Peace Scholars

Six colleges founded by Norwegian-American immigrants sponsor an annual summer Peace Scholars program in Norway, designed to deepen students’ understanding of the central issues and theories regarding conflict, war and peace. Through an application and interview process, students from Augsburg, Augustana (Sioux Falls), Concordia (Moorhead), Luther, Pacific Lutheran, and St. Olaf are selected as Peace Scholars and awarded a seven-week academic experience held in Lillehammer and Oslo, Norway.

The Peace Scholars program is an outgrowth of the Nobel Peace Prize Forum, an annual event held in Minneapolis that inspires students and other citizens to become active participants in peacemaking efforts around the world. Begun in 1988 by Luther and four other colleges, the Nobel Peace Prize Forum is the Norwegian Nobel Institute’s only such program or academic affiliation outside of Norway.

Academic Coursework

The 2014 program begins with four days at the Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue in Lillehammer, where Peace Scholars will be participant-observers in structured dialogue sessions with students from the Balkans/Caucasus regions. 

The program continues at the Oslo International Summer School (ISS) where students will participate in a Peace Scholars Seminar, a rigorous academic course that provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of peace and conflict studies and combines theoretical and empirical aspects. As part of the seminar, students will be expected to develop a research project in consultation with the course leader. 

Because Norway is known in the international community for its leadership role in advocating cooperation and the peaceful resolution of conflict, the Peace Scholars Seminar will include visits to several peace organizations and institutions in Norway, including the International Peace Research Institute, the Nobel Institute, and the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights. Scholars will also take an ISS course of his or her own choosing with other international students.  Course offerings include Norwegian language, culture, or international politics. At the successful conclusion of the program, the Peace Scholars will receive academic credit for two courses.

Award

The Peace Scholars program is competitive, and those selected to participate will be awarded a scholarship (valued at nearly $6,000) that covers the Lillehammer and Oslo program and all ISS program fees, including academic credit, room, and board. Luther students will also be given $500 to assist with the cost of their round-trip airfare to Oslo. Personal expenses, books, and supplies are not covered.

Expectations

  • Applicants must commit to the full program dates: June 14 to July 31, 2015
  • Attend the 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Forum in Minneapolis. The purpose of the first is to be introduced and to attend a brief orientation session for the Peace Scholars program. The purpose of attending the second Forum is to network with the newly-appointed scholars. The dates of the 2015 Forum are March 6-8.
  • Blog regularly during the Peace Scholar experience in Norway
  • Formally share one's Peace Scholar learning experience in two venues during Fall 2015, either on campus or in one's home community
  • Play a leadership role in peace activities on one’s campus and community
  • Assist in promoting the Peace Scholars program and the upcoming Nobel Peace Prize Forum
  • Assist in other aspects of the Nobel Peace Prize Forum such as hosting and introducing speakers or other opportunities provided by the Forum staff

Criteria and Application Process

The application deadline is January 30, 2015.  Scholars will be named by mid-February.  

Application materials should be sent to Dr. Terry Sparkes, Associate Dean, sparkete@luther.edu.

  • Open to full-time sophomore or junior students
  • Strong academic record
  • 1,000 word essay (maximum) addressed to the Peace Scholars Selection Committee. The essay should articulate one’s interest in being a Peace Scholar, including how the experience would connect with one’s academic and vocational interests and goals.
  • Two letters of recommendation—one from a faculty member and the second from either a faculty or staff member
  • Resume
  • Official Transcript
  • Interview (finalists)

For More Information

For more information about the logistics for the Peace Scholars program, contact Jon Lund, Executive Director, Center for Global Learning. For more information about the application and selection process, contact Terry Sparkes, Associate Dean.

Recent Luther College Peace Scholars

Each year, Luther chooses two scholars as representatives in the Peace Scholar program held in Lillehammer and Oslo, Norway. Get to know our most recent Peace Scholars!

2015

Emily Holm '16
Emily Holm '16

Emily Holm is a rising senior studying religion with minors in mathematics and computer science.  Though these subjects seem unrelated at surface level, Emily is passionate about these fields of study because of their shared problem-solving aspects and considers herself a problem-solver as well. She is especially interested in religious conflict-resolution, which often involves religious discrimination and the challenging nature of interfaith dialogue. These interests have led her to specific research in Islamophobia and Christian exclusivism.

At Luther, Emily works in the Web-Content department and is involved in College Ministries. She also enjoys volunteering, working with children, and camp counseling. After her time in Norway, Emily will travel directly to Seattle, WA to intern at Kids4Peace, an interfaith summer camp for Christian, Jewish, and Muslim students. The camp seeks to foster interfaith understanding and create a worldwide environment of mutual respect, and is a perfect place for Emily to turn her new peacemaking knowledge into action. All in all, Emily is confident that this summer will forever change her worldview and lead her towards a lifetime of problem-solving and peacemaking.

Katie Kovacovich is a rising senior social work major with a concentration in environmental studies and a minor in music. She thinks of these disciplines as related and influential to each other in multiple aspects, and likes to take a holistic approach to all of her learning experiences. At Luther she is the President of Active Minds, which empowers students to change the perception of mental health. Katie is also on Student Senate and serves as the head of the Student Leadership Committee. Additionally, she is student representative on the Honors Advisory Committee, sings in the Collegiate Chorale, and dances with the student-led group, Orchesis. Outside of the Luther community she volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate where she advocates for children in abuse and neglect juvenile court cases.

In her future, Katie hopes to work with older youth from difficult backgrounds, largely inspired by her past work as a camp counselor. She also hopes to do policy work for prison system reform and issues of environmental justice. She is confident that her work with the Peace Scholar program will give her incredible insight and growth in areas of peace and community, and help her further discover ways in which this can be applied to even the smallest aspects of an individuals life. She hopes to make connections with people from all over the world, and be inspired and empowered toward life-long goals of international peace and conflict resolution.

2014

Imsouchivy
Imsouchivy "G.V." Suos and Anna Jeide

Anna Jeide is a junior majoring in English and Spanish with a minor in Religion, but considers herself a student of many disciplines. At Luther, Anna works for Chips as an editor, volunteers as an ESL instructor with immigrant families through the Spanish service organization Enlaces, and sings in choir. She believes in the healing power of coffee and walking in the woods in Decorah.

Through the Peace Scholars program, Anna has come to believe that the best place to start planting peace is right in her own backyard. We need  to understand ourselves in the context of our own community before we can understand others. She hopes to continue engaging in dialogue and building peaceful relationships at Luther, in her hometown of Wayzata, Minnesota, and wherever she lands after graduation.

Imsouchivy Suos (G.V.), an international student originally from Phnom Penh, Cambodia, is a senior at Luther College working toward an economics and business management double major, with a minor in international management studies. G.V. graduated from three different high schools, one of them being the United World College in Hong Kong. He has extensive international experience as he has traveled, studied, volunteered, and worked in more than 40 countries in the past six years. G.V. has a deep interest in economic development and international affairs, especially human rights issues.

At Luther, G.V. has served as a resident assistant and was recently promoted to assistant hall director of the Farwell residence hall. He also puts on a weekly radio show at the college radio station, KWLC, works for the Luther photo bureau, and has interned with the communications and marketing department. G.V. also serves as a leader in student organizations such as Paigaam and Aynah. During his sophomore year, G.V. completed a study abroad program in Malta, where he volunteered as an English teacher at Red Cross open refugee centers. G.V. is also known as an avid international street/travel photographer who has held variety of exhibitions and publications in various media. G.V. has developed a deep understanding about international issues and is looking forward to returning to serve his community, his country, and the world as a global citizen.

2013

Cate Anderson
Cate Anderson

Cate Anderson received the scholarship as a junior studying History and French, with minors in Writing and International Studies. Originally from New Ulm, Minnesota, she spent Spring 2013 semester in Grenoble, France, studying French language and culture. Her interests include cooking new recipes, attending poetry slams, and traveling on a shoestring. At Luther, she put on a weekly radio show, sang in various choirs, and interned for the Development Office.

Cate’s academic interests at Luther 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 was most interested in the power of narrative in creating both misunderstanding and understanding.

Maggie Steinberg
Maggie Steinberg

Maggie Steinberg received the scholarship as a sophomore studying political science and religion. 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 member of Luther’s Student Senate she 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, 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. 

2012

Clara Bergan
Clara Bergan

Clara Bergan received the scholarship as a junior studying Environmental Policy and Art. Having truly embraced the collegiate liberal arts experience, Clara was often to be found in Luther’s Sustainability House, Center for the Arts, or Valders Hall of Science. Clara loves sampling fresh garden salsa, operating steam engines, knitting mittens, and drinking coffee amongst good conversation. Clara is confident that grassroots efforts can make a difference and remains hopeful in the face of issues she is passionate about, like children’s mental health disorders and climate change policy. Someday she hopes to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail, live off-the-grid and share her passion for sustainable living with others.

Luke Hanson
Luke Hanson

Luke Hanson received the scholarship as a junior majoring in International Studies. Along with his time in Oslo, he studied sustainable development in Jaipur, India, for a semester. After graduating in the spring 2014, Luke hopes to work in the vast field of international development or poverty relief.

In addition to his academic and career pursuits, Luke is passionate about biking, hiking, traveling, and exploring, whether in foreign countries or in the scenic bluffs around Decorah. At Luther, Luke has played cello in the Symphony Orchestra, sung baritone in the Nordic Choir, and represented on Student Senate, and works with a student-led non-profit organization called Aynah.

2011

Thato Masire and Lauren Griffin
Thato Masire and Lauren Griffin

Lauren Griffin, a native of Plymouth, Minnesota, received the scholarship as a junior majoring in sociology with a minor in women and gender studies. She is interested in a number of different aspects of peacemaking, especially immigration, interfaith dialogue, women’s issues, and conflict resolution.

Thato Masire received the scholarship as a junior with a double major in communication studies and business management. Thato strongly believes that because the world is becoming increasingly smaller due to forces such as the internet and globalization, making cross-cultural communications more important than ever. With regard to peacemaking, Thato is interested in efforts to achieve peace through continuous dialogue and education. As a communications studies major, he focused on a solid platform of dialogue to prevent or resolve conflict along with working with the strong correlation between education and peacemaking.