Symposium to focus on Nordic explorers
18th century seekers, 2009 Baffin Babes highlighted

The 11th Annual Nordic Spirit Symposium at California Lutheran University will highlight explorers whose expeditions date from the 18th century to spring of 2009.

“The Nordic Explorers: From Polar Frontiers to the Silk Road” will blend music, dining and the free exchange of ideas to enhance the pleasure of learning in the time-honored spirit of a symposium.

A reception for presenters, performers and the public will kick off the event at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5, in the Scandinavian Center. Admission is $10.

In the Samuelson Chapel at 7 p.m., the program will continue with a presentation on Nordic explorers’ conquest of the polar frontiers. A Scandinavian scholar and nature photographer will then retrace the first and last journeys of the famed pioneering ethnobotanist Carl Linnaeus. Admission is $20, but free for students.
On Saturday, Feb. 6, the program begins at 9 a.m. in Samuelson Chapel. Ingebjerg Tollefsen and Kristin Folsland Olsen of Norway will share photos, videos and stories from the 80 days they and two other Scandinavian women known as the Baffin Babes spent skiing across Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. Three scholars will discuss Norwegian polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen, Icelandic Canadian-Arctic anthropologist Vilhjalmur Stefansson and Swedish inner-Asia explorer Sven Hedin. Retired Thousand Oaks pastor Larry Johnson will speak about recently deceased agronomist Norman Borlaug, who will be inducted into the California Scandinavian American Hall of Fame. Magnus Martensson, Music Director of the Scandinavian Chamber Orchestra of New York, will present comedy and music in the style of Victor Borge. Admission is $40, but free for students.

Diane Jarvi, the 2000 Finlandia Foundation National Performer of the Year, will perform a variety of folk and world music at the Saturday dinner celebration, which begins at 7 p.m. in the Lundring Events Center. Admission is $38.

Reservations are requested for the Friday reception. The deadline to register for the Feb. 6 luncheon and dinner is Jan. 25. Reservations are recommended but not necessary for the presentations.

The Scandinavian American Cultural and Historical Foundation and CLU are sponsoring the symposium. It is made possible by grants from the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation and the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in San Francisco.

For more information, call (818) 788-4552, e-mail or visit