International Organization for Migration

Migration for the benefit of all

Country Information Seminars

  • Country Information Seminars

  • Would you like to know more about the history, culture, or conflict in the country of origin of refugees?
  • Would you like to see pictures, films or know more about the living conditions in the refugee camps where refugees where staying before they came to Norway?
  • Would you like to improve your understanding of cultural values, behaviour and communication style with refugees?
  • Would you like to hear from the newcomers themselves how they have experienced their new life in Norway so far?


CO programme staff has the knowledge and experience on the above mentioned topics and we are happy to share this information with you. Together with you we can jointly organize a meeting or a seminar tailored to your municipality's interests and needs.

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Cross-Cultural Facilitators

The pedagogical base of the CO programme are Cross-Cultural Facilitators. A Cross-Cultural Facilitator is a person who has an origin or background similar to the refugee group in question and who also has a solid  background and living experience in Norway. He or she speaks the language of the CO participants thus eliminating the need for an interpreter. Similar ethnic and immigrant/refugee background and ability to speak the same language as the refugees facilitates creation of trusting and open atmosphere in the  class room. A Cross-Cultural Facilitator also acts as a role model for refugees as the facilitator him/herself has gone successfully through the integration process in Norway, learned the language and has also managed to professionally establish him/herself in Norway.

Target groups

The Norwegian government decides annually the target groups and numbers of quota refugees that have to be selected for resettlement in Norway. During the last two years (2015-16) the target group has been Syrians living in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, but majority have been taken from Lebanon. In 2017 the regular quota refugees will all be Syrians and will be selected from Lebanon and Turkey.

Other refugee groups that have been selected and given pre-departure cultural orientation have come from Afghanistan, Bhutan, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Eritrea, Iraq, Iran, Liberia, Myanmar, and Palestine.

Cultural Orientation (CO) Classes


Cultutal orientation classes in Lebanon

Pre-departure cultural orientation classes are provided to Norway bound quota refugees in their first country of asylum. Children between the ages of 8 to 15 are given 10 hours of orientation over a period of two days while refugees from 16 years and above are given 25 hours of orientation over a period of 5 days.

In 2016, CO classes were held in the following countries:

  • Iran for Afghan refugees
  • Jordan, Lebanon & Turkey for Syrian refugees

IOM uses Cross Cultural Facilitators, who live and work in Norway and are integrated into the Norwegian society. They are generally from the same or similar cultural and linguistic background as the refugees. The use of the refugees' own language as the language of instruction maximizes effective learning.

The CO classes emphasize a participatory approach, and it is learner-centered, and combine discussions, visual teaching aids, theatre-for-development and learning through dialogue and case studies.

The curriculum for adults includes topics like the resettlement process in Norway, climate, history, geography, housing, introduction programme, education, health care, employment, and other public services. Special attention is given to local customs of the accepted refugees that could be misunderstood or problematic in Norwegian culture. Such topics include gender issues, reproductive health issues and domestic violence.

For the children the curriculum includes topics like Norwegian school system, Being a child/teen in Norway, Children’s right, and lots of interactive activities and games.



By increasing the refugees' knowledge of Norway, this project will contribute to the overall empowerment of refugees to cope with their immediate needs on arrival, enhance their ability to become self-sufficient sooner and facilitate their integration into Norwegian society.

Through the CO programme, refugees can:

  • Develop a realistic picture of Norway and understand its culture and values
  • Develop an understanding of the receiving municipalities' expectations of them
  • Develop problem solving skills
  • Feel in control of their life and reduce their anxiety
  • Learn about common problems that they may encounter in the resettlement process, understand that these are normal, and thus help reduce negative impact


Opening times:
Monday - Friday : 10:00 - 15:00

Visiting address:
Skippergata 33 Second floor; Oslo
Postal address:
PB 8927 Youngstorget
0028 Oslo

Tel: +47 23 10 53 20
Fax: +47 23 10 53 23


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