The Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) was established by the Norwegian Parliament in 1959 in order to promote a better understanding of international issues in Norway. NUPI has sought to achieve this by undertaking a wide range of research activities and by disseminating information on international issues. Among the several Norwegian institutes doing research in the area of international affairs, NUPI has a leading position in studying matters of relevance to Norwegian foreign policy and economic relations.
Though for many years completely funded over the state budget (later supplemented by a sizable share of outside project funding), NUPI's formal independence from Norwegian foreign policy is evident in its long-standing organizational link to the Ministry of Education rather than the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (distinguishing it from its counterparts in Sweden and many other countries). The institute as such has never taken a policy stance on current issues, but has left this to the professional judgment of its individual researchers. Nevertheless, in the Norwegian political debate and in the wider Norwegian research community of international affairs, NUPI has tended to be perceived as close to the government's views, whether the government has been Labour or Conservative, center-left or center-right. Several of its directors have been prominent Labour politicians, notably John Sanness, Johan Jørgen Holst and Jan Egeland. Three of its other researchers, Anders C. Sjaastad, John Kristen Skogan and Janne Haaland Matlary, have been members of Conservative / center-right or centrist governments.
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