How do you take a person long dead and make her relevant to today? “She had radical ideas, everybody loved being with her, and she believed in the power of change,” Anne Synnøve Simensen explained. Having spent a good part of the last few years studying Bertha von Suttner, Simensen would know. To say she is enthusiastic about this first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize would be an understatement.
More than a century ago, the ability of women to make a dramatic impact on the world stage was markedly limited. Yet, Bertha von Suttner changed her own life’s plan and then proceeded to change Alfred Nobel’s death plan.
How might young women and men of today steal a page from Bertha’s remarkable playbook? This Oslo coffee table was vibrating with 21st Century ideas. And Becky Norvang of the American College of Norway had some of the best I’ve heard in some time. Why not max out today’s technology? Why not create a worldwide student conversation? Why not use the 25th Nobel Peace Prize Forum as the culmination of that conversation? Good questions. Why not?
Maureen K. Reed, MD
Nobel Peace Prize Forum
If you read Norwegian and want to learn more about the origins of the Nobel Peace Prize, we recommend Bertha and Alfred: The Story Behind the Peace Prize (by Anne Synnøve Simensen).