Behind the Nobel Peace Prize: Norwegian Nobel Committee Members Visit Campus
West Chester University 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: https://wcuconfservices.ticketleap.com/wcu-nobel-peace-forum-think-globally-act-locally/
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 combating 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.
Asle Toje is the deputy leader of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which awards the Nobel Peace Prize, known as the most prestigious award in the world. He is also the former research director at the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo. After completing his Ph.D. in Cambridge (2006), Toje lectured and taught at universities in Europe and beyond. His research interests are found at the intersection of security studies and European studies, and he has published several books within these fields.
Jørgen Frydnes is the youngest member ever to be appointed to the Norwegian Nobel Committee. His research includes work related to domestic terrorism, ideology, free speech, and religion. He holds a doctoral degree in philosophy. For a full six-year term (2015-20), he was a member of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, serving as its Deputy Leader for the last four years of that term. He is the CEO of Utoya AS, helping to rebuild the island of Utoya after it was attacked by a Norwegian right-wing extremist on July 22, 2011, in a terror attack that killed 69 people. Frydnes has also worked for Doctors without Borders (Medicines sans Frontieres) and is a member of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, a non-governmental organization working to ensure that human rights are respected in practice.
Henrik Syse is a research professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), working on ethical questions related to armed and other societal conflicts. He is also a professor at Oslo New University College, and he is currently a visiting professor at West Chester University. His research includes work related to domestic terrorism, ideology, free speech, and religion. He holds a doctoral degree in philosophy. For a full six-year term (2015-20), he was a member of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, serving as its Deputy Leader for the last four years of that term.
Syse worked as Head of Corporate Governance at Norges Bank Investment Management (2005-07), where he helped start the work within the bank on ownership, governance, and ethics for the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global, currently the world’s largest Sovereign Wealth Fund. He was also a member of the Norwegian Press Complaints Commission for 14 years and is a much-used public speaker. Syse has lectured and published widely on problems within moral philosophy, political philosophy, business ethics, religion, and the ethics of warfare.