Speech by Kåre Willoch (former prime minister and grandfather) - Closing ceremony at Valdres Folkehøgskole, May 2017.

We have received a thorough confirmation of what we already knew: the folk high school is still an outstanding, joyous and uplifting institution.

We know how diligently the folk high school imparts knowledge and a kind of broader social understanding by which the students, upon venturing out into the world, make their contributions towards humanity and society.

As Phillip’s grandmother and grandfather, we are delighted that our own grandson has had the opportunity to experience all this! To experience humanity and the special ability to impart knowledge, which is so clearly a hallmark of this institution.

We know that this is a place where people have developed and demonstrated the ability to unite and work together. We have seen how everyone is brought along and made to feel like a part of the community. And we have seen how this particular school is able to foster creativity and shared responsibility.

The development of students here comes at a crucial point in their life, and especially with regard to their future. What you are experiencing right now is bound to have more impact than later in life.

The result is a remarkable collaboration between the management, teachers, and the wonderful group of research fellows. They have brought forth diversity. Shown how diversity leads to strength, helping each student become stronger individually and together, nurturing unity and strength throughout the rest of their lives.

We want to thank you for what you have done for our grandson, Philip, and for his entire family. We are truly grateful for the effort this school has put into assisting a person with special needs and opportunities.

Lastly, I would like to add, to all you young people who are graduating today: I'm afraid the older generation is passing on a world that isn't quite as it should be. That you may be inheriting greater issues and challenges than our fortunate generations have faced. But I believe there is strength and determination in what you have learned here. And it’s important that you combine all this knowledge with a willingness to work together. A willingness to invest in the progress and satisfaction of others. And to demonstrate these common values while entering upon your separate paths in life.

So, to all you youngsters who are embarking on your life journeys: Remember what you've learned here! Or, to put it more succinctly, keep up the good work!

Kåre Willoch (H) served as the Prime Minister of Norway from 1981 to 1986. He was Secretary-General of the Conservative Party from 1963 to 1965, leader of the Conservative Party from 1970 to 1974, and the Minister of Trade in 1963 and from 1965 to 1970. After retiring from national politics, he served as the County Governor of Oslo and Akershus (1989–1998), and as the Chairman of the Board for NRK (1998–2000).

In 1983, Willoch was awarded an honorary doctorate by St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, USA. In 1996, he was appointed Commander with Star of the Order of St. Olav. That same year, he was named Influencer of the Year” by the Editor’s Association and received the Farmer’s Sense” award from the Norwegian Farmers Union. In 1997, he received the Free Word” Prize. In 2005, Willoch was honored with the Willy Brandt Prize. At the Conservative Party's national convention in 2012, he was named Man of the Year by the Conservative Women's Forum.