*By Jacob Walls
Executive Director and Executive Vice President of the Board for the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights - US Foundation (OCUSF) Orlyn Kringstad will lead a discussion on how Somalia's extensive international diaspora can contribute to the rebuilding of Somalia through the education, skills and experience gained abroad on May 5th from 2-4 in the Cowles Auditorium. You can click here to register for the free event.
OCUSF is working on a number of initiatives under the umbrella concept of "Bridging the Somali Diaspora." One of the initiatives that Mr. Kringstad will be working on during his fellowship will be "Bridging the Somali Diaspora--Sustainability: How Best Practices Can Be Documented and Retained." Through this initiative and potential student involvement, OCUSF will work to develop a repository of information and research on the processes of diaspora involvement in revitalizing and rebuilding nations with the hope that that work can then be applied to other situations concerning vulnerable states.
Joining Mr. Kringstad in the May 5th Forum will be Former Prime Minister of Norway and Founder and President of the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights, Kjell Magne Bondevik. PM Bondevik and the Oslo Center in Norway (OCN) have worked to promote democracy, dialogue for peace, and human rights in vulnerable states and frail democracies such as Somalia, Kenya, Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan.
Some of OCN's work includes working with government officials to train executive governments and ministries in the intricacies of sharing power, building consensus, and ultimately building a sustainable coalition democracy. Whereas OCN operates at the higher levels of government, OCUSF works at the grass roots level to build support for the on-the-ground international work of OCN.
Mr. Kringstad will facilitate a panel discussion with:
Director, Islamic Law and Human Rights Project
Law School, University of Minnesota
Executive Director, Somali Justice Advocacy Center
2010-2011 CIL Executive Leadership Fellow
Candidate for Master of Public Policy
Community Engagement Chair, Black Graduate and Professional Students Association
I first met Orlyn Kringstad in a bilateral and multilateral diplomacy course taught by Dean J. Brian Atwood. Mr. Kringstad had been invited to speak about track two diplomacy and the use of dialogue in resolving conflict, specifically mentioning Somalia as part of his work. I began working with OC-USF as a way to expand on my existing knowledge and work with the Somali community in Minneapolis.
As an intern for OCUSF and simultaneously a student of human rights, I have learned a lot about the different levels and forms of engagement that human rights organizations can engage in to make a real difference on issues of concern and import. From track-two diplomacy to providing virtual learning in the classroom, the work of OCUSF and OCN is an important part of the human rights landscape and an exciting addition to the Center for Integrative Leadership.
The Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights - U.S. Foundation is a non-profit peace and human rights organization based in Minnesota that works cooperatively with the Oslo Center in Norway to promote peace and justice both locally and globally. Click here to read more about the Oslo Center--US Foundation and its relationship with the Oslo Center in Norway.
*Jacob Walls is an intern with the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights--US Foundation and Master of Public Policy candidate at the Hubert H Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Minor of Human Rights--University of Minnesota, Human Rights Program