The Pomp and Circumstance of Peacemaking
Last night, June 24th, the city of Oslo officially welcomed the nearly 600 students from around the world who have come to study at the international summer school. As our group of Peace Scholars sat in the University’s Aula, encompassed by enormous friezes by Edvard Munch, I was at once overcome by the beauty of this place and the people in it. Above me, priceless paintings. Surrounding me, new friends from around the world. In front of me, the stage upon which the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded from 1947 to 1989. While we heard speeches from influential people within the University and the Norwegian government, and multicultural music from a Norwegian acappella group, I couldn’t help but imagine how many influential peacemakers have stood in the same place. Martin Luther King Jr. Mother Teresa, and Desmond Tutu are just a few notable examples.
Our evening extravaganza migrated from one arena for the Nobel Peace Prize to another as we made our way to Oslo City Hall, which has hosted the ceremony since 1990. Again, the walls and ceilings in this space were adorned with massive murals depicting Norwegian history, culture, folklore, and royalty. We nibbled Norwegian delicacies and mingled amongst people representing 96 nations. Each and every one here is capable of amazing things, working towards a better world, just like Nobel Laureates past. I cannot wait to see what these people will accomplish, individually and collectively.