One of the amazing things about Google doodle is that it unexpectedly opens the door to an inspiring story which we might have forgotten. Google doodle is celebrating the 156th birthday of the Noble Peace prize winner Fridtjof Nansen. Fridtjof Nansen who is absolutely inspiration in today’s world. A scientist, polar hero, political activist, diplomat, explorer, and humanitarian – Fridtjof Nansen donned many hats but he would always be remembered for his great humanitarian work for refugees and war of prisoners after WWI. Born on October 10, 1861, He was raised by a strong-minded mother who was herself athletic and introduced him to various sports and active outdoor life.
He used to enjoy skating, tumbling and swimming, but he was an expert in skiing and took some great journeys skiing across the country that is why Google doodle has shown him skiing. Nansen was always interested in the sciences and in drawing and he majored in Zoology from the University of Oslo. He combined his love for exploring, ocean, skiing and adventure with his scientific research work for his doctorate at the University of Oslo. He was a great explorer and has become the first person to explore Greenland, an island no one has explored before. A man of many talents, Nansen also published two books, The First Crossing of Greenland (1890) and Eskimo Life (1891).
In the humanitarian direction, he worked with the Red Cross in 1921 to help distribute supplies close to 22,000,000 dying Russians in the famine which was a very daunting task but his energy, perseverance, and dedication towards this job were exemplary.
The most important cause he would always be remembered for was probably the introduction of the Nansen Passports. In 1922, the Greek government and the League of Nations requested him to solve the problems of the Greek refugees who came into their native land after the Greek army had been destroyed by the Turks. He issued Nansen passports as almost 1,250,000 Greeks are living on Turkish soil and about 500,000 Turks living in Greece so that they can travel across the borders and start their new lives.
This opportunity gave the refugees and homeless people the rights to resettle and emigrate. Coincidently as we are seeing the emergence of the refugee crisis in Europe, his work is clearly relevant in today’s time as well. Although the Nansen Passport is not used today, it was a revolutionary step in the direction of refugee’s rehabilitation. It was recognized by 52 countries and it is estimated that close 450,000 refugees were settled using this passport.
Fridtjof Nansen led such an interesting, inspiring and illustrious life that probably words are not enough to describe his excellence in every field he chose to work in and his contribution in the direction of refugee repatriation. His legacy would always inspire us to live a life that leaves a mark on the world.
Article by Prateeksha.