Gjerset Lecture: Rachel Peterson

In "Barnets beste: Growing Up in Norway," Rachel Peterson, Luther College class of 2004, explores childhood, children's rights and her own personal upbringing in Norway in the seventh annual Luther College Knut Gjerset lecture. Peterson's lecture will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 6, in the Center for Faith and Life Recital Hall on the Luther campus.

A reception will follow the lecture in Qualley Lounge of the Center for Faith and Life. The lecture and reception are open to the public with no charge for admission.  

Although she did not spend her childhood in Norway, Peterson explains that the nine years she lived and worked in Norway truly shaped who she is today. In her lecture, Peterson will explore her "adult upbringing" in Norway and what childhood is like for children living in Norway today.

Peterson was born in Minneapolis and raised in Duluth, Minnesota. After spending a year as an exchange student in Norway at age 17, she attended Luther, where she studied anthropology and sociology. After graduating from Luther, Peterson set her course for Norway and earned a master's degree in Peace and Conflict studies from the Centre for Peace Studies at the University of Tromsø.

            After completing her degree, Peterson worked as regional director for Save the Children in Norway for six years before returning to Minnesota in 2013. She has worked as program manager for the Nobel Peace Prize Forum and as program director at Norway House in Minneapolis. She is currently self-employed, doing consulting work in the nonprofit sector.

The lecture, sponsored by Luther's Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Linguistics, honors former Luther Professor Knut Gjerset. Gjerset served as a professor of history and Norwegian at Luther from 1902 to his retirement in 1934.

Gjerset worked as curator of the collection that would later become the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum. He held the titles Knight of the First Class of St. Olav from the Norwegian Government and Knight of the Icelandic Order of the Falcon from King Christian X of Iceland.            

Since its founding in 1861, Luther has been heavily steeped in the roots of its Norwegian founders. From Norwegian treats in the Admissions office to visits from Norwegian royalty, Luther remains dedicated to engaging with its cultural heritage and educating both students and the community on Norwegian culture and history.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,150, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: http://www.luther.edu.

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