Every year, students from six different colleges (Augsburg College, Augustana College, Concordia College, Luther College, and Pacific Lutheran University) are selected as Peace Scholars and awarded participation in a summer learning seminar in Oslo, Norway. The program is designed to deepen their understanding of issues related to peace, justice, democracy, and human rights through an immersive cultural experience. The winning candidates are announced each year during the Nobel Peace Prize Forum after a rigorous application process. 

Clara Bergan, Luther College
Clara Bergan is a senior studying Environmental Policy and Art at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Having truly embraced the collegiate liberal arts experience, one might find Clara in Luther’s Sustainability House, Center for the Arts or Valders Hall of Science. Clara loves sampling fresh garden salsa, operating steam engines, knitting mittens and drinking coffee amongst good conversation. Clara is confident that grassroots efforts can make a difference and remains hopeful in the face of issues she is passionate about, like children’s mental health disorders and climate change policy. Someday she hopes to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail, live off-the-grid and share her passion for sustainable living with others. Regardless, there is no doubt Clara will continue learning by doing and through meeting others with experiences far from her own.

Maren Engel, Augustana College
Maren Engel is a native of Owasso, OK and a senior at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD majoring in Vocal Music and Classics. Maren is a four-year member of the Augustana Choir and has spent her college career involved in all things music. She is also a class senator of the Augustana Student Association and works as a student ambassador in Augie’s admission office. In her free time, Maren can be found relaxing at the nearby coffee shop, utilizing South Dakota’s two months of nice weather, road tripping and playing music with friends. After graduation, Maren hopes to continue her education in music by performing and obtaining a master’s in Music Therapy. She plans to dedicate her life to using music as a vehicle for peace-building and rehabilitation. She also hopes to record her own album one day. Maren is eager to take the lessons she learns this summer about peace and conflict resolution to her own future communities…wherever they may be.

Luke Hanson, Luther College
Luke Hanson is a junior at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, majoring in International Studies. This fall he intends to study sustainable development in Jaipur, India. After graduating in the spring 2014, Luke hopes to work in the vast field of international development or poverty relief. He is absolutely thrilled by the opportunity to study peace and international issues as a 2012 Nobel Peace Scholar!

In addition to his academic and career pursuits, Luke is passionate about biking, hiking, traveling, and exploring, whether in foreign countries or in the scenic bluffs around Decorah. At Luther, Luke has played cello in the Symphony Orchestra, sung baritone in the Nordic Choir, and represented on Student Senate, and worked with a student-led non-profit organization called i-ImpactNow.

Katie Hjerpe, Augustana College
Katie Hjerpe is a student of Sociology, Classical Culture & Art at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota (Class of 2013). She is originally from Hutchinson, MN. Katie is happiest when covered in clay, running in the woods, or playing with kids. She is passionate about vegetables, good books, family, running, music, justice, and faith. She will gladly eat your black jellybeans (delicious), or teach you to love kale (also delicious). She has many dreams for the future; including being a special education teacher, an organic farmer, an artist, and a peacemaker. She is excited and grateful for the opportunity to study with the Nobel Peace Scholars Program this summer!

Molly Kokesh, Augustana College
Molly Kokesh is a native of Scotland, SD and a senior at Augustana College majoring in German and Government/International Affairs with a minor in Political Philosophy. She was Augustana’s 2012 Truman Scholarship nominee, honoring students pursuing careers in governmental and non-governmental public service. Kokesh is a distance runner on the Viking cross country and track teams, the president of the Environmental Club and a senior senator in her student government. She recently returned from spending a semester abroad studying German in Austria.

After Augustana, she plans to enter a dual degree program to pursue a law degree and a Ph.D. in environmental studies, specializing in environmental social science and the relationship between societal processes and environmental contexts. Kokesh hopes to establish a career working for an environmental NGO in the US or abroad to help improve the relationship between humans and the environment.

Peter Larsen, Augsburg College
Peter Larsen is a native of Minneapolis and a senior at Augsburg College majoring in International Relations, Political Science, and Religion. He was awarded the Rose Rees Peace Award in 2008 for outstanding knowledge of global politics and commitment to world peace, and his interest in peace and reconciliation continues through his work as a commissioner on the Minneapolis Commission on Civil Rights. Peter also stays engaged in the community by serving on the Minneapolis Area Synod Council for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and as the Chairman of the Minneapolis Television Network. He is most excited about the opportunity to meet others from around the world, and to have the opportunity to work on meaningful research in the field of peace studies.      Blog Post 1- Nansen Dialogue  Blog Post 2- July 22

Colin Mischel, Pacific Lutheran University
A native of Eatonville, a small town located near the base of Mt. Rainier in Washington State, Colin is a senior at Pacific Lutheran University pursing a double major in Scandinavian Studies and Norwegian with a minor in Peace and Conflict Dialogue. As the first student to represent PLU as a Peace Scholar, Colin takes the opportunity seriously. He has enjoyed challenging himself academically and engaging with others as a citizen of not only the U.S. but of the world. Colin plans to utilize his degrees to create the opportunity to work between Norway and the U.S. as well as the rest of the world through peace building endeavors.

Jordan Montgomery, St. Olaf College
Jordan Montgomery studies political science and Asian studies, with a focus on China, at St. Olaf College, and will graduate in spring 2013. A native of Montevideo, Minnesota, Jordan is active in politics and has become more interested in the confluence of peace, human rights, and the environment. Jordan has interned at Amnesty International in Chicago, TakeAction Minnesota in St. Paul, and spent the fall of 2011 studying Chinese in Shanghai, China. He will take the Law School Admission Test this fall but keeps an open mind to new opportunities.

After returning from Oslo, Jordan will be the president of St. Olaf’s chapter of Amnesty International, co-president of St. Olaf’s Pi Sigma Alpha (the political science honor society) chapter, the auditor of the Student Organizations Committee, and, most prestigiously, the president of the St. Olaf Croquet Club. His interests include traveling, foraging, cooking, literature, and coffee.

Adam Mousel, Concordia College
Adam Mousel is a senior at Concordia College in Moorhead, majoring in History and Psychology with a minor in Scandinavian Studies. While at Concordia he participated in cross country, track and field, hall council, Habitat for Humanity and served in Residence Life as a resident assistant. Adam hopes to use his time to in Norway to experience a different culture, engage in dialogue, and make connections with students from across the globe. He has a special interest in Norway’s role in the Oslo Accords and looks forward to utilizing the resources available in Oslo.

Howard Mukando, Concordia College
Howard is a Zimbabwe national, double majoring in Developmental Global Studies and Economics at Concordia College. He is interested in understanding how violent conflict and human right violations affect economic development and ways to pursue justice, peace and democracy while ensuring sustainable economic development, especially in marginalized poor communities. Howard is a Chiedza Child Care Center Alum and Intern. During his time at Chiedza ChildCare Center, Howard was highly influenced by the work that the Organization does for the Orphans and Grandparents they work with. This made him decide to study Developmental Global studies and Economics, and he plans to go to graduate school for a Joint Juris Doctor and Master of Arts in Public Policy (J.D./MA) Degree. Howard hopes to be a lawyer that will represent both human rights and also effect economic policy making processes.

Howard serves as Academic Commissioner for Concordia College Student Government and as Student Ambassador at Concordia College International admissions. He was the President of Student Council at Oslo International Summer School, 2012, leading students from 95 different countries. Howard believes the world can and will be a better place where justice, peace and democracy will prevail, and he is optimistic that he will play his part as a global citizen in pursuing justice, peacemaking and sustainable development in marginalized communities.

Ingrid Pond, Augsburg College
Ingrid Pond is a junior at Augsburg College, majoring in international relations and cross-cultural studies with a minor in Norwegian language. She takes part in the Bonners Leaders Program, whose participants work in the community on issues such as improving educational opportunities, promoting literacy, along with other pertinent social matters. Ingrid recently returned from a term studying in the Balkan region, which took her to the likes of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and more. She is originally from Red Wing, MN but hopes she will be able to travel or work abroad after finishing at Augsburg.

Charlotte Rosen, St. Olaf College
Originally from Philadelphia, Charlotte Rosen is a senior at St. Olaf College majoring in History. Her academic fascinations are many, ranging from African Pentecostalism to Jewish-American cultural identity. Before traveling to Oslo, Charlotte studied in Thailand, Namibia and South Africa, all of which fed her hunger for a larger and more precise understanding of the world she attempts to contribute to. Like an alarming number of her peers in the Midwest, Charlotte is a singer and participates in the all female a cappella group Agnes A Cappella, which she will be leading next year. Charlotte also volunteers at Northfield’s Community Action Center, and will be participating in a student-run off campus house devoted to community volunteerism. Though Charlotte does not know what she wants to be when she grows up, she has vague dreams of becoming an academic or finding some kind of awesome research job working for the UN or some think tank.

Nura Younes, St. Olaf College
Nura Younes was born and raised in Madison, WI. She is currently a senior at St. Olaf College, majoring in Political Science. Nura has been involved in various political, religious and awareness organizations throughout her time on campus. She has also been an avid participant in study abroad programs that have taken her from Ecuador to Switzerland to India to South Korea. After graduation, Nura plans to spend a few years away from academics before pursuing graduate studies.