Meet the newest members of the Nobel Peace Prize Forum team!

Rachel Peterson – Program Manager

rJust a few days ago I was standing on the shore of the Arctic Ocean in Tromsø, Norway at 5:00 am, waiting for a taxi to take me to the airport. After 8 years in the Arctic Capital of Norway I was on the verge of making a move back to my native Minnesota. I had said good-bye to wonderful friends and to my adoptive home-town, and was ready to take on a new and exciting challenge as Program Manager for the Nobel Peace Prize Forum.

As I write this I am sitting at the Forum office on the Augsburg College campus in Minneapolis, Minnesota – thousands of miles away from the Arctic. But I feel very at home. My connection to the forum started while I was a student at Luther College and continued the year after I graduated when the NPPF was at Augsburg in 2005. It was there that I met Dr. Ole D. Mjøs. At that time Dr. Mjøs chaired the Norwegian Nobel Committee, but even more interesting to me was the fact that he was the man behind the Master’s Degree program in Peace and Conflict Transformation Studies at the University of Tromsø – the very program to which I had just applied. He spoke so enthusiastically about it that I knew I had to head north.

After two years at the Centre for Peace Studies in Tromsø I didn’t feel ready to head back to the U.S., so I applied for the position of Regional Leader with Save the Children in the northern half of Norway. I worked in the field of child rights advocacy for six years, focusing on refugee and asylum-seeking children’s rights. Making the transition from children’s rights to the Nobel Peace Prize Forum feels like a natural step. I think it is safe to say that much of the work done by the Peace Prize Laureates is done to benefit future generations. And it is the youth of today who will grow up to be the Peace Prize Laureates of tomorrow.

 I am very excited to be joining the Nobel Peace Prize Forum team!

Ashley Long – Social Media Coordinator 

NPPF bioWhen I moved to Minnesota in the summer of 2012, I had no idea that 6 months later I’d actually be putting my degree from the University of Iowa to use instead of surfing for jobs. I caught wind from a pal that the Nobel Peace Prize Forum needed someone to run its social media. Previously contributing to Wrigleyville Magazine, I helped to build a digital community of enthusiastic, oft disappointed Chicago Cubs fans in Iowa & it was one of the most fun things I’ve ever been asked to do.

I met with Dr. Maureen Reed, Executive Director of the Forum, a week or so after I heard about the intern position opening and within those first few moments of our introduction, I knew that I wanted to work for the Forum. I had some exposure to journalism and producing articles online while still in school, but the Nobel Peace Prize Forum was my version of the big leagues. I knew that my degree in Creative Writing/English would help me hit homeruns. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity considering I would be surrounding myself with Nobel Laureates and fascinating people from all around the world.

At the 2013 Forum I sat alongside NPR’s Tom Weber at a small table backstage at Ted Mann and along the bleachers at the Kennedy Center, I handled the Livestream for the Forum. I pulled questions from the audience off of VoiceHive.com and wrote down questions for the speakers from our Remote Formal Partners. Additionally, I sent out mass tweets and Facebook updates so that those who were not able to attend, could still keep up on all of the Forum’s highlights. We increased the number of individuals wanting to follow our pages and correspond with the Forum electronically. I left Augsburg’s campus feeling more inspired to reach out to my community to create a positive change and volunteer to help those less fortunate. 

Since the Forum ended in March I have compiled reports for various audiences and edited the Nobel Peace Prize Forum’s blog. 15 students traveled abroad this summer as a part of the Peace Scholar Program and as blog editor I set deadlines, suggested improvements, and published posts. They all had fascinating things to say about their opportunities and I had such a great time reading their submissions.

I am currently working in Edina and for the Forum, anticipating the upcoming season of Iowa Hawkeyes football, shaking my head at the Chicago Cubs, and learning what it really means to be a bicyclist in Minnesota.

 Ahmed Musallam – Technical Support Intern 

10399_482570145119429_1075876511_nMy name is Ahmed Musallam. I am an International student from Palestine, specifically from the city of Gaza. I am currently attending Augsburg College and I expect to graduate in 2015 with a major in Computer Science and a double minor in Mathematics and Management Information Systems. I am the Technical Assistant Intern for the Nobel Peace Prize Forum. Coming from Palestine, a global political hot spot, I understand the necessity of peace, peacemaking and creating global citizens. I was fascinated by the efforts of the Nobel Peace Prize Forum to convey its mission: “To inspire and engage students and citizens to become full participants in peacemaking efforts around the world.”

My duties as a technical intern are to assist with all the technical aspects of the Forum, which include: video editing, design, website management and technical support during the Forum. I am very involved on my campus in different ways: I am the current President of the International Student Organization, an International mentor, Webmaster of Student Government and the Hope Fund Organization, AugSem Leader and work at the Center of Learning and Adaptive Student Services. I look forward to continuing my education and to pursuing a master’s degree in Computer Science or Electrical Engineering.

إسمي أحمد مسلم. أنا من فلسطين, تحديداً من مدينة غزة. أنا أدرس في جامعة أجسبرج في الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية و سوف أتخرج في عام 2015 بتخصص في علم الحاسوب و الرياضيات و نُظُم ادارة المعلومات. أنا أعمل مع منتدى جائزة نوبل للسلام كمساعد تِقَني. كَوني من فلسطين التي تعتبر منطقة ساخنة سياسياً فإنني أعي الحاجة الماسة للسلام و إعداد المواطنين الواعين عالمياً. لقد شدني العمل الذي يقوم به منتدى جائزة نوبل للسلام لإيصال رسالته التي تنص على “إلهام وإشراك الطلاب والمواطنين لكي يصبحوا شركاء فاعلين في جهود صنع السلام في جميع أنحاء العالم. واجبي كمساعد تقني للمنتدى هو المساعدة في جميع النواحي التقني للمنتدى والتي تتضمن: تحرير الفيديوهات والتصميم و ادارة الموقع الالكتروني و العمل على كافة النواحي الأخرى التقنية خلال فترة المؤتمر. أنا من الطلاب الناشطين و الرواد في جامعتي حيث اشغل عدة مناصب طلابية منها: رئيس منظمة الطلاب العالميين و مرشد للطلاب العالميين و المسؤول عن موقع مجلس طلاب الجامعة و منظمة “الهوب فند” و ايضا أعمل مع مركز التعلم و التكييُف والخدمات الطلابية. انا متحمس لإكمال دراستي و التوجه لدراسة الماجستير في علم الحاسوب أو الهندسة الكهربائية.

 Seng Vu – Office Student Assistant 

sengAt the age of 1, I moved to the United States from my native country, Thailand, in search of a better life after living in a country that had been torn by war. I grew up in the Twin Cities until the start of middle school, where I then moved to Coon Rapids. In Coon Rapids I actively took part in Student Council. During my sophomore year in high school I moved back to Minneapolis. It was there that my true ambitions rose to place. As a strong supporter of education, peace, and diversity, I worked diligently with decision makers to make my high school and community a better place.

I am currently a student at Augsburg College majoring in Economics and Business Administration. Although I am unsure of what the future has to bring, I believe that if I am doing the right things at the right time, the right opportunity will present itself. The Nobel Peace Prize Forum has provided just those opportunities. As the office assistant for the Forum, I handle the day-to-day office work and requirements that keep the Forum pushing ahead at full steam. My admiration of the Forum’s concise ability to execute and inspire people to make the world a better place keeps me motivated. Not only am I motivated by the Forum, but my success is also fueled by the idea that education will bring about a brighter future, not only for me, but for others as well.

Just like any fun-loving college student, I like to hang out with friends and play volleyball. I also enjoy playing competitively in a women’s flag football league. I always try my best to be an example to others.

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7 Responses to Meet the newest members of the Nobel Peace Prize Forum team!

  1. Christine Oliver says:

    What a great team! Welcome to you all!

  2. Dear Friends,
    Fantastic Experience Sharing. Though myself is a establisehed teacher, but I want to spend a couple of months to work with nobel peace prize forum. if there are such opportunity, let me know. I may try for it.

    Dr. Arup Barman

  3. Linda Bråthen says:

    Rachel, Welcome home! I also lived in Norway for 10 years about 25 years ago. We are members of Mindekirken, the Norwegian Memorial Lutheran (ELCA) Church at 924 E21st St, Mpls not so far from Augsburg. Check out our website. We have worship, church lunches, language classes, concerts. This Friday we have a Hardanger fiddler!! You are welcome and please look me up if you come. Linda Bråthen
    We will likely attend the Peace Prize forum again this year.

  4. Rachel Peterson says:

    Thanks so much, Linda! I taught Norwegian at Mindekirken back in 2004 for a couple of semesters – it was very fun! I will most certainly look you up when I am there next – and feel free to stop by the NPPF office at Augsburg if you are ever close by campus. The 2014 program is looking fantastic so far, so you should definitely plan on attending.

    • Daniel Forde says:

      Two items:
      1) I too live in the Metro and noticed that you taught Norse at Mindekirchen? I am a Luther graduate and strong Norwegian ancestry from Starbuck, Minnesota (south of Alexandria). How do I inquire about learning the Norwegian language — my former parents were extremely well versed in Norse language, both being first genertation Norwegian immigrant children! I did not take Norse from Knute Gunderson, unfortunately, but would love to learn the language now — my wife, Judith, also a Luther alum majored in Scandinavian Studies as well as Elementary Education. Does Mindekirchen still offer this opportunity for learning Norse. I’d prefer a less extensive course than at Augsburg or the University!
      2) When my oldest son, Jason, was at Luther, he was very involved in the Nobel Forum. He traveled up to Concordia and Augustana colleges who were hosts two of the early years. I can understand the need for it being held in the Metro area (airline access, etc.), but as I understand this great festival is still sponsored by the original founding 5 upper midwest colleges? If Luther, Augustana, Augsburg, Concordia, and St. Olaf are still financial and programming participants, the news details do NOT reflect ANYTHING about other colleges than Augsburg and the U. of Minnesota. Why is there abosolutely NOTHING about the other 4 colleges in ALL the news media? The METRO LUTHERAN issues this year AND last year followed this practice of no mention of the five founding colleges! If the four unmentioned colleges still are participants, that needs to be corrected ASAP! It is only fair to these other colleges!!

  5. Kate Maple says:

    Wow! what a wonderful team. Welcome! Looking forward to hearing more about the 2014 Forum.

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