Oslo Awaits the Prize

By Maureen Reed

Nobel Peace Prize Forum Executive Director Maureen Reed is filing notes this week from Oslo, where she and Augsburg College President Paul Pribbenow are attending the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.

Passing through Norwegian immigration at the airport this morning, the agent asked the purpose of my trip. “Business,” I said. “The Nobel Peace Prize.”

“So you’re continuing to Sweden?” he quizzed. My jet-lagged brain stumbled over his question. Could he really be asking this? “No, the PEACE Prize,” I countered, baffled that a Norwegian government official could be so badly out of touch with events in his own country. An American certainly could be forgiven for confusing the roles of Norway and Sweden with regard to the Nobel prizes. But a Norwegian? Incredible!

“Oh, the Peace Prize,” he nodded, stamping the passport and waving me through. When the fog in my head cleared as I waited for the train in the fresh morning snow, it dawned on me that he likely was neither dense nor out-of-touch. Just quick, crafty and competent.

Like many cities, Oslo is a little sleepy on a Sunday morning, especially when a new blanket of snow has slowed shoppers and sightseers. Still, the central city is in readiness for the arrival of the newest Nobel Peace Prize winner, with banners proclaiming the occasion. While Alfred Nobel might not have envisioned the full scope of the spectacle that the Nobel Ceremony has become, it’s virtually certain that he would approve of how Norway and the wider world now celebrate his Peace Prize with such gusto and glitter.

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