Event explores Scandinavian role in peace

Nordic Spirit Symposium blends talks, music, dining

Olav Njølstad, a history professor at the University of Oslo, will discuss the Nobel Peace Prize and its relevance in today’s world.

Photo: Christopher Olsson

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Jan. 15, 2013) The 2013 Nordic Spirit Symposium at California Lutheran University will explore the contributions of Scandinavians to a better global society.

“Scandinavian Peacemakers and Humanitarians” will be held Feb. 1 and 2 on the Thousand Oaks campus. The public is invited to join in the spirit of a symposium, which blends music, dining and the free exchange of ideas to enhance the pleasure of learning.

Professors from the United States and Norway will discuss the peacemaking and humanitarian roles of Scandinavians on Friday evening and Saturday in Samuelson Chapel. Some of the most prominent peacemakers have been residents of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and Scandinavian-Americans.

On Feb. 1, Christine Ingebritsen, professor of Scandinavian studies at the University of Washington will open the evening session with a lecture on the niche the small countries of Scandinavia have found in world politics. CLU history professor Paul Hanson will talk about Norway’s peacemaking role in the Middle East.

On Feb. 2, Carl Emil Vogt, a researcher at the National Library of Norway in Oslo, will illustrate how Fridtjof Nansen, a Norwegian polar explorer and national hero, became an important figure in the League of Nations’ international humanitarian work. Olav Njølstad, a history professor at the University of Oslo, will discuss the Nobel Peace Prize and its relevance in today’s world.

Herbert Gooch, CLU professor of political science, will explore how U.S. Chief Justice Earl Warren, the son of poor immigrant parents, took the United States closer to fulfilling the promise inscribed on the Supreme Court building: “Equal Justice Under Law.” Other presentations will cover Nobel Peace Prize recipient archbishop Nathan Söderblom and innovative international mediators Folke Bernadotte and Dag Hammarskjöld.

A reception will kick off the event at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 1 at the Scandinavian Center. The symposium will conclude with dinner and entertainment by mezzo-soprano Ingrid Isaksen at 7 p.m. Feb. 2 in the Lundring Events Center.

CLU and the Scandinavian American Cultural and Historical Foundation are sponsoring the symposium. The Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation and the Norway House Foundation in San Francisco provided grants.

For prices, schedules and registration, call 805-660-3096 or email nordicspiritsymposium@hotmail.com. People can register for the symposium before each session, but reservations are needed for the Friday reception and Saturday lunch and dinner. The early-registration deadline is Jan. 18.