It Doesn’t Happen Overnight
Relationships count. And Augsburg President Paul Pribbenow is far above average at developing and maintaining relationships of substance. Several days before the Minnesota Trade Mission arrived in sun-splashed Norway, Paul had already met with Parliament Member Peter Gitmark, who heads up the Norwegian Parliament’s American caucus. Perhaps few in Parliament are as cognizant of the possibilities that exist between the Parliament, the Forum, and other entities. Mr. Gitmark, along with Parliamentarians Marianne Aasen and Ingjerd Schou, have purposefully pursued a path that actively enhances our mutual work. How this will precisely unfold remains to be seen, but having a firm relationship helps not only the Forum, but also the Trade Delegation, Midwest educational institutions, and broader Minnesota business interests.
Not content with that meeting alone, Paul also met with two institutions that have strong relationships with the Forum and with Nobel Peace Prize winners. The American College of Norway is a vibrant “remote partner” of the Forum, who hosted a Skype breakout session at the March 2013 Forum on Bertha von Suttner, the first woman Nobel Peace Prize winner. Paul also continued a longstanding conversation with Steinar Bryn, the director of the Nansen Centre for Peace and Dialogue. Named after Nobel Peace Prize winner Fridtjof Nansen, this center is one study site for the Peace Scholars who arrived this past week and have been blogging for the Forum on their experiences.
After the Trade Mission landed in Oslo, Paul and I again visited the Norwegian Nobel Institute to review the unfolding plans for the upcoming Forum with Dr. Geir Lundestad. One of the achievements of the Forum is to have forged fruitful connections with private and public entities that see themselves as contributing to the broader work of peacemaking and peace building. Those relationships, like peace itself, are proportionate to the time and energy pumped into developing the synergy required for success. Like peace, they don’t happen overnight.