Augsburg is proud to announce that Jessica Spanswick and Katia Iverson have been chosen as the 2009 Peace Scholars representing Augsburg College.
Spanswick [pictured left], a sophomore from Perham, Minn., is majoring in international relations with a minor in peace and global studies. Spanswick enjoys playing the alto saxophone in the Augsburg Concert Band and the Gospel Praise Jazz Ensemble, but her favorite activity is tutoring East African adults and children in the Cedar Riverside community. She is also actively involved in the Seward Montessori School, helping with a 4th and 5th grade class. The most meaningful college experience for Spanswick was studying abroad in Namibia and South Africa in the fall semester of 2008. Studying “Nation Building, Globalization, and Decolonizing the Mind” in Namibia inspired a passion in her for cross-cultural communication. She is planning to work abroad after graduating in Spring 2010, and hopes to return to Africa. Her goal is to one day work for the United Nations in a peacekeeping mission.
Iverson [pictured right], a first-year student from Maple Grove, Minn, is considering a major in cultural anthropology with a minor in Spanish. She has a passion for diversity and the elimination of poverty and has a history of working in groups that emphasize both. At Augsburg, Iverson is involved with Honors, MPIRG, and the Bonner Leaders program. The Bonner program has allowed her to work off campus at an alternative high school as a teaching assistant in algebra and African American literature. Her experiences there continually foster her love for people and the stories that they bring with them. Iverson hopes to use her service experiences and those as a Peace Scholar to further connect Augsburg with the community that surrounds the campus. In the near future, she also hopes to study abroad in Africa and Central America, continuing to focus on peace, poverty, and cultural diversity.
Every year, two students from each of the five Norwegian Lutheran colleges that make up the Nobel Peace Prize consortium are selected as scholars and awarded a summer travel seminar experience designed to deepen their understanding of issues related to peace, justice, democracy, and human rights.
Elise Marubbio, assistant professor of American Indian Studies at Augsburg will lead the scholars in a one-week travel seminar in Chiapas, Mexico in the summer of 2009. There the scholars will study conflict, the possibilities and limitations of negotiated peace agreements, and low intensity warfare to maintain “peace” in a region of conflict. They will have opportunities to meet with indigenous communities, church leaders, NGOs, government officials, and international peace groups to gain an understanding of the indigenous issues related to human rights, the environment, women’s groups, and the land.
The 2009 Peace Prize Forum will be held Mar. 6-7 at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn. At the Forum, Augsburg’s 2008 Peace Scholars—Hannah Glusenkamp and Willie Pinckney—will present a report on their learning experience in Guatemala in July 2008.
Wendi Wheeler, Creative Associate-Editorial