The 19th International Congress of Historical Sciences was held in Oslo on 6-13 August 2000. It was organized in the capital of Norway thanks to the initiative of the Norwegian Historical Association (HIFO), which, in so doing, met the expectations of the Norwegian scientific community. The Organizing Committee was chaired by Even Lange representing HIFO; his deputy was Helge Pharo from the University of Oslo. The Committee was also composed of Per G. Norseng and May Brith Ohman Nielsen as representatives of HIFO, Solvi Sogner on behalf of the University of Oslo, Steinar Imsen from the Norwegian Institute of Technology and Helge W. Nordvik, representative of the Norwegian School of Economics and Business in Bergen. Responsible for Congress administration were Astri Andresen (Bergen University) and Randi Ronning Balsvik (Tromso University).
Oslo hosted over 1,800 historians from 73 countries. Norway was represented by the largest group of scholars (close to 340 historians). Other numerous groups included scholars from the USA (210), Sweden (146), the United Kingdom (122), and Italy (120).
The Congress was officially launched by the Speaker of Norwegian Parliament Kirsti Kolle Grondahl. The opening addresses were delivered by Kaare R. Norum, President of Oslo University, and Per Ditlev-Simonsen, Mayor of Oslo. The opening panel, chaired by Ivan Berend, was dedicated to the historians’ angle on the twentieth century.
The Congress agenda included 3 so-called Major Themes , 20 specialist topics and 25 debates. In addition, there were separate sessions organized by 36 commissions affiliated with CISH, including 55 poster sessions and a series of historical workshops. One of the main questions discussed were methodological issues related to the development of global history. There was also a discussion on the problem of European, American and Asian historical centrism as well as regionalism and minorities.
One of the conclusions of the Congress was the organisers’ conviction that the traditional form of publishing abstracts or summaries of papers was too expensive and time-consuming, which is why they should appear only on the Internet.
The Oslo Congress had a very high organizational and substantive level. It contributed to the popularization of knowledge about Norwegian historical research, as well as to the consolidation of the international historical environment through the establishment of numerous new contacts. The organisers adopted solutions that made it easier for historians from non-European countries to participate in the Congress.
The Congress aroused great interest in Norwegian and foreign media. Radio and television broadcasts were regularly conducted, and as many as 55 articles were published in the Norwegian press.
K.D. Erdmann, Towards a Global Community of Historians. The International Historical Congresses and the International Committee of Historical Sciences. 1898-2000, ed. J. Kocka, New York-Oxford 2005