The Possibilities of a Thoughtful Journey
My expectations and ambitions for this summer were set high at the Noble Peace Prize Forum at Augsburg College, in St. Paul, Minnesota. Hearing Tawakkol Karman; Mother to the Arab spring movement, and Muhammad Yunus speak passionately about their work in advancing peace and equality around the world, really set the tone for this summer experience. As Muhammad Yunus; the Father of micro-financing and micro-economics stated “I did not study economics, I simply saw an issue and attempted to solve it, using the information I had available and the best way I knew and saw fit.”
On this day, 3 months later, the Peace Scholars and I find ourselves at the Norwegian Noble Institute, in the same room where the deliberation and selection of the Noble Peace Prize recipient is announced. It is a tremendous joy to sit in the room where great human beings the likes of Martin Luther King jr, Nelson Mandela, Barrack Obama, and Kofi Annan were deemed Noble Peace Prize Nominees. I have definitely seen last year’s theme (“The Power of Ideas: People, and Peace”) play out in my short time here. As one of my all-time favorite Noble Peace Prize recipient Nelson Mandela stated “We must forever realize the time is always ripe to do right.”
As I walk down the streets of central Oslo, with its eloquent, sophisticated shops; centered around a resilient emphasis on natural beauty; I find a quaint outdoor café, where I sit and sip my first cup of Scandinavian coffee, and indulge in one of my favorite pastime; people watching. With the first full week of academic, personal, and social orientation to this beautiful city, and to our courses winding down, I find myself in a state of peaceful, reflection, and disbelief to this reality. The reality that I am more than 5,000 miles away from home. As a first generation college student refugee from South Sudan, I could never have imagined this possible.