After a long day of traveling, we’ve finally arrived in Lillehammer where we’re about to embark on our six week journey of peace and conflict studies that commences with a four day stay at the Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue. The Nansen Dialogue, which was founded in 1994 solidarity with Sarajevo at a time when the city was under siege, has expanded since its inception into an effective and well-respected network for peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts by stressing dialogue as an undervalued tool in the peace process. We have the privilege of spending the next four days here acting as participant-observers in structured dialogue sessions with students from the Western Balkans alongside Steinar Bryn and his energetic team.
As I was leafing through the final pages of our pre-program reading requirements in preparation for days to come, I stumbled upon a quote by Steinar Bryn on peace building that I found particularly relevant to this interesting, diverse, and motivated group of young people: There are no short cuts to reconcilitation, but there are roads. This process requires one strep to be walked at a time.“
So here we are, surrounded by stimulating company and the beauty of the Lillehammer landscape, ready to hit the road by making this first step.