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About the Author

 

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Michael Kleiner in traditional Norwegian sweater. Photo by Butler Prestige Photo.

Michael Kleiner has been an award-winning sports writer and public relations practitioner throughout his more than 30-year career. He has operated his own public relations and web site design business (http://www.kleinerprweb.com) in Philadelphia since 1999 with a concentration on authors and small businesses. Michael has designed many web sites for businesses and community organizations in his Mt. Airy neighborhood, where he is President of the Mt. Airy Business Association. In 2003, Kleiner received the Home-Based Business Advocate Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration for Region III (PA, DE, MD, VA, WV, DC) and The Communicators Awards Crystal Award of Excellence in Feature Writing, its highest honor, and an international award.

He has established himself as somewhat of an expert on Norway, enthusiastically educating people of various ages about Norway. His articles have been published in The Norseman, a magazine published for Norwegians abroad and friends of Norway by the Norse Federation in Oslo; Norway at your service, published by the Norwegian Trade Council and Olympian, magazine of the United States Olympic Committee. When family friends are considering travelling to Norway, they consult Michael. While pursuing his master’s degree in Educational Media at Temple University from 1993-95, he developed a slide show on the Norwegian and Swedish influence in Philadelphia, which the American Swedish Historical Museum in Philadelphia, which welcomes all people of Scandinavian descent as well as friends, supposedly used at their booth for the Pennsylvania Convention Center opening.

Prior to the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics he produced a two slide projector show and video, Introducing Lillehammer to the World for other class projects. Through the wonders of e-mail and the Internet, Michael found ways to bring himself a little bit of Norway and to educate others. This would range from joining a Sunday night online chat session with Norwegians of American descent from around the United States, to answering questions about Norway on the Norweaves listserve and on “travel” and “language” boards, to being invited to “speak” about student travel to Norway in a special chat session.

In January 1995, he began attending a monthly Jewish havurah group that held a havdalah ceremony, (bidding farewell to the Sabbath on Saturday night). May, 1995 marked 50 years since the end of World War II, and Michael shared the collection of stories of rescue, and accounts of War experiences of people he had personally met in Norway and Europe over a number of years. This was the first public reading from Beyond the Cold. He also met his wife, Lisa, through the havurah group.

After graduation in 1995, he was hired as Director of Communications at Abington Friends School and during his three years there would not only make a significant contribution publicity wise, but to the School's multi-cultural programming. In March, 1996, his father’s colleague, Tom, traveled to Philadelphia to work for a week, and brought his 10-year old son. The school was open to Andreas spending the week in the fourth grade class. However, before his arrival, Michael visited the class and taught them welcoming phrases in Norwegian, showed slides of Lillehammer, the mountains, fjords, the Arctic Circle, Lofoten Islands, discussed the history, culture and sports of the country, taught them to say, “My name is…” in Norwegian. When Andreas showed up for class, each student introduced himself or herself in Norwegian.

At the same time, the high school students were organizing the annual school-wide International Day, scheduled for May 17, which is also Norwegian Constitution Day, so Michael proposed a parade in honor of this event. After all, 17 mai is celebrated with parades of school children. Workshops, an international luncheon featuring food donated by families representing their heritages, and an international fashion show was planned. Michael contacted the Leif Erikson Society and they brought a replica of a Viking ship. Members came dressed in Viking gear. The ship was placed in the middle of campus and students were allowed to board the ship. Three women from the local chapter of Sons of Norway came dressed in bunads (traditional regional attire) – two Norwegians, one Swedish – participated in the fashion show and made dessert for the luncheon. Michael introduced the parade. The fourth-graders with whom Andreas visited led the parade of nations along with Michael, who provided a Norwegian flag. The class pulled out the toy moose Andreas had given them as a gift and paraded holding it aloft. Andreas returned again the following year.

During the year, Michael spoke to the kindergarten classes about his reindeer sled ride in Norway in 1970 with the Sami people. It was a big hit, and he has since made presentations to his twin children -- now six-year old Matthew and Devra --PreK classes. He could adapt experiences discussed in the book to different age groups of students. He was also asked by a group outside of AFS, to do an orientation for students traveling to Norway as part of Children’s International Summer Village.

The year 1997 marked the 50th anniversary of the American Friends Service Committee and Friends Service Council in London receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. For AFS’ progrram, Michael suggested to the Head of School that he could read, in Norwegian, the excerpts from the 1947 presentation. A senior student read the English excerpts from the speech delivered by Gunnar Jahn, Chairman of the Nobel Committee in 1947.

In addition to working at Abington Friends School, he was a sportswriter for a suburban Philadelphia newspaper chain and Sports Information Director at Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science. Michael earned a B.A. in Journalism and History from Rutgers University in 1980 and a Certificate in Norwegian Language from the International Summer School at the University of Oslo in 1992.

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