Luther College was founded in 1861 by Norwegian graduates of Oslo University. The first of several colleges established by Norwegian immigrants in America, it looked to Oslo University as its mother institution.
The Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies provides funding for Luther College faculty or staff interested in developing courses or other academic opportunities (e.g., internships) focused on Nordic-related topics. Stipends can also be used for individual faculty research projects. The application process is administered through the Office of the Academic Dean.
Recent travel grants:
Victoria Christman, Summer 2019
Every year, Luther College participates in the Peace Scholar program, in which six Norwegian-heritage colleges in the US each send two outstanding students to Norway for the summer. For one week, these students stay at the Nansen Center for Peace and Dialog in Lillehammer, where they participate in a dialogue seminar with a group of graduate students drawn from conflict zones around the world. Together, they learn practical methods of dialogue and peacebuilding, which they are able to model in small groups. They are also introduced to practitioners from around the world who share their own post-conflict experiences with the group. After the Lillehammer week, the students move to Oslo, where they participate in the five-week International Summer School at the University of Oslo, with students drawn from more than 100 countries around the world.
For the past five years, I have worked closely with the Peace Scholars as part of my position in the Luther College Center for Ethics and Public Engagement. I have also collaborated with Dr. Steinar Bryn of the Nansen Center, who has long been a friend of Luther College, and has taught students in my International Studies courses during several visits to Decorah. Steinar’s work inspired me to develop a course on dialogue methods, to be included in the new Peace and Dialogue track of the International Studies major at Luther. I therefore applied for a Nordic Travel Center grant, which enabled me to travel to Lillehammer last summer, to take part in the first week of the Peace Scholar program at the Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue. My participation in the seminar, coupled with close work with Steinar and other leaders of the Nansen Center, enabled me to build a foundation of practical information, which formed the basis for this class. I spent the remainder of the summer researching the theoretical bases of various dialogue methodologies, and immersing myself in the most pertinent literature on post-conflict dialogue. I developed a syllabus for the first iteration of this course, entitled “Cultivating Peace: Methods of Dialogue,” which I taught on campus in J-term 2020. I am extremely grateful for the Nordic Travel Center grant, which provided me with the funding necessary to expand my own research knowledge and create a new course that will hopefully benefit our students for years to come.