Growing out of conversations between the Norwegian Nobel Institute’s Director Jacob Sverdrup and civic leaders in Minnesota with strong ties to Norway including Walter Mondale, David Preus, Mike Roan, and Al Quie, the first Peace Prize Forum was held at St. Olaf College in 1989.
The first Forum honored Minnesota’s own Norman Borlaug, who spoke that year about the challenge of feeding the world. Since then, the Forum has grown to become a dynamic global event that brings thousands of professionals, citizens and students together with Nobel Peace Prize winners such as Kailash Satyarthi, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, President Jimmy Carter, Wangari Maathai, Muhammad Yunus, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Elie Wiesel, Oscar Arias Sanchez, and Tawakkol Karman.
For 30 years, the Nobel Peace Prize Forum Minneapolis provided an important, highly visible international platform that celebrated the accomplishments of Nobel Peace Prize winners. The annual Forum created opportunities to learn from the work of the laureates and provided opportunities to support the ongoing work of reducing violence and fostering peace while highlighting the work of the laureates. It served as a portal and a platform to draw inspiration from these exemplary leaders and to educate a new generation of peacemakers and change agents to carry forward the work and goals, as stated in Alfred Nobel’s will, of promoting “fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”
From 1989 until 2011 the event was co-hosted by the consortium of colleges of Norwegian and Lutheran heritage in the Upper Midwest (Augsburg University, Augustana University, Concordia College, St. Olaf College, and Luther College) and rotated on an annual basis between their campuses. In 2012 the consortium schools decided to locate the Forum in Minneapolis.
In addition to the founding schools, academic partners now include the University of Minnesota, Pacific Lutheran University, California State University-Sacramento, Juniata College, University of St. Thomas, and the University of Hawaii, Manoa, among others. Community partners include Global Minnesota, youthrive, the Norway House, and the American Swedish Institute.
Find out more about Mike Roan, one of the founders of the Forum.