The Nobel Peace Prize Forum is an annual event that inspires students and other citizens to become active participants in peacemaking efforts around the world. For 23 years it has been the Norwegian Nobel Institute's only such program or academic affiliation outside of Norway. The 2012 Nobel Peace Prize Forum took place March 1-3 in Minneapolis, on the campuses of Augsburg College and the University of Minnesota.
What did attendees from the College of Design have to say about their experience?
"The event granted me the opportunity to look at the world outside my community and reflect how I can promote peace, prosperity, and human dignity through my actions in my own community."
- Jim Pankratz, Housing Studies undergraduate
"I was impressed by the quality of speakers and the organization of events. By the end of Saturday, I was inspired, frustrated, and hopeful. I was inspired by the amount of people willing to change the world but I was frustrated by the things we've done."
"My favorite part was the final speaker who talked about the Harry Potter Alliance. I absolutely adored his talk! I am an avid fantasy fan, and I was so looking forward to hearing him talk. It was rather different than I expected, but the power that one book series and its fans was amazing. I found his talk incredibly inspiring and exciting."
- Savanna Moen, Apparel Design undergraduate
"Dessa (local rapper and writer) spoke about the importance of taking steps to make peace and how what you do at a young age matters. She told the kids that what you do now as a person matters and that they are "on the clock." The things you do now, good or bad, are the things that shape who you are and are the experiences you will reflect on later in life and throughout...I also enjoyed the keynote speech by former president de Klerk; it's always great to see such luminaries in person. It was an amazing event. Thank you very much for the support! I will look forward to next year's event."
- Wade Stebbings, Design MFA student
"The first speaker was F.W. de Klerk, former president of South Africa in the midst of Apartheid. I had never been in the presence of a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, so that alone was a treat, but what was really special was the chance to get inside his head a little, to hear his experiences, but also his thought process: what kinds of ideas and perspectives motivate a leader to make a radical paradigm shift in a time of change (and very high stakes). De Klerk seemed to be driven by a strong knowledge of history and evolution, of how economies and culture drive change, as well as a shrewd sense for "windows" of opportunity, when the time was right to make a decisive move. While I was encouraged by this example of deep thinking and strong sense of purpose in a politician, I was also struck by how antiquated de Klerk's worldview felt from my perspective as a future design professional. What I mean by this is that de Klerk's worldview was highly effective in reading meaning from the complex situations he presided in, but the problems like global warming and massive population migrations we face today require new frameworks to address. In short, de Klerk was one kind of highly effective leader, but we now need a new generation to take up where he left off."
- Niko Kubota, Architecture graduate student, participate in our partner program with Architecture for Humanity in Haiti
"The Nobel Peace Prize Forum was profoundly moving and gave me a deeper appreciation for the cost of peace. I was inspired by the knowledge and courage the speakers had in order to be a part of change that leads to more peaceful communities. I was surprised to learn that all dramatic shifts in cultures and societies are the direct result of changes in our environment, climate, demographics, and technology. I'm looking forward to the next series of Nobel Peace Prize Forums in 2013!"
- Tiffany Thayer, Student Services staff
"I was impressed by insightful questions posed at the end of the conference day. Does social networking have the capacity to cause change through widespread educational reach, or are we just mindlessly clicking things? What about social and economic barriers to the Internet? How does the relationship between education, social networking, and generational differences affect the ability to cause change? I think we are in the processes of searching for answers to those questions right now, and it's good to continue to be aware of them going forward."
- Kelsey Reinke, Architecture undergraduate
"I was so happy to have the opportunity to attend those sessions at the conference last week. First, hearing Adam Hochschild talk and then to sit in a workshop with him later that afternoon, was such an inspiring opportunity. Hungry for more, I purchased his book King Leopold's Ghost on my kindle app so that I could dive right into his writing without having to take the time to go to a book store or wait for a delivery by mail. I can't stop reading the thing.
At the workshop I also met a WW II Vet who described his shifting world view that now brings him to very different conclusions about war. We exchanged information and I just received some memoirs he's been developing. I hope for more exchanges with him in the future."
- Chris Schlichting, Academic Adviser