Former US President Barack Obama was due to arrive in Oslo on Wednesday, under vastly different circumstances than when he made a triumphant landing to accept his Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. This time Norwegians are paying him cash to come, and lots of it.
Obama will be speaking to around 3,000 business leaders and others who’ve been willing to pay at least NOK 5,000 (USD 607) for a ticket to hear him, and as much as NOK 32,000 to also pose with him in a photo. Newspaper Dagsagisen reported that Obama’s visit was expected to be short when the business promotion agency Oslo Business Forum hosts him at a conference site at Hellerudsletta north of Oslo. He was scheduled to take part for an hour in a “conversation” about leadership, technology and sustainability.
No high-level government meetings are planned, however, since Prime Minister Erna Solberg and several of her ministers are in New York this week to attend the opening of the UN General Assembly. Dagsavisen reported that the leader of the Norwegian Parliament’s foreign relations and defense committe had no plans to meet Obama either, nor were there any plans to revisit the Norwegian Nobel Institute or the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo. There was no mention of Obama’s visit on the website of the US Embassy in Oslo.
The Oslo Business Forum leaders were pleased Obama agreed to come to the Oslo area, though, and would not disclose what they paid him to do so. Oslo police were providing security in cooperation with the US Secret Service that protects US presidents for life.