2016 Peace Scholar Finalists Announced

Augustana Peace Prize Finalists

Finalists pictured from left to right: Spencer O'Hara ‘18, Justin Kautz ’18, President Rob Oliver, Austin Krohnke ‘18, Jasmin Fosheim ‘17 and Rahiwa Mussa ‘17.


Augustana University's Peace Scholars Selection Committee today announced the five finalists for the 2016 Peace Scholarship, a prestigious honor that features a seven-week study at the University of Oslo's International Summer School (ISS) in Norway, June 19 through Aug. 5.

The finalists are:

  • Jasmin Fosheim ‘17 (a double major in special education and psychology from Pierre, South Dakota). In Fosheim’s letter of recommendation, she was described as “a poised and intelligent person … who will live a life of service and make the world better in a significant way.”
  • Justin Kautz ’18 (a double major in English and economics from Tea, South Dakota). In Kautz’s letter of recommendation, he was described as someone who “has a very open mind … the attitude of a global citizen … [and] has the mental and emotional dexterity to make this opportunity a profoundly transformational experience.”
  • Austin Krohnke ‘18 (a triple major in biology, religion and Spanish from Waukee, Iowa). In Krohnke’s letter of recommendation, he was described as “intellectually brilliant, an excellent ambassador, an eager student of the global village … and one of the best students that I have encountered.”
  • Rahiwa Mussa ‘17 (a triple major in government, economics and philosophy from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia). In Mussa's letter of recommendation, she was described as a “change-maker [who leaves you with a] positive impression, due to her polished demeanor and intellectual substance. [She is] one of the best contributors to class.”
  • Spencer O'Hara ‘18 (a triple major in economics, government and international studies from Aberdeen, South Dakota). In O’Hara’s letter of recommendation, he was described as an “articulate and intelligent young man with a passion for the study of political processes, social and economic policies, and intellectual debate. [He is] determined in his focus, showing initiative and imagination.”

The two 2016 Augustana Peace Scholars will be announced at 3 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26, at the beginning of the regularly scheduled Rendezvous in the Back Alley of the Morrison Commons.

"We continue to be impressed by the quality of students who apply to our Peace Scholars programs," the Selection Committee wrote earlier this week. "In addition to the finalists, we congratulate all the applicants for the 2016 Peace Scholars program. It’s encouraging to see so many students from so many places in the world thinking and writing about peace. We now face the extremely difficult job of narrowing the field from five finalists who will be interviewed by our committee this coming week to the two Peace Scholars who will announced on Friday, Feb. 26."

Members of the Peace Scholars Selection Committee are: Dr. Reynold Nesiba (economics), Dr. John Pennington (music), Dr. Pamela Schroeder (nursing) and Erin Kane (International Programs Office).

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.

The two Augustana Peace Scholars will be introduced at the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Forum set for June 6-8 at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. The 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Forum will concentrate on issues related to sustainable and inclusive peacemaking and peacebuilding. It will feature the work of 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Forum Honored Laureate Kailash Satyarthi.

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 Institute, Oslo 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.