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 Andrew Larsen from Pacific Lutheran University.
As Peace Scholars, our time here in Norway is a step in our college careers, vocational journeys, and educational pursuits. Bright futures await this group and the bonds we have made here are strong. From exploring the islands in the Oslo fjord to weekly ice cream runs on Karl Johans street, I can truly say that we are becoming close friends. It is exciting to think about the future – about everything I know we can accomplish when we apply what we have learned and use our passions for the development of peace.
But the world today faces some immense conflicts. Ukraine, Israel-Palestine, to name just two major ones. Jane Addams, the second woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize (1931), who founded the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom strongly disagreed with the peace plan with Germany in 1919 knowing that such humiliation would lead to a German war of revenge. If over 80 years ago our Nobel laureates are not understood or listened to, what hope do we have for today?
I don’t think the message of Jane Addams or of other laureates is that of pessimism. Yes, the world we live in today is complicated and full of violence and conflict. But as I started this blog post, I truly see a bright future. This summer school is designed to bring the world together. Each relationship formed here is a stop towards the peace that Addams strived for decades ago. The futures is scary indeed, but that requires more of each of us. Each time we interact with a Norwegian ordering coffee at Narvesen we engage in understanding the world around us. Each time a student here at ISS learns from peers and professors they work towards peace. My fellow Peace Scholars will continue to impress me and add to my optimism. Yes, the future is bright indeed. I end with a quote from the 1931 laureate, Jane Addams “Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we often might win, by fearing to attempt”.