria was named “Norwegian of the year” in 2010. Her blogposts started to get attention. In 2011 she was arrested after a speaking engagement, and subsequently deported to Russia. A period of intense media mobilisation, protests and support events started.
A long story, and also a media spectacle, ended when she was given residency rights in 2011, after which she took up working with the magazine Teknisk Ukeblad, in Oslo. Maria is now working freelance, among other things on a book centering on technology and entrepreneurship in Norway.
But why here — at the World Learning Summit? The answer is simple: Maria Amelie has a unique insight into the realities of being mobile, young and on the margins of society — her visions and ideas about the future of learning are truly original, for exactly that reason. We hope many more will come to listen to her.
Maria is the bestselling author of three books on immigration and freedom of speech. For the last five years she has been writing about technology and entrepreneurship, following the tech scene in Oslo where she lives, closely. As she says: Her main goal is “to put Norway on the start-up map”. And more: “The challenge of being a refugee and how you tackle it can be a great advantage for life as an entrepreneur, later”.
And you know — the great sociologist Robert Ezra Park said the same about Norwegian immigrants to the United States in the 1930´s.
It´s about time we also take refugees and immigrants seriously as a resource and not only a problem in Norway, so welcome to you — Maria.