The Norwegian Latin America Research Network was established in 2008 with the support of the Research Council of Norway. It forms a part of a strategy initiated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Research and Education to establish a permanent environment for the strengthening of knowledge about Latin America in Norway.The two other pillars of this strategy are the establishment of a program for Latin America research at the Research Council of Norway and the signing of cooperation agreements with Universities in Latin America.
A report commissioned by the MFA and MRE found that there is significant expertise on various themes and in various academic fields related to Latin America in Norway. Individual researchers all have important networks in Latin America and many have extended research experience in the region. However, researchers are relatively spread out on different institutions and there is a lack of communication between different researchers in Norway as well as between researchers and potential user groups.
The creation of a network between researchers in Norway with a full time network secretariat was proposed as means to advance towards a better integrated environment for Norwegian Latin America research.
The network secretariat was established at the Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM) at the University of Oslo after an open competition between academic institutions in Norway. Photos and speeches from the official opening are available here.
In December 2008, a reference group for the NorLARNet was established. The reference group advises the network secretariat on strategies, choice of activities and serves as a committee for awarding the NorLARNet scholarships and funds for organization of seminars. It is composed of researchers and representatives of user groups. Members of reference group: Jon Askeland, Jemima Garcia-Godos, Graciela Rusch, Hege Araldsen, Jon Hanssen, María Guzmán-Gallegos, Ellen Vollebæk and Iselin Strønen. The mandate of the reference group and additional information is available here.