By Kari Plog '11
PLU Marketing & Communications
TACOMA, WASH. (Feb. 12, 2016)- Steinar Bryn’s peacebuilding work has kept him busy in Norway, eastern Europe and elsewhere around the world, but his ties to Pacific Lutheran University run deep.
The repeat Nobel Peace Prize nominee has developed and supported dialogue centers in the Balkans for nearly two decades.
But in that time Bryn, Ph.D., also has taught in PLU’s communication department, supported Fulbright scholars, hosted study away students and peace scholars, and supported faculty research.
Now, Bryn will build upon his campus connections and speak about his longtime peacebuilding work on Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. in the Scandinavian Cultural Center. The event, “10 Lessons from 20 Years of International Peacebuilding and Dialogue Work,” will give students, faculty and staff an opportunity to learn more about Bryn’s extensive experience as a dialogue facilitator in some of Europe’s most conflict-ridden areas.
Bryn has facilitated hundreds of seminars, published numerous articles and has lectured worldwide. He, along with the Nansen Dialogue Network, has developed and supported dialogue centers in the Balkans for 17 years. He’s also responsible for planning and implementing inter-ethnic dialogue seminars in Lillehammer, Norway, and the western Balkans. He’s been a student, teacher, researcher and acting principal at the Nansen Academy in Lillehammer.
Bryn is a longtime friend and colleague of Associate Professor of Communication Amanda Feller, Ph.D. The two have worked together since 2004, the year Bryn first taught a class at PLU.
“Steinar has been an integral part of PLU life since that time,” Feller said. “His presence at PLU represents one of the most important niches of our campus life: peacebuilding.”
Feller said it wasn’t until she started working with Steinar and the Nansen Dialogue Network that the dialogue work she was already doing took on rich meaning. The vital partnership underscored the real-world impact of her work and the work of her students, she said.
The work done at Nansen is heavily incorporated into PLU’s conflict management curriculum and events on campus. Bryn has joined Feller to teach courses, and the Department of Communication & Theatre has hosted a variety of seminars and forums on Nansen-related topics.
Additionally, PLU students have participated in field research, faculty-student projects and Fulbright scholarships abroad through Nansen.
Bryn, who has won numerous awards, is particularly concerned with transferring his experience in southeastern Europe to other areas of conflict. Feller said he embodies an important component of PLU’s mission.
“It is in our DNA and with special, unique partners like Dr. Bryn that the peacebuilding gene is dominant, not recessive,” she said.