Helga Hernes

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Helga Hernes
Born (1938-01-16) 16 January 1938 (age 80)
Citizenship Norwegian
Alma mater Mount Holyoke College
Johns Hopkins University
Known for State Secretary
(1988-1989, 1990-1993)
Scientific career
Fields Political science
Women's studies
Institutions University of Bergen
Institute for Social Research

Helga Marie Hernes (born 16 January 1938) is a Norwegian political scientist, diplomat and politician for the Labour Party.

Early life and education[edit]

She was born as Helga Marie Jahncke in Germany (today's Poland), and migrated to Bavaria in 1945 as a refugee. She was an exchange high school student to the United States in 1956, and later took her higher education in that country.[1] A bachelor's degree from the Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts in 1961 was followed by a master's degree at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland in 1967.[2]

Academic, political and diplomatic career[edit]

In 1970 she took her PhD at the Johns Hopkins University, on the thesis The Concept of Community in Modern Theories of International Law. She was hired at the University of Bergen in the same year, and became senior lecturer in comparative politics in 1974.[3] She left Bergen in 1980 to work as research director in the Research Council of Norway,[2] and in 1983 she was hired as a research director at the Norwegian Institute for Social Research. Among her important publications from this time were Staten - kvinner ingen adgang? (1982) and Welfare State and Woman Power. Essays in state feminism (1987), both pertaining to women's studies.[3] These books were a part of the series Kvinners levekår og livsløp, of which Hernes was the editor, counting seventeen publications in total.[1]

Hernes remained at the Institute for Social Research until 1988, when she was appointed State Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a part of the second cabinet Brundtland. When the second cabinet Brundtland fell in 1989, Hernes returned to her position at the Institute for Social Research. However, in 1990 a third cabinet Brundtland assumed office, and Hernes again became State Secretary.[3]

Hernes left the cabinet in 1993. She was appointed director of CICERO, the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo, and was also an adjunct professor of political science at the University of Oslo. In 1996 she left CICERO to work as an advisor in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1998 Hernes left both positions to become Norway's ambassador to Austria and Slovakia. She was then Norway's ambassador to Switzerland and the Holy See from 2002 to 2004. In 2004 she returned to her research career to work for Norwegian Social Research. After one year she was hired as an advisor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO),[3] where she works today on issues related to gender and conflict. From 1 July 2006 she combined this job with the position as chair of the Norwegian Parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Committee), a board for supervision of the Norwegian Police Security Service, the Norwegian Defence Security Staff and the Norwegian Intelligence Service.[4] She left the Parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Committee in 2011.[5]

Recent publications include "De nye krigene i et kjønnsperspektiv" [The new wars in a gender perspective], part of the anthology Kjønn, krig, konflikt [Gender, war and conflict], edited by Hege Skjeie, Inger Skjelsbæk & Torunn L. Tryggestad (Oslo: Pax, 2008). She also edited the anthology Women and War: Power and Protection in the 21st Century along with Chantal de Jonge Oudraat and Kathleen Kuehnast (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2011).[1] She holds honorary degrees at the University of Tromsø (since 1993) and the University of Stockholm (since 2002).[2] In 1999 she was decorated as a Knight of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit,[6] and she was promoted to Commander of the order in 2002.

Personal life[edit]

Helga Hernes has been married to Gudmund Hernes, a sociologist and former politician. Their son Stein Hernes has been an advisor for Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Holst, Cathrine; Skjelsbæk, Inger (2008). "Statskvinne med barrierebrytergen. Om forskeren, feministen og politikeren Helga Hernes". Prosa (in Norwegian) (4). Retrieved 17 January 2009. [permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b c "Helga Hernes". International Peace Research Institute, Oslo. Retrieved 17 January 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Hernes, Helga Marie". Store norske leksikon. Kunnskapsforlaget. 2007. [permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Helga Hernes New Chair of Intelligence Oversight Committee". International Peace Research Institute, Oslo. 21 June 2006. Retrieved 17 January 2009. [permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Eldbjørg Løwer blir ny leder for EOS-utvalget" (in Norwegian). Norwegian News Agency. 26 May 2011. 
  6. ^ Andreassen, Thorleif (31 August 1999). "Nytt ordensdryss i UD". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). p. 14. 
  7. ^ Fuglehaug, Wenche (24 November 2006). "Kronprinsparets nye venner". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 2 December 2006. Retrieved 17 January 2009.