I didn’t know exactly what being a Peace Scholar was all about when I applied for the scholarship at Augustana. Then, when I got the scholarship, I still didn’t know what it truly meant to be a Peace Scholar. I thought I would figure it out before heading for the airport, but I didn’t. In fact, I didn’t figure it in the airport either. I didn’t figure it out on the eight-hour plane ride or even when I first touched Norwegian soil. However, after spending a week engaging in dialogue with 28 brilliant minds from over 15 different countries, I may have come to better understanding of what it means to be a Peace Scholar.

Being a Peace Scholar means understanding that this world is not just and that people are not treated humanely. But being a Peace Scholar also means accepting these facts and choosing not to lose hope. Instead, being a Peace Scholar means taking responsibility for yourself, your home, and your world anyway, asking hard questions, engaging in difficult conversations, and taking action. We’re not just here to eat lutefisk and read a few books on peace. We’re here to learn about peace and implement what we’ve learned when we return. Like sponges, we must soak up knowledge and experiences throughout this journey so that we may carry them with us when we return to nourish people and communities and foster peace.

I still have much to learn, but I am comforted knowing that I have found my purpose.

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