Norwegian Nobel Prize Committee to Visit West Chester University

WCU The Commons AuditoriumImage via West Chester University

WEST CHESTER, PA — West Chester University announced it will host members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which selects the annual Nobel Peace Prize laureate, on Friday and Saturday, March 24 and 25. These esteemed guests will share conversations about issues related to global peace and conflict, fraternity, civil conversation in the face of conflict, and behind-the-scenes stories of how the Peace Prize laureates are selected.

The highlight will be the free public forum at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 24. Addressing issues related to global peace and conflict are Asle Toje, deputy leader of the Norwegian Nobel Committee; Jørgen Frydnes, the youngest member ever to be appointed to the Norwegian Nobel Committee and a prior deputy leader; and Henrik Syse, a former member and deputy leader of the Norwegian Nobel Committee who is now a research professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), a professor at Oslo New University College, and currently a visiting professor at West Chester University. See below for more about these individuals.

The forum takes place in the Sciences and Engineering Center & The Commons Auditorium (Room 108), 155 University Avenue, West Chester. While the event is free, donations are requested for the Mukwege Foundation, founded by Nobel laureate Dr. Denis Mukwege to support victims and survivors of conflict-related sexual violence.

Register here:

Earlier on Friday, two open sessions will also be held in the Sciences and Engineering Center & The Commons Auditorium:

  • 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Memory and Reconciliation in the Face of Adversity and Conflict: Reflections on the Terrorist Attack in Norway and Lessons from 9/11 – Jørgen Frydnes, member, Norwegian Nobel Committee.
  • 1:45 to 3:15 p.m. Lessons from Nobel Laureate Dennis Mukwege: Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War, and How We Build a Society Based on Peace and Respect – Henrik Syse, former member and deputy leader of the Norwegian Nobel Committee and WCU Visiting Scholar, and Asle Toje, deputy leader, Norwegian Nobel Committee.

On Saturday, March 25 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), 15 students who were selected from a large number of applicants will participate in an exclusive workshop. Working directly with the three representatives from the Norwegian Nobel Committee, they will discuss and develop action items for these issues: building community among campus clubs and organizations; building community based on the WCU legacy and history on human rights; building community and respectful dialogue between “town and gown” (residents and students); and combatting sexual violence and harassment, and fostering better relations among the genders (efforts in honor of the 2018 Nobel recipients).

Based in Oslo, Norway, at the Nobel Institute, the Norwegian Nobel Committee comprises five members who are elected for six-year terms and can be re-elected.

Since World War II, the Nobel Peace Prize, known as the most prestigious award in the world, has principally been awarded to honor efforts in four main areas: arms control and disarmament, peace negotiation, democracy and human rights, and work aimed at creating a better organized and more peaceful world. In the 21st century, the Nobel Committee has embraced efforts to limit the harm done by man-made climate change and threats to the environment as relevant to the Peace Prize.

Thanks to connections made through WCU’s Honors College, West Chester University has the distinction of being the only school in the world to submit a nomination for Nobel Peace Prize laureate to the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

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