Participating in a program focused on peace

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St. Olaf College students Jauza Khaleel ’18 (front center) and Paul Sullivan ’17 (second from left) work with other Peace Scholars Program participants.

Spending seven weeks in Norway as part of the Peace Scholars Program gave Jauza Khaleel ’18 a greater understanding of the complexities of conflict and the barriers to achieving peace and reconciliation.

Just as importantly, it also gave her a better idea of what she can do about it.

“The program opened my eyes to new ways in which individuals can work to help those in need,” she says.

Khaleel and fellow St. Olaf College student Paul Sullivan ‘17 were selected to participate in the program, which aims to expand students’ awareness of current issues relating to peace, justice, democracy, and human rights through a series of educational experiences in Norway. Two students from each of the six Norwegian-American Lutheran colleges — Augsburg, Augustana, Concordia, Luther, St. Olaf, and Pacific Lutheran University — are chosen to participate each year.

Students at St. Olaf receive funding to participate in the program through the Philip C. Smaby Peace Scholars Endowed Scholarship.

Khaleel and Sullivan kicked off their time in Norway by spending a week at the Nobel Peace Prize–nominated Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue in Lillehammer. While there, the two were able to learn from the principal of the Nansen Center, Steinar Bryn, and his colleagues. They learned all about the process of peace and reconciliation in the Balkans.

For Sullivan, the week spent in Lillehammer was a particular highlight of the trip.

It was such an intense week, both intellectually and emotionally, and I learned so much,” he says. “The group of American and Balkan students came out of the week as a tight-knit friend group, which I imagine will last a long time.”

After their first week had in Norway had concluded, it was time to move from Lillehammer to Oslo in order to attend the University of Oslo’s prestigious International Summer School. At the school, both St. Olaf students took a seminar on Norwegian aid and refugee policies, which involved its own research project.

Aside from the seminar, they were given the chance to pursue an additional class of their choosing. Sullivan took a class on Norwegian history and Khaleel took a class on Scandinavian government.

Over the course of the summer, the two also explored other areas of Norway.

“We visited the Peace Research Institute Oslo, where we were given a lecture on Norway’s foreign policy and the Right to Protect by Henrik Syse. We also visited Freedom House, where we met with multiple organizations that do a wonderful job raising awareness, lobbying, and petitioning,” says Khaleel.

There was even an opportunity to visit the Karibu Foundation that is headed by St. Olaf alumnus Tyler Hauger ‘08. The Karibu Foundation is an organization located in Oslo that works on building connections between developing countries in the global south.

“My visit to Karibu and to all of the places were transformative as these field visits broadened my understanding of what I could do after I graduate and the ways in which I could work in the field of building peace,” says Khaleel.