Rising Leaders: Be a premissleverandør and get yourself some handlingsrom

Rising Leaders participants and AmCham members were joined by Curt Rice of Oslo Metropolitan University for a virtual afterwork session.

Originally from Rochester, MI, Dr. Rice only intended to go to Norway for one year but ended up staying for the last 30 years and becoming the first non-Norwegian to be at the helm of an institution for higher education in Norway.

Dr. Rice shared how his career development has been driven by his conviction that discovery of new knowledge, research and education are essential to improving society. Making universities better, therefore, has the potential to make societies better. Yet at the same time, he sees growth in science and research skepticism – and the increased responsibility of research advocates.

Leadership as a Tool to Reach Your Goals

Dr. Rice believes that those who want to lead should always ask themselves: What do you want to do and what will it take to make it happen? In his opinion, leadership is a tool for accomplishing something, not simply a goal in itself.

Don’t go into leadership because you think you will be a good leader. Go into leadership because you have something you want to get done. Leadership will give you handlingsrom.

He says the most important step when preparing for a leadership role is to become a premissleverandør* – define what you want to get done and get people to buy into that. This in turn gives you handlingsrom.* The reason to get into a leadership position is to create space to achieve goals

*Handlingsrom – space for action.

*Premissleverandør – contributor to policy formulation.


Curt Rice – Rector

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Diversity & Multicultural Leadership in Norway

Dr. Rice is preoccupied with gender balance & diversity in higher education and leads Norway’s Committee on Gender Balance and Diversity in Research. He is proud to say that over 50% of professors at OsloMet are women, but that home office has shown a dramatic decrease in research submitted by female researchers, which is why he believes these women should be invited back to the office first.

When questioned on multicultural diversity in Norwegian higher education, Dr. Rice says there is diversity in Norway, but in his opinion, almost all the diversity is imported. Very few leaders are children of immigrants, from his perspective he sees a lot of PhD students but not yet professors. He is optimistic that the next generation of leaders will be more diverse. He also sees that companies are becoming more interested in having diverse workforces.

As a foreigner himself, Curt quickly found that Norway is a very network-based society. He feels that some criticisms of him were perhaps harder because he was not Norwegian, though quoting Churchill when explaining that focusing on the pushback and criticism would not help him get to where he wanted to go.

He personally loves being a foreigner, because it gives him a little extra room to voice his opinions. The Rising Leader participants themselves represent 16 different countries with a majority growing up outside of Norway.

About the Rising Leaders Program

Rising Leaders, a joint AmCham-US Embassy initiative, brings together entrepreneurs, young professionals, and student leaders in an innovative program to promote diversity and connect promising talent. Through the program, participants engage international business leaders, learn about AmCham member companies, explore careers, and gain business and leadership skills.

The 2020-21 Rising Leaders class – comprised of 17 women and 10 men between the ages of 23 and 35 – bring with them experience from healthcare, classical music, urban planning, organizational psychology, immigration, engineering, communications, technology, teaching, economics, finance, and marketing. All 27 program participants have demonstrated leadership, entrepreneurial, and/or business excellence in their educational pursuits and careers thus far.

For more information about the program, or to learn how your organization can get involved, please contact Madeleine Brekke.

Past Rising Leader Events

Rising Leaders Afterwork with PortalOne

For the last afterwork of 2022 and the program finale, Rising Leaders participants and AmCham members had the opportunity to visit hybrid gaming company and Norwegian unicorn, PortalOne’s brand new offices at Aker Brygge.

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