Elizabeth Schaefer ’20, Moorhead, and Nina Tran ’21, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, will represent Concordia College for the 2019 Peace Scholars Program, underwritten by the generous support of the Smaby Family Foundation.
The scholars will join two students from each of the colleges that make up a consortium that sponsors the program for a seven-week seminar in Norway this summer. The seminar is designed to deepen participant understanding of injustice, conflict, and violence and to form leaders for peace.
Concordia’s counterparts in the original consortium of six Norwegian sister colleges includes Augsburg University, Augustana University (Sioux Falls), Luther College, Pacific Lutheran University and St. Olaf College. The program expanded in 2017 to include California State University, Sacramento, and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Schaefer is a junior majoring in global studies and mathematics. She first heard about the program as a first-year student.
“I knew at the time that this was a program that resonated deeply with me. Two years later, I am so excited to have been chosen to participate in this meaningful program,” she said. “I look forward to learning more about peace and peace studies alongside Nina and the students from the other colleges this summer, particularly about the applications of peace studies to international development.”
Tran is a sophomore majoring in mathematical finance but has always been interested in social justice and has contributed to the campus community through an array of involvements.
“I learned about the program my freshman year but was initially quite intimidated by its competitiveness, so my decision to apply was actually very last minute,” she said.
While in residence at the Nansen Center for Peace and Dialog in Lillehammer this summer, Schaefer and Tran will participate in peacemaking dialogue with peers from the Balkans and Caucasus regions. They will continue their program with an intensive seminar and additional coursework at the Oslo International Summer School.
Grateful to be chosen as a Peace Scholar, Tran said above all she is thankful for the support she received from amazing friends, faculty and staff at Concordia.
“I can’t wait to deepen my understanding about peace and conflicts through the program and devote my newly learned insights to the community upon returning,” she said.
Schaefer and Tran will work with the Concordia community next fall to advance a culture of peacemaking through a project they design and enact.