...or "a thousand thanks" as they say in Norway! Thank you to those of you who have left comments. While I'm sure my delayed response, in some cases, left you in terrible suspense for many sleepless nights, I have and will try to respond. Also, thank you to Cecilie from Bergen, who was kind of enough to take me to dinner at Akker Brygge Wednesday night while she was in Oslo for work! It was great to see her again and I did not mind skipping a meal in the dorm! Norway continues to provide friendly faces and generous hospitality.
Here is a brief recap on last week:
Our two excursions for the week took us to the Nobel Institute and the Nobel Peace Prize Center. The Nobel Institute is the building where the Nobel Peace Committee meets throughout the year to review nominations, compile reports, and select the Nobel laureate(s) each year. Our guide was the Librarian at the Institute who has worked there for over 40 years. Her presentation of the Institute and its work made a strong impression on all of us. The librarian might best be described at matriarchal and presented history about the Peace Prize and its winners in a very humble, yes respectful way. Her role as librarian is to oversee the in-house resources used to compile reports on nominees once the selection committee begins to narrow their initial list. The room were the decision is made is lined with a small black and white photograph of each of the laureates since the inception of the award. The room, like the entire building, is classy, classic, and gives the award the prestige it deserves.
The next room we entered was adorned with copies of the certificates each laureate is presented with - each with a different piece of art that is commissioned by the committee well before the laureate and their cause is known.
Our final stop was the room where the ceremony used to be held each December 10. The media and crowd that the awarding attracts has moved the annual ceremony to the University of Oslo for a time, and most recently to Oslo's City Hall. This small auditorium is currently used for the announcement of the laureate in early October as well as for the press conference in December. Here, the Librarian told us various stories about the "winners." She very nonchalantly said that "we like the give the laureate about a 30 minute heads up before the announcement...so they can be ready for the press." One winner was flying across the Atlantic when the announcement was made. Once he arrived at the airport in the U.S. he wondered why there was so much media at the gate. He was very surprised to get the news when get entered the terminal.
On Friday, our group visited the Nobel Peace Prize Center: a museum with traveling exhibits as well as interactive exhibits about all of the previous Peace Prize Laureates. The two traveling exhibits gave us more Nansen! as well as a photo exhibit about displaced people around the world. The emphasis of this Center was definitely less about the individual laureates and more about peace and conflict around the world. Our group of 10 had "class" inside the Center for an hour after going through the exhibits.
Thursday of last week we ran into Augsburg College President Pribbenow. The world is small.
This weekend we tried to act like Norwegians...relax, take a hike, sit by the lake, walk down by the docks. All around, a good weekend. The week ahead is filled with reading and coursework. Next time I'll share some thoughts on my Scandinavian Politics class and the welfare state! (Gasp!)