Peace Scholars – 2013

Every year, students from six different undergraduate colleges (Augsburg College, Augustana College, Concordia College, Luther College, and Pacific Lutheran University) are selected as Peace Scholars and awarded participation in a summer learning seminar in Norway. The program is designed to deepen their understanding of issues related to peace, justice, democracy, and human rights. Two additional graduate students are selected from the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs. The winning candidates are announced each year during the Nobel Peace Prize Forum after a rigorous application process. The Peace Scholar Program is supported by a generous gift from Ms. Liv Dahl.

Cate Anderson, Luther College

Cate Anderson is a senior studying History and French at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Originally from New Ulm, Minnesota, she spent her spring 2013 semester in Grenoble, France and is beyond excited to have the opportunity to study in Oslo for the summer. Her interests include cooking new recipes, attending Decorah’s poetry slams, and traveling on a shoestring. At Luther, she puts on a weekly radio show, has sung in various choirs, and is part of a new college branch of the Children’s Radio Foundation, which connects community youth with youth in South Africa through the creation of radio programming.

Cate’s academic interests at Luther have centered around a common theme of trying to understand what is behind neighbor-to-neighbor conflict. Springing from work done as a research assistant for a Luther faculty member, she has been most recently interested in the power of narrative in creating both misunderstanding and understanding. She is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to study dialogue among fellow students from the Midwest and around the world. (Scholarship funding by: Luther College)  

Bruno Correa, Pacific Lutheran University 

Bruno Correa is a sophomore and Global Studies major at Pacific Lutheran University with a strong interest in the fields of international development, politics, and peace/conflict studies. Last fall he spent the semester in China studying language and culture, and after graduating in two short years he hopes to spend more time abroad exploring (and hopefully helping!) the world, possibly with the Peace Corps. Bruno was born in Montevideo, Uruguay and can speak Spanish and English.

Bruno loves playing the drums and Djing/mixing as a hobby, and also really enjoys scary movies, video games, and of course, peace-making! His favorite color is green. Bruno is very excited and lucky to get to spend the summer in Norway with the coolest cats…the Peace Scholars, and learn/discuss peace in such a beautiful country/setting. It is going to be truly amazing. Bruno hopes to someday be either a famous musician, producer, druid, or space explorer, all while promoting peace. (Scholarship funding by: Pacific Lutheran University)

Nikolaj Hagen, Concordia College 

Nikolaj Hagen is currently a junior studying Political Science and Scandinavian Studies at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. When not doing schoolwork, he is busy being co-president of the Concordia history honors society (Phi Alpha Theta) and competing on the Cobber track and field team as a multi-eventer.

Raised in the small town of Osakis, MN, Nikolaj is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Denmark and spent a year at a boarding school in South Jutland (Sønderylland). He is extremely excited to get another opportunity to study in Scandinavia and meet fellow students with a passion for peacemaking. After college, Nikolaj plans to either enter graduate school in international relations or work in Scandinavia until he figures out what to do with the rest of his life. (Scholarship funding by: Smaby Family Trust)

Mallory Schulte, Augustana College 

Mallory Schulte is a native of Yankton, SD and the eldest daughter of Robert and Elaine Schulte. Mallory is happiest when spending time with siblings Abby and Ryan, and of course, boyfriend Ryan, too.

As a senior at Augustana College, Schulte is majoring in Government/International Affairs and Economics with a minor in Mathematics. Schulte is an active member of the Augustana community by serving as the Governor of Culture and Fine Arts and President of the Women’s Association.

After Augustana, she plans to pursue a degree in public affairs and a PhD in maternal/child health. Schulte hopes to build a career around changing the childcare system in the United States through conversations, research, advocacy, and policy innovation. (Scholarship funding by: Augustana College)

Alexandra Hjerpe, Augustana College 

Alexandra Hjerpe ’14 studies English and journalism at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota–with which she hopes to be a crisis photojournalist, and primarily, a good human being. With a love for reading, writing and sharing stories, Alexandra serves as Editor in Chief of the Edda yearbook, and uses photography and journalism to preserve the beauty, history, identity and culture of her community. The Minnesota native loves spending time with her super-tall family, trying new foods, reading graphic novels, cuddling puppies, and sharing honest and intellectually stimulating conversation with friends. Alexandra is passionate about the possibilities of peace and reconciliation dialogue through literature, especially the topics of gender violence, native rights and identity, and Autism/ASD spectrum culture. Returning from living on the Navajo reservation in Arizona USA last summer and studying abroad in northern India over interim, Alexandra is honored and excited for the next opportunity to travel, study, and share stories with the Peace Scholars Program in Oslo, Norway this summer! (Scholarship funding by: Augustana College)

Anastasia Young, Concordia College 

Anastasia Young is a senior at Concordia College in Moorhead Minnesota double majoring in nursing and religion. Anastasia is originally from Butte, Montana. Anastasia has found herself deeply engaged in leadership roles focused around faith, and loves engaging with her peers in theological conversations. After a semester abroad to India, Anastasia has cultivated a passion for interfaith cooperation and serves will be serving her second term as an Interfaith Scholar for Concordia, as well as co-president of Better Together, an interfaith organization on campus. As Anastasia discerns her vocation, she hopes to find a way to merge her twin vocations of interfaith cooperation and healing into one. Anastasia is looking forward to her time in Norway to further explore how peacemaking, interfaith cooperation, and healing can work together to make our world a more just place for all. (Scholarship funding by: Smaby Family Trust)

Maggie Steinberg, Luther College 

Maggie Steinberg is a junior studying Political Science and Religion at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. A native of Portland, Oregon, Maggie has spent her summers jet-setting across the country to work at an environmental learning camp in Finland, Minnesota. At Luther, Maggie sang for two years in two different women’s choruses. As a Junior, she is a member of Luther’s Student Senate as a Junior Class Representative and is working to increase the reach of student organizations around campus.

She loves to read and have late night discussions with her friends about various issues around the world and at home. After her internship in the House of Representatives in January, Maggie realized the power of all the things that get done at a local level, even when national attention is diverted to larger problems. Change does not need to be sweeping to be effective, and a group of committed people has the ability to enact that change. After graduation, Maggie hopes to use her skills from the Peace Scholars program to work for a humanitarian non-profit or work as a staffer for her Representative. (Scholarship funding by: Center for Ethics and Public Life at Luther College

Mirwais Wakil, St. Olaf College

Mirwais Wakil was born and raised in Afghanistan and is a current Austrian citizen. Mirwais is triple majoring in economics, political science and studio art at St.Olaf. His main interests are human rights law and humanitarian law, connected to the good old morality and self-interest of states. Mirwais is currently writing a memoir strictly related to the political, economic and social importance of a human’s birthplace and its effects on the individual. Mirwais believes in equity and peace, hoping that one day the devastating inhuman conflicts will stop forever. He hopes to use his time in Norway to make connections with some of the most effective non-governmental organizations for human rights. (Scholarship funding by: The Philip C. Smaby Peace Scholars Endowed Scholarship

Marit Aaseng, St. Olaf College  

Marit Aaseng studies Studio Art and Psychology at St. Olaf College, graduating with the class of 2014. Embracing the philosophy of the liberal arts, she hopes to combine these academic interests with her passion for human rights advocacy through arts-based community building and conflict resolution. Her work with Amnesty International student groups, Residence Life at St. Olaf, and various summer camps have shown her how awareness, advocacy and art bring people together. When she’s not engrossed in these activities, Marit enjoys playing piano and viola, swimming, baking, reading, camping, and (of course) traveling.

As her name reflects, Marit has a strong Norwegian heritage – 100% in fact. Born in Utah, but raised in Minnesota, she is incredibly excited about being immersed in the land of her ancestors this summer. She is even more enthusiastic about engaging in cultural dialogue with people from all around the world. As a Peace Scholar she hopes to come to a better understanding of the world in order to help make positive change within it. (Scholarship funding by: The Ella and Kaare Nygaard Foundation

Esme Marie, St. Olaf College

Esme Marie is a rising senior at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, with a major in Political Science and a concentration in Middle Eastern Studies. At St. Olaf she has been expanding upon her interest in culture and her passion for language by taking on Arabic, which led to extended stays in Tunisia and Jordan, as well as a semester at the Faculty for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Basel, Switzerland. Early exposure to the repercussions of violent conflict through involvement in a refugee support group spurred Esme’s interest in peace studies, and the hope to gain insight into the cause and effect of forced migration. She is especially interested in learning more about the role of dialogue and intercultural hermeneutics in the peace process during her summer in Oslo. She is also looking forward to visiting the country of her heritage and getting in some great hiking. (Scholarship funding by: The Ella and Kaare Nygaard Foundation)

Rachel Novacek, Augsburg College 

Rachel Novacek is a sophomore at Augsburg College majoring in International Relations and Cross-Cultural Studies with a focus on the Nordic countries and minoring in Spanish, Norwegian, and Peace and Global Studies. Rachel spent the previous semester studying at Uppsala University in Sweden where she completed her long time goal of studying an indigenous language: Northern Sámi. This goal formed from her interest in understanding the oppression and the struggle for rights of minorities, especially indigenous peoples. After coming back to Minnesota she was able to share this experience while volunteering as a docent at The American Swedish Institute in an exhibit about the Sámi People. When not at school or work, Rachel enjoys spending time at her church working with young volunteers to put on church events such as dinners, retreats, and camps and watching these young people find a passion in helping others.

Since coming to Augsburg College, Rachel has become involved with and immensely inspired by the Nobel Peace Prize Forum, one of the driving factors in pushing her to become a Peace Scholar. As a student studying cultural studies and languages, she is extremely excited to take part in the Peace Prize Seminar and to be able to better understand how culture and language play into peace making and conflict resolution. Rachel is not entirely sure of her future career plans but after graduation hopes to spend at least some time teaching English as a second language. (Scholarship funding by: Smaby Family Scholarship)

Yemissrach (Yemi) Melka, Augsburg College 

An international student from Ethiopia, Yemissrach (Yemi) Melka is currently a sophomore at Augsburg College studying Chemistry and political science. She served as an Honors House President her freshmen year and currently serves as the Supplemental Instructor (SI) for the General Chemistry course offered annually. Yemi is actively involved in the International Students Organizations where she serves as a communications officers and orientation assistant. During her stay in Norway, Yemi seeks to get an understanding of the peaceful applications of science. She plans to study methods in which science can be used in contributing to global peace and security by engaging in conversations about peace and conflict. Yemi hopes to either pursue a MA in public policy or a law degree upon graduation. Yemi enjoys meeting new people and engaging in thoughtful conversations. Later in her career, Yemi hopes to work with international organizations and use her knowledge to contribute to the peace of her community and the world at large. (Scholarship funding by: Augsburg College)

Marie-Aimée Ntawukulityayo, Augsburg College 

Marie-Aimée Ntawukulityayo is a junior at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, majoring in International Relations. She is originally from Rwanda and grew up in Belgium. This fall she intends to intern abroad in London for a non-profit organization. After graduating in the spring of 2014, Marie-Aimée hopes to work in the field of sustainable development or human rights and conflict resolution in Rwanda or any other country in Africa. Marie-Aimée believes that she will play a major role as a global citizen in advocating for peace, human rights, justice and sustainable development.

In addition to her academic and career pursuits, Marie-Aimée is passionate about traveling, Traditional Rwandan Dance, and music. She is absolutely thrilled by the opportunity to study peace and international issues as a 2013 Peace Scholar! (Scholarship funding by: Augsburg College)

Buay Jacob Tut (J.B), St. Olaf College

tutBuay Jacob Tut (J.B) was born in South Sudan and since immigrating to the United States under Refugee Asylum status; has attained dual citizenship of South Sudan and the United States. J.B’s cross-cultural background and experiences have instilled in him a passion for human and civil rights activism. A summer as a Hubbard Fellow at the University of Iowa College of Law and time studying abroad in South Africa and Namibia have further fueled his passion for human and civil rights activism. A Political Science and Psychology major with a Management Studies concentration, J.B. plans to one day use his education to help establish schools and provide education in South Sudan for the youth who so desperately need it. His short time in South Sudan really made him eager to learn more about the many different ways to advocate for and fight against human and civil rights violations.

At St. Olaf College, you can find J.B. playing football, running track & field, or huddled over a cup of tea marveling at the latest TED Talk, or volunteering as a Youth Flag football coach for Northfield Community Education. J.B. eagerly awaits the summer program: “this is what it means to be a true scholar; to go beyond the walls of the classroom and learn about the world.” (Scholarship funding by: The Philip C. Smaby Peace Scholars Endowed Scholarship)

Anna McCracken, Pacific Lutheran University 

Anna McCracken will be a senior at Pacific Lutheran University, majoring in Anthropology and Global Studies, with a concentration in international responses to violence and conflict. She is from Spanaway, WA and recently spent the fall semester of 2012 studying in Durban, South Africa. Anna enjoys playing on the Reign Women’s Frisbee team at PLU and being a part of the Outdoor Recreation student club. After graduating from PLU next spring, she hopes to spend a year enjoying life and spending some time working for a volunteer organization, before heading into a Master’s program in Reconciliation and Peace Studies. Anna enjoys spending time with friends and family, trying new restaurants and cuisines, exploring the great Pacific Northwest, and laughing! She is ecstatic and so very thankful for this opportunity and can’t wait for what lies ahead! (Scholarship funding by: Pacific Lutheran University)