Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research students Corrie Tice, Jessica Lee and Jessica Schaffner Wilen, and undergraduate students Rachel Kutten ’13 and Gloria Kuoh ’12, were among a select group of students from colleges and universities throughout the world invited to attend the 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. The students were joined by GSSWSR Dean Darlyne Bailey, who helped arrange Bryn Mawr's involvement in the event.
Lee sent back the following account from the Summit...
What an honor it is to be here in Chicago for the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates! This special opportunity came from an invitation that Dean Darlyne Bailey received from former colleagues and co-authors to bring a delegate of social work students to the World Summit. She extended the invitation to the rest of the College and the resulting Bryn Mawr College delegate is comprised of Corrie Tice, Jessica Schaffner Wilen and myself of GSSWSR, and Rachel Kutten and Gloria Kuoh, of the undergraduate college. We are thrilled to be here.
As we pulled up to the entrance of the JW Marriott on Sunday evening, the road was closed due to roadwork. As our taxi driver performed an awkward K turn, we saw that the “roadwork” blocking the street was in actuality a fleet of black Cadillacs. As all of the Nobel laureates (including the Dalai Lama and President Jimmy Carter) are staying at the JW Marriott, the hotel is abuzz with excitement and heightened security.
The Bryn Mawr delegate is part of the very first Youth Delegation of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. Other participating institutions include: Haverford College, Quinnipiac University, Teacher’s College of Columbia, Soka University (Japan) and University of Heidelberg (Germany). During an icebreaker at the Youth Delegation meeting, the Bryn Mawr delegate composed this introductory haiku:
Bryn Mawr in the world
Bachelors, Masters, Ph.D.
Social justice all
The opening panel
The first panel at the World Summit consisted of four former presidents: Jimmy Carter of the United States of America, Mikhail Gorbachev of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Frederik Willem de Klerk of the Republic of South Africa, and Lech Walesa of the Republic of Poland.
Yet rather than discussing politics, they spoke to the importance of youth as change agents for new challenges for peace. As Corrie pointed out, these former world leaders critically assessed the realities of power and acknowledged that countries promoting justice are also responsible for some of the injustices that exist in the world.
In the evening, we had the pleasure of meeting several of the Nobel laureates and Summit organizers including: President Frederik Willem de Klerk, Professor Muhammad Yunas, Professor Jody Williams, UN Ambassador Thomas Stelzer, Kerry Kennedy, Dr. Shirin Ebadi, and Mr. Alexander Liebeskind.
Despite their busy Summit schedules, these laureates graciously took the time to engage with us and pose for pictures. Jody Williams reflected on the commencement speech she delivered at Bryn Mawr College, Ambassador Stelzer told us about his visit to the College in the 1990s, and Kerry Kennedy asked us to pose for a snapshot on her phone so she could post it on her Twitter feed!
A discussion of the panels and more photographs are soon to come!