On July 5, Vesterheim was pleased to welcome Norway’s President of the Storting Masud Gharahkhani for his first visit to Decorah! The Storting is Norway’s Parliament.

Suzanne Mineck, Norwegian Honorary Consul for Iowa and Nebraska, was the host for the visit and other Norwegian government staff accompanied President Gharahkhani. After a visit to Luther College, Vesterheim President/CEO Chris Johnson gave the group a tour around Vesterheim campus. Vesterheim Chief Curator Laurann Gilbertson met them in the new collection access room in the Commons to show them objects from the collection specifically related to Drammen, the area in Norway that President Gharahkhani comes from.

The Norwegian delegation included Bjørn Willy Robstad, Parliamentary Secretary for the Norwegian Parliament and Policy Advisor for the President; Christian Gahre, from the International Department of the Storting; Truls Dahlum Nilsen, Advisor to President Gharahkhani; Sigbjørn Pettersen Kiserud, Communications Advisor to President Gharahkhani; and Urd Berge Milbury, Senior Advisor of Culture, Education, and Public Diplomacy for the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Washington D.C.

President Gharahkhani is in the United States to attend the 2024 NATO Summit.

President Gharahkhani was born in Tehran, Iran, and immigrated to Norway with his family in 1987. He grew up in Skotselv in Øvre Eiker. After attending Rosthaug Senior High School, he enrolled at Gjøvik University College to study radiography, graduating as a radiologic technologist. Gharahkhani has been a member of the Storting for Buskerud county since 2009 and President of the Storting since 2021.