2017 Peace Scholar Finalists Announced

The official seal of Augustana University

Augustana University's Peace Scholars Selection Committee today announced the finalists for the 2017 Peace Scholarship, a prestigious honor that features a seven-week study at the University of Oslo's International Summer School (ISS) in Norway, June 18 through Aug. 4.

The 2017 Peace Scholars will be announced during this week's Rendezvous, beginning at 3 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 10, in the Back Alley, located inside Morrison Commons. 

The finalists are:

Josh BarrowsJosh Barrows ’19 (an English, religion and philosophy triple major from Helena, Montana)

In Barrow’s letter of recommendation, he was described as someone who “lives to learn more (with an) enthusiasm and contagious spirit (that) inspires others around him ... He is committed to the principle and value that by educating others that barriers that once created hostility can build peaceful relationships. He knows that teaching is tough work, as well as learning.”

Jonas GjesdalJonas Gjesdal ’18 (a government and economics double major from Bergan, Norway)

In Gjesdal’s letter of recommendation, he was described as “academically superior … (someone whose) performance both in and out of the classroom can clearly be described as exceptional. Through a combination of his personal experiences as an international student and his extensive coursework on identity conflict and international relations, (he) has confirmed his desire to have a career that combines the theories of international politics, peace, and conflict resolution.”

Josh JatonJosh Jaton ’19 (a music and classics double major from Sioux Falls)

Jaton’s letter of recommendation described him as “a true liberal arts student, pursuing studies from engineering to classics to piano. (He is someone) who has a great passion for his advocacy work and (is committed to) building bridges between groups. Even during the recent political turmoil in this country, (he) has spoken positively about growth, awareness, and change … rather than attack or criticize opponents.”

Austin KrohnkeAustin Krohnke ’18 (a biology, religion and Spanish triple major from Waukee, Iowa)

Krohnke’s letter of recommendation described him as someone who “travels easily across cultural, social, and personal boundaries so that he can learn from and with others. He is well respected by both faculty and students for his willingness to take risks with others, to change his own mind, and yet also hold with a gracious openness to his own beliefs.”

Tia McKillipTia McKillip ‘18 (a government, business administration and international studies triple major from Sioux Falls)

In McKillip’s letter of recommendation she was described as someone who “intellectually and temperamentally … is very interested in issues of peace and reconciliation and … is seeking a career in conflict resolution and peace building. She is mature, has a degree of personal polish well above her age, is earnest, and is academically well prepared.”

Jessica RufJessica Ruf ’18 (an English and journalism double major from Sioux Falls)

Ruf’s letter of recommendation described her as someone who is “an exceptional student with a strong concern for issues of peace and justice who (in the future) hopes to use journalism to draw attention to the situations of people who are underprivileged as a way of working toward peace and justice. As a person, Jessica is mature, responsible, and has an appropriate self-confidence.”

"We were extremely impressed by the quality of students who applied for the 2017 Peace Scholars programs," the Selection Committee wrote earlier this week.

"We're always encouraged to see our students thinking and writing about peace."

— Peace Scholars Selection Committee

The Peace Scholars program is sponsored by the Nobel Peace Prize Forum, a consortium composed of Augustana, Augsburg College, Concordia College (Moorhead), Luther College, Pacific Lutheran University, and St. Olaf College. Two students from each of the participating colleges will spend seven weeks at the University of Oslo’s International Summer School deepening their understanding of issues related to peace, justice, democracy, and human rights.

While in Oslo, Peace Scholars will embark on coursework that will include the causes of armed conflicts, peace building, peacemaking, humanitarian interventions and aid, peacekeeping operations, gender, civil society and nonviolence and peace movements. In conjunction with their studies, the scholars will also visit a number of influential institutions including, the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO), Nobel InstituteOslo Center for Peace and Human Rights and the Nobel Peace Center.

Upon returning to their respective campuses, the 12 scholars will continue to communicate and find ways to build on the Oslo experience together. They will also be expected to play a leadership role in peace activities on their campuses, and assist with the upcoming Nobel Peace Prize Forum.