Thursday, March 14, 2013

Students invited to peace conference

by Taylor Lunka, News Writer  

     Junior Anna McCracken and sophomore Bruno Correa represented Pacific Lutheran University globally as two of 10 Nobel Peace Prize Scholars for 2013.

    This past weekend, the pair met the other Nobel Peace Prize Scholars from across the nation at the annual forum held in Minneapolis, Minn.

    “I’m so incredibly grateful for this opportunity,” McCracken said. “I can’t tell you how impactful this has been on my life so far.”

    The Nobel Peace Prize Forum involved listening to speakers on peace building and socializing with the eight other scholars from across the country. There was also a dinner to celebrate the accomplishments of the scholars.

    The forum started in 1989 and was a consortium of five schools that were all Norwegian, private, Lutheran schools.

    Today, the forum consists of the same kinds of universities and is the only Nobel Peace Prize Forum program outside of Norway.

    In the past, the forum was located in the Midwest and moved to new locations every year.

    Once the forum became stationed in Minneapolis in 2011, PLU students started participating in the event.

    Professor Claudia Berguson, professor of Norwegian and Scandinavian studies at PLU, went with the students to the forum and said it was “informing and inspiring.”

    Berguson was also on the panel that selected McCracken and Correa to be PLU’s Nobel Peace Prize Scholars.

    “Anna [McCracken] has a great openness and a sense of curiosity and also a real conviction that she’s going to do something with this,” Berguson said. “This is for the future.”

    Berguson also said being a Peace Prize Scholar and attending the forum supports McCracken’s vision of what she wants to do after graduation with youth.

Correa said he has his own plans, hoping to work with the Peace Corps.

    “He [Correa] really wants to talk with people and get to know people within the culture and was looking forward to that,” Berguson said. ”Not just understanding the theory, but what it’s like for the person on the street.”

    Correa said he initially applied to be a peace prize scholar because he thinks it “represents all the main aspects of what PLU’s motto is — trying to figure out what you’re doing with your one wild and precious life.”

    McCracken and Correa, both majors in global studies and anthropology, said they are looking to apply the skills and lessons from the forum on and off campus.

    Berguson said she wants students to know you can be from any discipline to apply and become a peace scholar.

    Students who are interested to apply next year “need to have some sort of motivation,” Berguson said.

    She also said students need to understand diversity, have an understanding of peace in a global context and have to be willing to be challenged when it comes to peace.

    McCracken said students who want to be peace scholars should “just keep doing what you love and get involved with organizations in peace.” 

    The next step for the Nobel Peace Prize Scholars is to participate in a seven-week seminar in Norway at the Oslo International Summer School this summer.

    “I’m really excited for this summer,” Correa said.

    During the seminar, peace scholars will participate in classroom discussions and read about peace building. They will also visit institutes of peace in Oslo and speak with people who are involved in that work from a Norwegian perspective.