Frequently Asked Questions

General

Do I have to know Norwegian or be taking a course in Norwegian to be eligible?

No. All lectures, discussions and course materials are in English.

Are there certain majors that are given first priority for selection as a Peace Scholar?

No. Students from all areas of study may apply. It is important that you have an understanding of and an intellectual curiosity about peace in a global context. But this might be peace related to disciplines as diverse as biology and literature, music and political science, history and business, or geoscience and philosophy. To see a list of past Peace Scholars and their majors, please go to www.peacescholars.wordpress.com.

How many Peace Scholars are selected?

There are two Peace Scholars selected each year.

What are the costs of the program?

Airfare to and from Minneapolis (The Human Rights Forum) and to and from Norway is paid. In addition, lodging, food and tuition are paid by the program while students are in Norway and at the Forum. Any additional travel or purchase of books, etc. not part of the course curriculum in Norway may be the responsibility of the individual student, though additional financial assistance has recently been available.

I’ve heard that students from PLU join Peace Scholars from other schools. How does that work?

Until recently, Peace Scholars were selected from six colleges and universities: Augsburg (Minneapolis), Augustana (Sioux Falls, SD), Concordia (Moorhead, MN), Luther (Decorah, Iowa), St. Olaf (Northfield, MN) and PLU. The schools have a common institutional definition as private Lutheran colleges founded by Norwegian immigrants. In 2017, Peace Scholars from two other universities joined the program: Sacrament State University and The University of Hawaii at Manoa. Currently, Peace Scholars come from the six Lutheran colleges and universities and University of Hawaii Manoa, for a total of 14.

The Peace Scholars currently meet for the first time in Norway, though they typically connect before the trip through social media. They study together for seven weeks in Norway. Finally, they attend The Human Rights Forum in October following their summer study. Previous years’ Peace Scholars report forming very close and lasting friendships with their peers in the program.

What are the responsibilities of a person selected as a Peace Scholar?

At The Human Rights Forum, Peace Scholars introduce speakers at the Forum and attend orientation sessions for Peace Scholars. The 2017 and 2018 Peace Scholars also co-facilitated sessions at the Forum.  In Norway, they are expected to study as an active and committed member of the group. They also submit blog posts in which they reflect on their study both at the Nansen Dialogue Center and at the International Summer School in Oslo.

On their home campus, they are asked to help with recruiting new Peace Scholars, give two public presentations about their experience, and provide input to The Human Rights Forum/Peace Scholars committee as needed. More importantly, the expectation is that Peace Scholars will use their experiences in Norway and The Human Rights Forum to initiate or support efforts on campus related to peace and dialogue, and to have an impact on the PLU community. Students must commit to all parts of the Peace Scholars program.

In sum, this means the Peace Scholars program in Norway from mid-June to the first week in August, The Human Rights Forum in October after the summer study, and on-campus participation following the summer program in Norway. Finally, as with all study away, students are expected to be good ambassadors of both their country and their university.

Where does the summer course in Norway take place?

Students spend their first 4-5 days in Lillehammer at the Nansen Dialogue
Center. They are joined by students from the Balkans and the Caucasus region. The focus of these first days of the course is dialogue and peace. The next six weeks, students are part of an international student body of participants from over 90 countries. The course on peace studies is one of many offered at the Oslo International Summer School on the University of Oslo campus. Students live in a campus residence hall and take one course in addition to the peace studies course. This course may be in Norwegian language, Norwegian history, international politics, contemporary Norwegian society, gender and equality, art history, or literature.

When are the Peace Scholars selected?

Essays will be reviewed during the first week in February. Interviews of finalists will take place the second week in February. Peace Scholars are announced around February 15.

Application

How are the essays evaluated, and what are the criteria for evaluation?

All essays are reviewed by the Nobel Peace Prize Forum/Peace Scholars committee consisting of PLU faculty. Specific criteria they will evaluate in the essay are:

• Openness to new ideas and perspectives;
• Motivation and purpose;
• Depth of understanding of peace;
• Intellectual curiosity related to peace;
• Quality of written expression and articulation;
• Two letters of recommendation.

The committee is not necessarily looking for students who have an extensive theoretical background in peace and conflict studies, but for students who see the value of building peace in their lives and are curious and open to new learning related to these topics.

What are the requirements for letters of recommendation?

At least one letter is to be from a faculty member who knows your academic work well. The other letter may be written by a faculty person or any other person who can speak to your academic strengths, personal strengths, and qualities that make you an excellent choice for the Peace Scholars program. While it is not required that the letters be from PLU faculty or administrators, it is strongly suggested that at least one letter addresses your current study at PLU.

Your letter-writers will be asked to write about what makes you a promising Peace Scholar and about your willingness to be open to ideas and beliefs that are different from yours.

How should the application materials be submitted?

The applications, including recommendation letters, are submitted through TerraDotta on the Wang Center website. The link to the form is available on the main page of this website at the beginning of November each year.