As we enter our last few weeks at the International Summer School in Norway, many of us are now focusing on the culminating works of our summer. We are completing research projects, studying for exams, and making the most of our time here in Oslo by exploring with our new friends. As I reflect on my time here, I cannot help but feel an immense level of gratitude for all I have learned. I think people often regard peace studies as a peculiar field with a slightly ambiguous career path. However, if there is anything I have learned, it is that peace studies are not specific to one field, but rather, percolate through many facets of our lives.
Recently, we peace scholars planned an optional event for students at the ISS. We facilitated an activity used in creating dialogue in which we gathered students from various nations and backgrounds, and presented them with statements which they could respond with “agree,” “disagree,” “maybe,” and “I don’t know.” The idea was to highlight differences in what various people believe to be ‘right’ or ‘moral.’ In conducting this activity for over an hour, it became clear that many people utilize the same logic, yet arrive at completely different conclusions. Throughout the event, people both defended their positions and changed opinions as arguments were presented. The dialogue included issues of state intervention, immigration, and civil rights.
In reflecting on this experience, I am so grateful for this global community. I am continually realizing the significance of dialogue in our political and social spaces, and largely because of these new perspectives from my peers. The appreciation I feel can only be satisfied by the movement of this good work, so when I leave this place, I know I will continue to draw from these experiences.