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What is Dembra?

Dembra (Democratic preparedness against antisemitism and racism) offers development programs for schools and teacher training institutions to prevent prejudice and exclusion. Dembra covers various challenges to democracy, such as racism, islamophobia, antisemitism, hate speech and extremism.

Six centers for peace and human rights in different parts of Norway offer Dembra: The Rafto Foundation in Western Norway, ARKIVET Peace and Human Rights Centre in Southern Norway, Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue in Eastern Norway, Falstadsenteret in Central Norway, The Norwegian Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies (The HL center) in South-Eastern Norway and The Narvik War and Peace Center in Northern Norway. The HL center manages Dembra, offers online courses and is responsible for the cooperation with teacher training institutions (Dembra LU).

Dembra's resources are developed in line with the curriculum and are completely free thanks to our collaborators and supporters

Funded by:

  • Kunnskapsdepartmentet
  • Utdanningsdirektoratet

Peace and human rights centers across Norway offering Dembra:

  • Dembra ved HL-senteret
  • Narviksenteret
  • Dembra ved Falstadsenteret
  • Raftostiftelsen
  • ARKIVET freds- og menneskerettighetssenter
  • Nansen Fredssenter

Dembra's Services

Dembra offers services for the entire educational journey: primary school, upper secondary education, and teacher education. Teachers, school leaders, and other school staff, teacher educators, students, and other interested individuals are among those who use our services.

Dembra consists of two parts:

  • Dembra for Schools

    Dembra for Schools offers school-based development programs over a year and a half. 155 schools with over 4300 teachers have participated in Dembra since its first implementation in 2013 (Numbers from 2023). Between 25 and 40 new schools are now recruited annually in Norway.

  • Dembra for Teacher Training

    Dembra for teacher training (Dembra LU) collaborates with teacher education institutions on the development of students’ professional competence. 13 teacher training institutions have participated since 2018, with over 100 participating teacher educators (numbers from 2023).

Dembra for schools

Schools at all levels, from primary school to upper secondary education, can participate in Dembra.

Local development processes are carried out at the school over one to one and a half years. A Dembra supervisor follows up a Dembra group/resource group at the school, with the participation of both management and teachers. Together, they work through five phases: 1) mapping of the situation at the school, 2) selection of focus areas, 3) planning of measures, 4) implementation of measures, 5) evaluation and continuation.

The schools are guided to implementing measures at various levels in a whole-school approach: The work is linked to education and acitivites in the classroom, but also to teachers’ competence, school management, school culture, parents and the local environment.

Courses for the entire staff are held at the school on current topics such as prejudice, racism, language use, democracy and critical thinking.

Dembra for teacher training

The cooperation with teacher training institutions (Dembra LU) aims to strengthen the students’ professional competence related to the prevention of prejudice, group hostility and discrimination.

The work takes place on several levels:

  • Development of teaching which is tested with students and published on dembra.no
  • Implementing Dembra topics in the subjects and programs at the institutions
  • Multi-, interdisciplinary and program-wide collaboration in the participating institutions

A network of teacher educators with an interest in the role of teacher education in prevention of group-based hostility is maintained by Dembra.

Digital learning resources

Dembra.no is a comprehensive free learning resource for schools and teacher training that is maintained by the HL center with contributions from Dembra’s partners.


Dembra has been developed in response to the Directorate of Education’s mission in 2012 to develop a program to support the school’s work in preventing antisemitism, racism and undemocratic attitudes.

Dembra is financed by the Directorate of Education with funds from the Norwegian Ministry of Education. A number of action plans include Dembra, including the action plan against antisemitism (2021-2023), against radicalization and violent extremism (2020), against racism (2020-2023) and against discrimination and hatred against Muslims (2020-2023).

Principles of prevention

  • 1. Inclusion and participation

  • 2. Knowledge and critical thinking

  • 3. intercultural competence

  • 4. Ownership and long-term involvement

  • 5. A whole-school approach

Dembra’s concept is based on the knowledge that democratic culture, based on participation and critical thinking, provides the best prevention of attitudes that threaten democracy – such as group hatred and anti-democratic ideologies.

A comprehensive perspective where different challenges are seen in context follows from this starting point. Schools can hardly deal with all individual challenges one by one, they need a comprehensive framework.

Read more about the theory behind Dembra here.

Dembra and the Norwegian school curriculum

Dembra builds on the values of “promoting democracy, equality and scientific thinking” as stated in the objective clause of the Educational act. Dembra supports the schools in fulfilling Section 9a of the Education Act , not least when it comes to the requirement for continuous and systematic work for health, environment and safety.

Through the National Curriculum for primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education implemented in 2020, Dembra’s anchoring in the school’s governing documents has been strengthened. The emphasis in LK20 on an inclusive learning environment, the link to the work in the subjects, interdisciplinary themes, student participation and development in the professional community are elements that correspond to Dembra’s approach to prevention.