by Tony Halsteindal
We, the Peace Committee here at ACN, has been engaged since February 11th in our peace project which lead up to the Nobel Peace Prize Forum in Minneapolis. On April 16th we held a presentation commemorating the hard work the students at ACN have put into the project. We were even lucky enough to have Barry B. White, the US ambassador to Norway, as the event’s guest speaker.
Krista Lauritzen, the Administrative Director for ACN, gracefully opened the presentation with a quote from the Director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, Geir Lundestad: “Peace is not a spectator sport.” Inaction can cause just as much harm as action when it comes to the failure to act against injustice and violence. She pressed the importance of this notion especially in light of the recent bombings in Boston, Massachusetts.
Lauritzen then gave the floor to our guest of honor, Barry B. White. He painted the audience a great picture about his life and career from his beginnings as a lawyer to his experience as the US’s ambassador for Norway (since 2009). Interestingly, White is also from Boston, so it was captivating to hear his thoughts on the tragedy. Another inspiring thought from White came from his statement that every person at ACN is an ambassador. He further emphasized the importance for students to study abroad, as it creates bridges between colliding cultures. In that essence, the students here at ACN will soon become ambassadors ourselves when we start on colleges in the US.
At the closing of his speech, White opened up for questions from the audience. After a brief moment of thoughtful silence the audience engaged White with riveting and curious questions. One in particular that was interesting came from ACN student Elsa Lilja Gunnarsdottir, who asked, “What can we, as students, do to help creating peace?” White first emphasized the importance of education; knowing what the cause of the problem is the first step. Secondly, integrating immigrants as colliding cultures is often the cause for prejudice and conflict. His last piece of advice: volunteering.
Another thought-provoking question came from ACN’s Student Advisor, Becky Norvang. “College goes by so fast, any advice on how to make the most of it?” she asked. White advised us to join clubs at college. Make college more than an education; make it an experience as well.
Norvang then entered the stage to introduce the Peace Committee and came with a personal greeting from Maureen Reed, who thanked us very much for our participation. Next was Hayley Kuntz, a student at ACN, who has taken a huge part in managing the Peace Committee. She gave us an overview of what had been done here at ACN, and announced happy news for us bloggers, that apparently our blog has had over 1,000 views.
Jordan Seneca, one of the students attended the NPPF, was up next. He told us about what a great and inspiring trip it had been to Minneapolis, as well as dwelling on questions such as “What is peace?” ” What is a global citizen?” and “What can be done to insure long lasting peace?”
To finish the presentation Gunnarsdottir, the other student who went to NPPF, entered the stage to give a big thanks to all our sponsors and participants to this project.
It was great finale to a great project. We even got to enjoy to great musical acts during the presentation. One by Sigrid Ravn who sang her song “Lost in Thoughts,” and one by Charlotte Dos Santos and her song “So Tired.”
After the presentation I even had the pleasure to have a few words with Ambassador White myself. When I asked him what he thought of the presentation he only had one word to say: