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Last modified: Tuesday, October 11, 2011

IU hosting former Nobel Foundation executive director this week in Bloomington, Indianapolis

Oct. 11, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- This week, Indiana University is hosting Michael Sohlman, the recently retired executive director of the Nobel Foundation, at its Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses.

Michael Sohlman

Michael Sohlman

Print-Quality Photo

Sohlman is a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Center on Philanthropy at IU.

At the IUPUI University Library today (Oct. 11), from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the foyer of the Lilly Auditorium, Sohlman will discuss his experiences as a philanthropic leader and share his perspectives on philanthropy in Sweden and Europe, as well as the role of independent foundations. The talk, titled "Objectives and roles of independent Foundations in societies with a large share of resources channeled through and used in the public sector," is sponsored by the Center on Philanthropy and IU Foundation.

Prior to the talk is a reception at 4 p.m. Both the reception and lecture are free and open to the public; a reservation is requested. To RSVP or for more information, e-mail or call Susan Lutz at 317-278-8923.

On Thursday (Oct. 13), Sohlman will present a lecture at IU Bloomington titled "Enlightenment, Scientific Research, and the Nobel Prize," in which he'll describe how the values of the Enlightenment and scientific optimism contributed to the creation of the Nobel Prize and the many-faceted roles of the award. The lecture, which will be held at Wells House and is by invitation only because of limited seating, will be hosted by the IU Bloomington Provost's Office.

Throughout his visit, Sohlman will attend lectures, workshops and meetings with IU President Michael A. McRobbie and other IU administrators, IU trustees, faculty and staff. He will also meet with representatives from several of IU's major departments, centers and institutes.

On Thursday (Oct. 13), Sohlman is expected to meet in Bloomington with IU Distinguished Professor of political science Elinor Ostrom, 2009 Nobel laureate in economic sciences, at the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, which Ostrom co-founded with her husband, Vincent. Elinor Ostrom is one of eight Nobel laureates affiliated with IU. For more on IU's Nobel tradition, go to

Sohlman will also visit a number of Bloomington and Indianapolis attractions. In Bloomington, he'll tour the Musical Arts Center and the Lilly Library of Rare Books & Manuscripts and will be interviewed by IU Vice President Emeritus Patrick O'Meara for a WFIU radio program. In Indianapolis, he will visit Conseco Fieldhouse.

Sohlman has held numerous executive positions in the Swedish government related to finance and international relations. Prior to joining the Nobel Foundation, he served as Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Trade in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. He is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences.

Born in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1944, Sohlman was educated at the universities of Uppsala and Stockholm. His great-grandfather, Ragnar Sohlman, was an assistant to Alfred Nobel. Ragnar Sohlman worked for Nobel for three years and was just 27 when Nobel died. At that time, Ragnar learned that he was the primary executor of Nobel's will.

Sohlman retired from the Nobel Foundation on May 1, 2011, after 19 years as executive director.