UW-Stout News Story

Peace Studies class attends Nobel Peace Prize Forum

April 8, 2013

A group of UW-Stout students recently witnessed a peace movement firsthand. They attended the 25th annual Nobel Peace Prize Forum “The Power of Ideas: People and Peace,” in March in Minneapolis.

Students heard speakers from around the world at Augsburg College and the University of Minnesota. The forum is the Norwegian Nobel Institute’s only program outside of Norway.

Peace Studies students gather at the Nobel forum in Minneapolis.One of the speakers was Tawakkol Karman of Yemen, the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize co-winner who led an Arab Spring uprising in her country. At 32 she is the youngest person in history to win the prize.

“Karman dismantled an oppressive power structure in Yemen that existed for more than 1,000 years. She shared her experience in leading this completely nonviolent revolution,” said Jim Handley, social science department, who teaches a Peace Studies course. “Creating peace is hard, arduous work.”

One of Handley’s students, Achele Jones, of Eau Claire, said she hadn’t considered an aspect of peace that Karman and journalist Colman McCarthy discussed. McCarthy is a U.S. journalist and directs the Center for Teaching Peace in Washington, D.C.

“Both McCarthy and Karman provided an insight into the objective and symbolic violence that occurs during a supposed time of peace. Although one country may not be at physical war with another, symbolic violence and war still occur,” Jones said. “An embargo alone can have the same detrimental effects of hunger and disease as physical war does on the people of a country who depend on the foreign supplies to live.”

Jones, an applied social science major with a concentration in anthropology and sociology, said McCarthy believes that societies often treat times of peace “as merely a period for preparation to ensure the victory of the next war.”

Other students who attended the forum were Mahir Ahmed, of Saudi Arabia; Sarah Biehn, of Burlington; Sean Hawkinson, of Minneapolis; Zach Johnson, of Browntown; Faye Lafferty, of Duluth, Minn.; Jessica Mathison, of Mora, Minn.; Timmy McDonough, of Anoka, Minn.; Alyssa Quilling, of Elk Mound; Taylor Sellers, of Kasson, Minn.; Amanda Soine, of Inver Grove Heights, Minn.; Tom Swanson, of Minneapolis; and Miguel Tenorio, of Ecuador.

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