During J-Term 2020, 243 students and 26 program leaders will participate in one of Luther's 14 courses around the globe. Each course is a different journey and has a different blogger (or several). Below you'll find a blog post from the Paideia 450 course "Ethical Challenges in Twenty-First Century Norway" course. Check out the January Term 2020 Course Blogs page for more on each of the courses! Although it's impossible to keep up with everyone, these blogs are designed to provide glimpses into our students' adventures.
Hei Hei! We are all having an incredible time as we learn and explore in Norway! While traveling from Oslo to Lillehammer to Bergen, we have been studying the “Ethical Challenges in Contemporary Norway.” For our Paideia 450 course, we have to explore the ethical challenges of a system through a research paper. In Norway, we are focusing on 3 ethical challenges: environmental sustainability, immigration, and urbanization. Our class has made many site visits and met with numerous people who have spoken with us about these challenges facing Norway today. Everyone is writing a paper on these topics, so here are some of the ideas we are writing about!
For the environmental sustainability component, I am writing about the successful oil and gas industry that drives the Norwegian economy, yet causes fossil fuel emissions to be released into our environment. This poses an ethical dilemma of profit versus sustainability. While Norway profits from the oil and gas sector, it is also a country that values environmental sustainability. Norway gets its energy from hydropower, which is a renewable resource. In Oslo specifically, citizens have moved toward driving electric vehicles and utilizing public transportation.
In Lillehammer, we had the opportunity to converse with adult immigrants and immigrant students. One of my classmates is taking the following stance on the immigration section of her paper: "While the process of seeking asylum in Norway capitalizes on the values of dignity and respect, immigrants are pressured to assimilate into Norwegian culture once they are resettled." This creates a value conflict of being respectful of native culture during asylum-seeking versus assimilating to Norwegian norms and values when resettling.
Another one of my classmates is writing about the Opera House in Oslo. She explains how this structure was built for the use of the public, "constructed in a way that citizens could climb on the rooftop, ski around the structure, and go inside the beautiful hall spaces free of charge. The inclusive design of this iconic structure is an example of how Oslo incorporates the values of participation and inclusion into the urbanization of the area."
While everyone has developed a thesis on our three ethical challenges, some are connecting the ethical challenges into one overarching theme. One of my classmates is focusing their paper on “the moral value of benevolence that creates a groundwork for analyzing solutions in relation to environmental sustainability, immigration, and urbanization.”
As I am writing this post on the train ride to Bergen, I continue to be amazed by the natural beauty of this place. I love every moment of this experience and I look forward to continue learning about the ethical challenges in contemporary Norway.