DECORAH, Iowa — Luther College juniors Kim Chham and Levi Bird have been selected as Peace Scholars for the 2019-20 academic year. The pair will spend six weeks studying peace and dialogue in Lillehammer and Oslo, Norway.
Luther is one of six colleges founded by Norwegian-American immigrants in the 19th century that participate in the annual summer Peace Scholars program in Norway. The program, an outgrowth of the Nobel Peace Prize Forum held in Minneapolis, is designed to deepen students' understanding of the central issues and theories regarding conflict, war and peace.
After an application and interview process, students selected for the Peace Scholars program will study in Norway from June 14 to July 31. Scholars begin their studies in Lillehammer, at the Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue for five days. During their time at Nansen, students are participant-observers in structured dialogue sessions with students from the Balkans and Ukraine.
The program continues at the University of Oslo's International Summer School, where students participate in a course of their choice and the Peace Scholars Seminar. This rigorous academic course introduces interdisciplinary peace studies, exploring their theoretical and empirical aspects.
During their stay in Norway, students are required to blog regularly about their studies and experiences. Access to the blogs will be available through peacescholars.wordpress.com. When the Peace Scholars return to the U.S., they are asked to play a leadership role in peace activities on their home campuses.
Kim Chham '21
Kim Chham, daughter of Kimhour Orm and Sin Chham of Cambodia, is a 2016 graduate of United World College of Southeast Asia. She plans to graduate in 2021 with a degree in international studies with a peace studies track.
Chham, who is currently studying away in Malta for the semester, shared her excitement for the program and the opportunity to meet other young people with a shared passion.
"I am looking forward to learning more about peacebuilding methods, especially dialogue. I hope to learn more about myself regarding my place in this field, where I can apply my strengths most effectively and look for areas of growth to become a more well-rounded peacebuilder," said Chham.
Levi Bird '21
Levi Bird, son of Sarah and Jeremy Bird of Muscoda, Wisconsin, is a 2017 graduate of Riverdale High School. He plans to graduate in 2021 with a degree in Nordic studies and a minor in writing.
Bird says he has been looking forward to returning to Norway and that becoming a Peace Scholar fulfills many of his dreams for the future.
"I can't express how much of a privilege it is for me to have this opportunity for growth, and I can't wait to bring back what I've learned to Luther's campus to help foster transformative dialogue on campus," said Bird.
Luther College is home to more than 1,900 undergraduates who explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 60+ academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at luther.edu.