This is part of a series of blog posts written by the 2014 Peace Scholars as they experience their summer program in Norway. This post was written by Erin Cowles from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.
Now, the famous Norwegian painter Edvard Munch did not win the Nobel Peace Prize, but his influence has been a part of the award ceremony since the mid-1900s.
Yesterday, after the first day of classes, the International Summer School had its opening ceremony and a reception at Oslo’s City Hall. The first stop was at the University Aula, a beautiful building in the heart of the UiO’s main campus. This is where the Peace Prize was awarded from 1947 to 1989. The Aula, for those who have never been, has eleven paintings by Munch, including his famous painting, The Sun, featured prominently in the front of the room. We were welcomed to the University of Oslo by the spirit of those who received the Peace Prize, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Elie Wiesel, Mother Teresa, and Desmond Tutu.
At Oslo’s City Hall, we were welcomed by the city of Oslo with a delicious reception. Again, we felt the spirit of past recipients of this prestigious Prize, from 1990 to the present, including Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama. Here, too, was a painting by Munch, in a room of City Hall that overlooks the Nobel Peace Center. In this way, we had multiple connections throughout the evening to both Munch and the reason for our Fellowships, the Nobel Peace Prize.