Symposium a Success

Hundreds of people gathered for the powerful Pathways to Peace symposium Jan. 12-14, 2005. Sponsored by the Wang Center for International Programs, the symposium explored issues critical to world peace, democracy and development. Thought-provoking and inspiring speakers encouraged the audience to find a way to work for a more just world.

Dignitaries from here and abroad spoke about issues ranging from the recent Asian tsunami, to HIV/AIDS in developing countries, to ethnic tensions, security challenges and human rights. Among them:

  • Participants from four of those close to the prolonged war in Sudan, who were all present at the signing of the historic peace agreement in Nairobi just days earlier. Having the four, including some on opposite sides of the bitter battle, on the same stage was remarkable.
  • Polar explorers Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft thrilled people with stories of their courageous adventures at the South and North Poles. Their trips are more than physical quests. They work to promote peace and education, especially a curriculum by PLU professor Ron Byrnes and Mike Hillis, designed to use the upcoming Arctic expedition to help kids learn about solving conflicts.
  • Peter and Grace Wang presented Peace Builder Awards to people who have worked to promote a just world. Honored were Tom Eric Vraalsen, Norwegian special envoy to the war-torn African nation of Sudan; polar explorers Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft, who use their expeditions to promote understanding; and the Namibia Association of Norway, which responds to poverty and injustice by helping people in the African republic build skills.
  • Chuck Nelson, who helped thousands of Norwegians come to PLU to study, received Norway’s prestigious St. Olaf Medal for his significant work in promoting relations between Norway and America. Knut Vollebæk, ambassador of Norway to the United States, presented the medal on behalf of Norway’s King Harald.


The Wang Center and Pacific Lutheran University acknowledge with gratitude the generous financial support provided by these symposium sponsors:

  • Royal Norwegian Consulate General – San Francisco,
  • Teagle Foundation,
  • Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, and
  • Port of Tacoma and Scandinavian Airlines.