Inside the Committee Room

This is part of a series of blog posts written by the 2011 Peace Scholars, as they complete their summer program in Oslo, Norway. This post was written by Kelly Krinn, a Peace Scholar from St. Olaf College.

We have finished our second week of classes in Oslo; I can tell these next 3 weeks will pass by far too quickly. The Peace Seminar was a great introduction to the different theories of conflict and issues surrounding conflict, conflict resolution, and peacekeeping. Last week we visited the Norwegian Nobel Institute.  Among other highlights, we were given a tour of the Committee room and the room where they announce the winner of the Peace Prize.

On the walls of the Committee room were photographs of all the winners. It is overwhelming to see so many who have done so much. Easily recognizable faces for me were John Hume and David Trimble who were the main agents from opposing political parties in Northern Ireland who developed the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, I felt a surge of pride for the place where I spent 4 months earlier this year. Also His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, who I had the honor of meeting this April in Dublin. I was also amazed at how many names and faces I did not recognize. It just goes to show that power and resources are not a requirement in working for peace, it just takes passion and time. As Stienar Bryn told us in Lillehammer, “T T T. Things Take Time”. I learned a lot about the Peace Prize itself. I was unaware of the nomination and selection process. The Norwegian Parliament, I was astonished to learn, named the committee members, but I suppose someone has to decide who gives out the award.

The next day we went to the Nobel Peace Center, which is a museum to educate the public about issues surrounding peace. The main feature for this year was Nansen and the theme of refugees. This is the 150th anniversary of Nansen’s birth, so all of Norway is celebrating him for his achievements in Arctic exploration and his work for peace, particularly for refugees. Of course we knew all about Nansen from our time in Lillehammer. The photograph exhibition called Transit was beautiful and terrible. It focused on areas where there are refugee populations and told the stories, long and short, of many refugees from all over the world. I loved that the exhibition was not some ploy to foster pity and donations as some would do, but instead if focuses on the injustice and anger and sadness, all much more useful in striving for peace than pity.

Kelly Krinn
St. Olaf College

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