Health and Wellbeing of Young Refugees in Norway: Implications of the Lack of Congruence Between Policy and Practice

Wednesday, 9 October 2019 - 11:30am to 12:50pm


My lecture presents a case of the refugee situation in Europe, focusing on the transitions of young refugees into Norwegian society. I use a health promotion perspective with a focus on the social determinants of health. I discuss the notion of equality that underpins Norway’s social, welfare and political structures. I argue that growing diversity within the country, especially from the Global South, challenges this ideal. Drawing on current research projects, I utilize acculturation and salutogenesis theories to examine the complexity of the interplay between refugees’ experiences and aspirations, Norwegian society’s perceptions of diversity, the policy arena and political rhetoric.

picture Fungisai Gwanzura Ottemoller


Dr. Ottemoller is Associate Professor and leader of the master program in Health Promotion and Health Psychology, University of Bergen. Her background is in psychology, health promotion and geography. She has previously worked in projects on mental health (Zimbabwe) and children’s participation (Zimbabwe and Scotland). She is a member of the transdisciplinary Refugee Resilience project that investigates young immigrants’ transitions into Norwegian society using a strengths-based approach. She leads PIISTON, a transdisciplinary network involving academics and practitioners from the public, private and civil society sectors. PIISTON aims to promote refugees’ inclusion, access to information, and successful transition into Norwegian society.