What is the idea behind The Thor Heyerdahl Institute?

The Institute endeavours to continue and develop Thor Heyerdahl’s ideas and principles. What were the principles of Thor Heyerdahl?
  • To generate new knowledge and stimulate both multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary research as well as a holistic approach to academic thinking.
  • To initiate debates, challenge established dogmas, think holistically.
  • To provide inspiration for dialogue, multi-cultural co-operation, human understanding and the peaceful solution of conflicts – to work actively to build a bridge between nations and peoples of different race, religion and political persuasion.
  • To be a communicator of culture and research, to contribute to the effort and involvement needed to face global challenges (war/peace, greenhouse effect, cultural understanding, general international issues, fighting poverty, democracy, business development, etc.).
  • To be a an advocate for nature and the environment, the threat to the global environment, with a particular focus on pollution of the world’s oceans.

Thor Heyerdahl (1914-2002) was presented with the plans for a Heyerdahl-Institute in 1999 and wrote this message for the institutes first international conference in 2001:

“I have neither the desire nor the right to set working rules and plans for The Heyerdahl Institute, merely because it bears my name. But there must be a reason why the founders decided to acknowledge my life`s work in this way. I hope and believe that the basic reason is common belief in the unity of mankind.

Background behind The Thor Heyerdahl institute

To achieve such unity, there is an urgent need for building bridges across ethnic diversity, national borders and political and religious factions”.

“Any scientist, thinker and wise person with a global vision, who seeks to contribute towards disentangling this explosive situation, should be encouraged to speak out. Indeed, the new institute represents another forum for expressing such views”.

“As a new forum for international exchange and debate about such critical issues, I wish the Heyerdahl Institute every success and many years of creative work for the benefit of mankind globally. I applaud your interdisciplinary working philosophy, and endorse your emphasis on cross-cultural understanding, reciprocity and mutual respect”.

(Source: Thor Heyerdahl, Tenerife, 10.9. 2001).