Peace Scholar Post: “The Power of Being Together” by Anna McCracken

The Power of Being Together

During my time in Norway, I have constantly found myself in awe of the fact that I get to learn and spend time with so many people from so many different places. It is incredible and I often wonder what the world would be like if everyone had the opportunity to meet just one person from a place completely different from his/her own.

In a recent conversation with a friend of mine here at school from Pakistan, we talked of how many things could change for the better, both big and small, if people could sit down with each other and truly listen to where the other is coming from. To hear someone’s story, try to understand a bit of his/her culture, and maybe see to some extent where they are coming from. As we sat over lunch my friend began to tell me about his perspective coming from Pakistan and how people are longing to be listened to, longing to be understood. It was at that moment that I wished everyone could have had the opportunity to hear what he had to say. Dialogue, though often seen as a “fluffy” form of peace building, in my opinion is the most important of all.

In this lunchtime conversation and in other experiences here in Norway, I have been reminded of what a gift it is to have something like the Nobel Peace Prize Forum. At the Forum people from all over the world are brought to one place, to discuss, to share their story, and to grown in their understanding and acceptance of others. The more that we are able to bring people together, to chat, to laugh, to play, to dance, or to have a deep discussion on big issues, the better our world will be. I really don’t think one can ever listen too much, at least that is what I have learned here over many lunches and discussions with the most inspirational people I have ever met.

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