Olav Aanestad Godiksen is trained as a social anthropologist and is working both as a conflict management trainer and as a mediator. His work as a trainer has been focused on managing conflicts at the workplace, primarily among staff at Norwegian refugee receptions centres. In his role as a mediator for the Norwegian Mediation Service he is working both with criminal and civil cases.
• What is the first website you visit after you get up and why?
That would usually be the weather forecast (yr.no) to see how I should dress for my morning run to the office. It’s a fantastic way to start the day; half an hour of easy running, letting the mind and body wander as I move at an even pace. No traffic jams or other disturbances to steal my attention. When I get to the office I feel invigorated and ready for a new day.
• Tell me about a book that has had an impact on your life and why.
Hannah Arendts “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil” is a book that has stayed with me for a long time. Not only because of the quality of her thinking and writing, but also because of the strength she has shown writing a balanced and nuanced account in very tense atmosphere.
• Who are your favourite authors?
There are so many good authors to choose among, so it’s a hard question to answer. If I have to name some, I would list Italo Calvino, Oscar Wilde, Henrik Ibsen and Maja Angelou among my favourites.
• What historical figure do you identify with?
Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss. I am inspired by his curiosity and openness, as well as his thoughts on interpersonal relations and non-violence, his closeness to nature and honesty towards himself and others.
• Who are your heroes in real life?
People working to better the situation of others, and who do so with integrity and a shared feeling of humanity. There are groups and individuals all over the world striving to improve their society and the living conditions of their fellow citizens.
• What is your favourite occupation?
Being a facilitator.
• What influenced your career path?
I’ve long been interested in conflict management, even as a youth. Visits to Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Middle East gave me insights into life in conflict zones, and triggered me to continue with conflict related studies at University. Through my career I have become increasingly concerned with practical - face to face - conflict management, which has led me to where I am today.
• What do you like about what you do?
Working with people is a reward in itself. By doing conflict training and mediation I get to partake in very sincere and honest processes to explore possible solutions to very different kind of problems. Through this I also receive impulses and thoughts from the people I meet, which help me develop, both professionally and personally.
• What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
I find it difficult to rate my achievements and find one to be the greatest. Rather, I see many small achievements as I go through life.