Today is the 156th birth anniversary of explorer and humanitarian, Fridtjof Nansen and Google has honoured with a doodle. The cross-country skier helped many voiceless refugees.
Born in Oslo, Norway in 1861, Nansen was gripped by a sense of adventure from a young age and in 1888, he became the first person to lead an expedition across the snow-capped interior of Greenland. One icy adventure was not enough though. Just a few years later, Nansen attempted to become the first person to reach the North Pole.
It is also said that Nansen knew cross-country skiing and would cover 50 miles per day. He would reportedly do this with his dog and minimal supplies. As World War I took hold in 1914, Nansen started focusing on research at home. By 1920, his interests shifted from understanding the landscape of the world to influencing the international political climate. Nansen worked to free hundreds of thousands of prisoners of war and repatriate refugees.
The Norwegian explorer also directed the League of Nations’ first big humanitarian operation. The UNHCR states that 450,000 prisoners of war were repatriated under his guidance. He was also League’s first High Commissioner for Refugees from 1920-1930. He also created a travel document known as Nansen Passport which gave power to refugees to emigrate and resettle. He was honoured with Nobel Peace Prize in 1922 for helping homeless before he passed away on May 13, 1930.
(With IANS inputs)