Norwegian Ibsen With a Twist in Aceh

The seminar Nora’s Sisters has been organized around the world by Norwegian Embassies in cooperation with local institutions since the Ibsen year 2006. The idea behind the seminars is to put women’s issues on the agenda in different cultures by using the writings of Ibsen as a source of inspiration.

Both the topical interest and cultural flexibility in Ibsen’s writings made Aceh an interesting venue for a seminar of this kind in Indonesia. AIso in the Acehnese context Nora’s life and destiny is highly relevant.

Ibsen’s dramas are universal, present-day dramas, and the problems he brought forward are the common problems of everyday life. In his plays, Ibsen raises questions about political power, idealism, fanaticism, corruption, the environment, neglected children, individual freedom, cultural and socio-economic challenges and gender equality, about human rights. 

On aspect In this regard in Aceh is the question of sharia law; one not only about politics and legal issues,  but also a woman’s issue as the implementation  mostly affects women.

After an inspiring performance extracted from Ibsen’s play “A Doll’s House”  set up by Fauzi Marzodieki in Institute Ungu, the seminar was opened by Director Dewa Made Sastrawan, heading the Western Europe Desk in Kemlu , the Norwegian Ambassador Eivind S. Homme and rector at the Syah Kuala University Prof. Dr. Darni Daud.

A panel discussion was chaired by Debra H. Yatim, which included presentations delivered by Suraiya Kamruzzman from Flower Aceh/Aceh Women’s Solidarity, Dr. Eka Mulyani, Deputy Director for Postgraduate Studies at Banda Aceh IAIN and Dr. Yuniyanti Chuzaefah, chairperson of the National Commission on Violence against Women. The seminar concluded with a traditional dance from Aceh.

Recently, Kartini’s day was celebrated around Indonesia and women’s movements were putting themselves on top of the agenda. The Embassy wanted to support this through this event, by opening up for discussion among the women of Aceh concerning their own future.

Under which conditions are men and women living together and what kind of expectations, traditions, laws and regulations, that define their relationships, both at home and in society? This seminar was an attempt to spark a debate by and for the sisters – and brothers – of Nora in Aceh.

The Embassy would like to express our gratitude and thanks to Institute Ungu for organizing the event, to Kemlu for their support, to the University in Aceh and all the 150 participants and NGOs that contributed actively and extensively  to make the seminar a success.


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