ADVISORY: World Leaders Meet September 14-15 for Nobel Peace Prize Forum in Minneapolis

The Paradox of Peace is focus of leaders, activists

(MINNEAPOLIS) — The 30th annual Nobel Peace Prize Forum will explore the tensions between conflict and reconciliation, between justice and forgiveness, between hope and fear.  Join us September 14-15 in Minneapolis to honor Nobel Peace Prize laureates who have navigated these paradoxes.

Guest speakers include:

  • Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the 2017 Nobel laureate.
  • Environmental activist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez
  • Maya Soetoro-Ng, President of the Matsunaga Institute and President Barack Obama’s sister
  • Nobel laureate Peter Agre, an Augsburg alumnus
  • Members of EcoPeace, including Israeli, Jordanian, and Palestinian activists, who are using water as a peacemaking tool
  • Bill Dougherty of the University of Minnesota and his Police and Black Men Project participants
  • Ecolab CEO Doug Baker

Friday’s program will kick off with discussion of the peace process in Colombia and the ongoing challenges of implementing the peace accord. In 2016 Colombia’s President Santos received the Nobel Peace Prize “for his resolute efforts to bring the country’s more than 50-year-long civil war to an end.”

Saturday’s program will focus on the challenges of ridding the world of the nuclear weapons that threaten the very existence of life on earth and feature Fihn, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

For more details about the program and speakers, go to http://peace.augsburg.edu/

 

LOCATION

The 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Forum will be held at the Augsburg University campus, 2211 Riverside Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55454. Information and tickets are available at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum website.

 

MEDIA CONTACT

Gita Sitaramiah at sitarami@augsburg.edu or 612-330-1476.

 

ABOUT THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE FORUM

The Nobel Peace Prize Forum, hosted and presented by Augsburg University, brings together students and community members with Nobel Peace Prize laureates, world leaders and accomplished peacemakers to work on building a world in which people can live full, rich, meaningful lives. Under the auspices of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, the Nobel Peace Prize Forum inspires peacemaking by focusing on the work of laureates and international peacemakers and peacebuilders. More at Nobel Peace Prize Forum.

 

ABOUT AUGSBURG UNIVERSITY

Augsburg University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and nine graduate degrees to nearly 3,600 students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and the Rochester site. Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings.

Media Advisory: River Semester students hike Mississippi on Thursday, launch Friday to canoe for 100 days

Media invited to interview students at Thursday sendoff from Augsburg and Friday’s launch ceremony at Fort Snelling

(MINNEAPOLIS) — Augsburg University River Semester students will paddle the Mississippi for 100 days starting Friday.

The 15 students will learn about history, politics, the environment and more as they canoe the Mississippi. They will paddle from Fort Snelling to Memphis in this unique semester-long experience. In addition, they will be joined by Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian activists from EcoPeace Middle East following Augsburg’s Nobel Peace Prize Forum on Sept. 14-15. View the full River Semester itinerary at this link: http://www.augsburg.edu/river/river-semester-itinerary/. For more details about River Semester, go to http://www.augsburg.edu/river. This is the second-ever River Semester. The first was in 2015.

Media Opportunities:

Thursday, August 23: The group will gather at 9:00 a.m. on the front steps of the Christensen Center at Augsburg University, and hike about 9:30 a.m. the nine miles to Fort Snelling State Park. The group of 15 students, two faculty, two staff, and family and friends who will hike with them, will walk along the river gorge, stopping at Minnehaha Falls park for lunch before continuing on to Fort Snelling and their first camp site at Picnic Island.

Friday, August. 24: The group will have a short ceremony, send-off and “blessing of the fleet” at 7:30 a.m. at the boat ramp adjacent to Picnic Island at Fort Snelling. The gate to the park opens at 7:00 a.m., and there is a $7 entrance fee (unless you have a Minnesota State Park annual pass). Once in the park, follow signs to Picnic Island. There is ample parking there and the group will be easily visible once you are in the parking lot.

Media Contact: Gita Sitaramiah, Director of Public Relations and Internal Communications, sitarami@augsburg.edu or 612-330-1476.

Support for Associate Professor Mzenga Wanyama

(Updated 9/5/2018)

Augsburg University is sharing this background about the immigration case involving Associate Professor Mzenga Wanyama to keep our campus and the public informed.

Status with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
The Board of Immigration Appeals has granted a stay of removal. As a result, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement can’t deport Mzenga Wanyama and Mary Mzenga until the Board issues a decision on the merits of the motion to reopen his asylum case.

ICE had previously informed Dr. Wanyama and his wife Mary Mzenga that they were required to depart the United States on September 9. That had been extended another 30 days, before the stay of removal was granted late August 31.

“We are saddened that Dr. Wanyama continues to face this difficult situation,” said Paul Pribbenow, president of Augsburg University. “We value his scholarship and skill set and are exploring options for him to continue working in Augsburg’s global operations if he can’t stay in the U.S.”

Background
On April 5, Dr. Wanyama and his wife were informed in a meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement that ICE would allow them 90 days to depart the United States. During a June 29 meeting ICE confirmed that it had extended their departure date from July 4 to August 3. The ICE office had asked them to return to the office on July 25 for a check-in.

On July 25, ICE then informed Dr. Wanyama and his wife Mary Mzenga that they would have to depart the United States on September 9. He was required to bring his plane tickets with a September 9 departure data to a check-in appointment with ICE on September 4. His September 9 departure was later extended 30 days.

Meanwhile, a motion to reopen Dr. Wanyama’s asylum application based on changed country conditions and a stay of removal was filed earlier this summer with the Board of Immigration Appeals. Once ICE was unwilling to use its discretionary authority any longer, his attorney requested the emergency review of the stay of removal that was granted August 31. If the stay had not granted, he and his wife would most likely have had to leave the U.S. in October.

Dr. Wanyama is teaching fall semester 2018 classes in the English department.

Augsburg University statements
Augsburg issued a statement from Augsburg President Paul C. Pribbenow following the Wanaymas’ April 5 ICE meeting, as well as statements before and following the previous ICE meeting, on March 9. These statements are posted below:

Augsburg University Faculty Senate statement
The Faculty Senate of Augsburg University wishes to express our unanimous and unconditional support for our friend and colleague, Professor Mzenga Wanyama. We urge all those who care about Professor Wanyama to consider signing the petition on his behalf at https://www.change.org/p/augsburg-university-support-augsburg-professor-mzenga-wanyama.

Augsburg University faculty statement
The Augsburg University faculty calls on the U.S. government to halt plans for the unjust deportation of our colleague Professor Mzenga Wanyama and his spouse and Augsburg nursing student Mary Mzenga and to permit their continued work and residence in the US. We stand against the anti-immigrant sentiment that is prompting the current wave of deportations and proudly affirm our status as an institution that supports the many immigrant and refugee members of our academic community.

Website
A website, www.mzenga.com, has been created by friends and supporters of Mzenga and Mary Wanyama. The site includes a statement from the Wanyamas, information about the next Immigration and Customs Enforcement meeting, and information about getting involved and providing support.

Work authorization and sponsorship
Augsburg University complies with federal law that requires employers to verify that employees are eligible to work in the United States. Dr. Wanyama has authorization to work in the United States, issued by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Sponsorship for permanent resident status is not an option at this time due to a restriction related to a J-1 two-year home residency requirement. The two-year home residency requirement means that those who come to the U.S. in J-1 status cannot become permanent residents in the U.S., change status, or get work or family-based visa status until they return to their country of last permanent residence for at least two years cumulatively. A request to waive the two-year home residency requirement was filed several years ago, but the waiver was denied. Augsburg is working with legal counsel to pursue all options available to us under the current scenario.

Augsburg Names Inaugural Professor of Choral Leadership and Conducting, Advancing Music Education in a Pluralistic World

Kristina Boerger head shot
Kristina Boerger

Augsburg University has named Kristina Boerger the inaugural John N. Schwartz Professor of Choral Leadership and Conducting, beginning fall 2018.

The Schwartz Professorship supports Augsburg’s 21st century choral program—combining music reflective of a pluralistic society, superior choral performance standards, and the University’s commitment to civic engagement and inclusion. Boerger, who most recently served as director of choral activities at DePauw University, will lead a creative and visionary program that honors Augsburg’s legacy of engaging music majors and students from across campus, forging innovation in choral music education.

“Kristina Boerger has collaborated with leading composers and artists in creatively advancing the field of choral study and performance,” said Augsburg University President Paul C. Pribbenow. “Her work has garnered national recognition, and we’re excited to have her join Augsburg this fall.”

Boerger holds degrees in music education and conducting from the University of Illinois; has worked in public school, collegiate, and professional settings; and spent a number of years working in New York, where her work received favorable reviews in The New York Times. In addition to conducting, she’s performed with numerous groups as well as being a soloist. Boerger also has founded choirs and is deeply committed to the values of inclusion, access and equity, musics of diverse cultures, and commissioning original works.  

Augsburg undertook an international search to fill the Schwartz Professorship. Named for alumnus John N. Schwartz ’67, the professorship will initially be supported by an operational fund that provides for creative choral activities. Like many Augsburg choir alumni, Schwartz was not a music major. He majored in business but found meaning in the choir and has been singing his entire life.

Augsburg adopts test-optional admissions policy

Augsburg University is introducing a pilot test-optional admissions policy.

Submission of ACT or SAT test scores for admission is optional for fall 2019 incoming undergraduate (first-year and transfer) student applicants, except in specific circumstances.

“The test-optional admission policy aligns with Augsburg’s mission of intentional diversity and is expected to increase the University’s pool of completed applicants each year,” said Nate Gorr, interim vice president of enrollment management.

For a number of student populations, standardized test scores may not reflect an accurate indication of academic ability — including, for example, people without access to test preparation courses and tutors; those who can’t afford to retake the test; people with learning and physical differences, and English language learners.

This also aligns with Augsburg‘s holistic admissions process, which looks at quantitative metrics and beyond. The application-review process allows Augsburg to maintain the University’s academic standards and ensure Augsburg admits students with the capacity to succeed here.

Faculty, earlier in April, approved the test-optional admissions change recommended by the University Council Enrollment Committee and endorsed by the Faculty Senate and the Academic Affairs Committee.

For additional information about the test-optional process, see A-mail post.

Advisory: Augsburg officially becomes ‘Augsburg University,’ welcomes most diverse class in 148-year history

University’s first-year undergraduate class more than 53 percent persons of color

(MINNEAPOLIS) — As Augsburg celebrates becoming “Augsburg University” on Sept. 5, it also welcomes an incoming first-year undergraduate class of more than 53 percent persons of color.

“As ‘Augsburg University,’ we embrace our leadership role as a university at the forefront of intentional diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Augsburg University President Paul C. Pribbenow.

“We are proud and grateful to welcome to our community the Class of 2021, made up of students of academic ability from an array of diverse backgrounds — including ethnicity, faith, socioeconomic status, gender identity, and more. We know that learning in a diverse community prepares young people to become engaged, thoughtful citizens, and problem solvers.”

The Augsburg University celebration at the Minneapolis campus includes food stations and opportunities for getting an Augsburg University logo T-shirt screen printed on-site, participating in a photo booth, assembling hygiene kits for the Augsburg Health Commons, which serves unsheltered persons who live in Minneapolis, and more. On Sept. 18, the Augsburg University teaching site in Rochester, Minn., will host a special ribbon-cutting to celebrate more than 20 years of providing graduate and undergraduate programs in that community.

PROGRAM and PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES

  • 9:20 a.m.: Faculty and staff line up along 22nd Avenue South to applaud students as they process into Hoversten Chapel, Foss Center, for the Opening Convocation.
  • 9:30 a.m.: Opening Convocation in Hoversten
  • 10:30 a.m.: Kick-Off Celebration and Lunch in the Quadrangle
  • 11:30 a.m.:  Augsburg University President Paul Pribbenow formally launches Augsburg University
  • 12:30 – 1 p.m.: First-Year Students Begin Service Projects

ADDITIONAL FACTS

  • Augsburg measures diversity beyond ethnicity and culture and welcomes persons in our community of diverse faiths, gender identities, socioeconomic backgrounds, learning styles, and military commitments. Nearly 10 percent of students self-identify as Muslim. More than 11 percent self-identify as LGBTQIA.
  • On Sept. 5, the Class of 2021 will donate nearly $35,000 in service work at more than 20 locations in Minneapolis.

ABOUT AUGSBURG UNIVERSITY

Augsburg University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and nine graduate degrees to nearly 3,600 students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and the Rochester site. Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings.

Advisory: Hennepin County Library’s Nobel Peace Prize Forum book club fosters dialogue across differences

(MINNEAPOLIS) — Members of the public have a unique opportunity to build knowledge and understanding of issues that have and continue to shape our world through a book club that is offered in partnership by the Hennepin County Library and Nobel Peace Prize Forum. Participants will explore the stories and writings of leading authors and public figures this summer, in advance of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Forum slated for September 15-16 at Augsburg College.

Nobel Peace Prize Forum - Inspiring Peacemaking
Hennepin County Library

“Engaged citizens who participate in the NPPF Book Club will gain considerate understanding of some issues and topics we will dig into at the Forum this September,” said Joe Underhill, program director of the NPPF. “In times of great flux and ongoing violence, developing dialogue across differences and compassion for our global neighbors is a key to building the understanding that leads to peacemaking.”

“We are honored to partner with such a venerable institution as the NPPF to offer this opportunity for our community,” said Stephanie Steinwedel, program and events manager for Hennepin County Library. “At a time when our world feels increasingly divided, bringing community members together to discuss ways we can  strengthen the ties that bind us feels more important than ever.”

SCHEDULE

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Advisory: Augsburg celebrates last commencement as a college on April 29

On September 1, school officially becomes ‘Augsburg University’

(MINNEAPOLIS)  The Augsburg community on Saturday, April 29, will celebrate the last graduating class of Augsburg College when 503 day, undergraduate students are conferred their degrees. Earlier this spring, Augsburg’s Board of Regents and the Augsburg Corporation approved the institution’s name change to “Augsburg University” effective September 1.

“It’s a historic moment for Auggies and a time for our community to celebrate nearly 150 years of educating young people and adults for lives of service,” said Augsburg President Paul C. Pribbenow. “As we send off our last class of Augsburg College students, we do so on the eve of becoming Augsburg University and of our sesquicentennial, and we do so knowing that these Auggies are prepared to use their gifts and talents to serve our world’s greatest needs.”

In the afternoon, the school will recognize more than 469 adult undergraduates, graduate and doctoral students, 50 of whom studied at the College’s Rochester site.

DAY UNDERGRADUATE COMMENCEMENT

When: 9 a.m., Saturday, April 29

Where:  Ceremonies in Si Melby Hall located on 23rd Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55454 http://www.augsburg.edu/about/directions-and-parking/ (Rain plan: Students will line up in Si Melby’s lower level and process up stairs, into gym.)

PROGRAM

9:30 a.m. – Student Processional, Christensen Center. Group proceeds, led by drummer, from Christensen Center down South 7-1/2 Street to Si Melby Hall. Faculty, in academic dress, line the streets and clap as students pass. Students carry flags representing home countries represented in student body.

10 a.m. – Invocation and Welcome

    • Commencement Speaker: Michele Norris, former host, National Public Radio’s All Things Considered.
    • Student Speaker: Eron “Winnie” Godi, of Rochester, Minnesota, will graduate with majors in international relations and gender, sexuality, and women’s studies, with a minor in peace and global studies. She maintained a 3.79 grade point average while juggling full-time work and full-time school, while also being integrally involved in the Augsburg community. At Augsburg, she was president of the Pan Afrikan Student Union and a past Peace Scholar. As an Augsburg LEAD Fellow, she has created an online magazine focused on celebrating the African diasporic arts and culture in Minnesota and the surrounding community. Off campus, Godi was a 2015-16  Museum Fellow at the Minnesota Historical Society and a finalist for the Princeton in Africa program, which matches recent college graduates with non-governmental organizations in Africa. She was also a finalist for the Humanity in Action Fellowship.
    • Honorary Degree Recipient: Beverly Daniel Tatum, President Emerita, Spelman College. Tatum is a nationally recognized authority on racial issues.
    • Conferring of Degrees
    • Recessional: Students exit Si Melby. Students, families gather in Murphy Square.

ABOUT AUGSBURG COLLEGE

Augsburg College has been part of the rapidly growing and diversifying city of Rochester for nearly 20 years. The main campus is set in a vibrant Minneapolis neighborhood at the heart of the Twin Cities, and offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and nine graduate degrees to nearly 3,600 students of diverse backgrounds. Augsburg College educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. The Augsburg experience is supported by an engaged community committed to intentional diversity in its life and work. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings.

Acclaimed StepUP Program, staff take on increased national role in reducing stigma

Patrice Salmeri named Executive Director for Recovery Advancement

Patrice Salmeri was appointed to the position of Director of Recovery Advancement for the nationally acclaimed StepUP Program.(MINNEAPOLIS)—Students across the nation who seek to live in recovery from substance use disorders will have greater opportunities for success thanks to the generosity of donors to the Augsburg College StepUP® Program.

“This is a pivotal moment for students in recovery across the nation and how we serve them,” said Augsburg College President Paul C. Pribbenow. “We are poised to leverage our 20-year national reputation as the gold standard in collegiate recovery in enhanced ways: to encourage and shape how other colleges and universities throughout the nation support young people in championing lives of recovery, to work to effect policies and programs that will staunch the opioid epidemic gripping our nation, and to reduce the stigma associated with addiction so that young people can lead lives of meaning.”

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