Striving for Peace: Roots of Chage

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For the Media

President Jimmy Carter to Deliver Keynote Address at Nobel Peace Prize Forum

Jimmy Carter (James Earl Carter, Jr.), 39th president of the United States, was born Oct. 1, 1924, in the small farming town of Plains, Ga., and grew up in the nearby community of Archery. He received his B.S. from the U.S. Naval Academy and studied reactor technology and nuclear physics at Union College, later serving as senior officer of the pre-commissioning crew of the nuclear submarine Seawolf. He married Rosalynn Smith, also of Plains, in 1946. When his father died in 1953, he returned home to operate the family’s farm and business.

He was elected to the Georgia Senate in 1962 and became governor of that state in 1971. He won his party’s nomination on the first ballot at the 1976 Democratic National Convention and was elected president on Nov. 2, 1976. He served as president from 1977 to 1981.

Significant foreign policy accomplishments of President Carter’s administration included the Panama Canal treaties, the Camp David Accords, the treaty of peace between Egypt and Israel, the SALT II treaty with the Soviet Union and the establishment of U.S. diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. He championed human rights throughout the world. On domestic issues, the administration’s achievements included a comprehensive energy program conducted by a new Department of Energy; deregulation in energy, transportation, communications and finance; major educational programs under a new Department of Education; and major environmental protection legislation, including the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.

In 1982, he became University Distinguished Professor at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., and founded the Carter Center, a nonpartisan and not-for-profit organization that addresses national and international issues of public policy.
Carter Center fellows, associates and staff join Mr. Carter in efforts to resolve conflict, promote democracy, protect human rights, and prevent disease and other afflictions. The center’s Global 2000 program advances health and agriculture in the developing world.

On Dec. 10, 2002, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2002 to Mr. Carter “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.”
St.Olaf College press release»
Keynote address »


Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General Emerita of the World Health Organization, and former Prime Minister of Norway

Friday opening plenary
A medical doctor and Master of Public Health (MPH), Gro Harlem Brundtland spent 10 years as a physician and scientist in the Norwegian public health system. For more than 20 years she was in public office, first in the Ministry of Health, then as Minister of the Environment and finally, in 1981, appointed as Prime Minister. At 41, she was the youngest person and the first woman to hold the office of Prime Minister in Norway. With two additional terms, from 1986–89 and 1990–96, Dr. Brundtland headed the Norwegian government for more than a decade.

Throughout her political career, Dr. Brundtland developed a growing concern for issues of global significance. In 1983 then-United Nations Secretary-General Javier Pèrez de Cuèllar invited her to establish and chair the World Commission on Environment and Development. The commission, which is best known for developing the broad political concept of sustainable development — and which is often referred to as the “Brundtland Commission” — published its report, Our Common Future, in April 1987. The commission’s recommendations led to the Earth Summit, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

Dr. Brundtland stepped down as Prime Minister in October 1996. When she began as Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1998, her many skills as doctor, politician, activist and manager came together. In her acceptance speech for the World Health Assembly, Dr. Brundtland said:

“What is our key mission? I see WHO’s role as being the moral voice and the technical leader in improving health of the people of the world. Ready and able to give advice on the key issues that can unleash development and alleviate suffering, I see our purpose to be combating disease and ill-health — promoting sustainable and equitable health systems in all countries.”
St.Olaf College press release
Plenary address »


Dr. Eboo Patel, Executive Director
Interfaith Youth Core

Saturday closing plenary and call to action
Eboo Patel has worked as an organizer, teacher and artist on four continents. He completed his Doctorate in the Sociology of Religion at Oxford University, England, on a Rhodes Scholarship. Dr. Patel was named one of “30 social visionaries under 30 changing the world” by Utne Reader in 2002.

In June 1998 Dr. Patel helped to create the Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based international interfaith organization that brings together youth from different faith communities to engage in social action projects and to share how their different faiths inspire social justice.

Dr. Patel serves on the boards of the International Interfaith Centre, the North American Interfaith Network and the Global Youth Action Network, and is president of the board of CrossCurrents magazine. His essays have appeared in God Within: Our Spiritual Future, Global Uprising (, Interreligious Insight and Spiritual Perspectives on America’s Role as a Superpower. He has given talks all over the world, most notably at the World Trade Center in Barcelona, the University of Cape Town, UNESCO Paris and Oxford University.
Plenary address »


The Foundation for International Community Assistance

Friday evening plenary panel
FINCA is an anti-poverty organization that provides financial services to the world’s poorest families so they can create their own jobs, raise household incomes and improve their standard of living. FINCA, which began helping families to create their own solutions to poverty in 1984, now delivers these services through a global network of locally managed, self-supporting institutions. The organization’s founders invented the "Village Banking™ method" of credit delivery, now used by more than 80 organizations worldwide. In this model, FINCA offers small loans and a savings program to those turned down by traditional banks. With these loans, families can invest in, and build, their own small businesses and their income-earning capacity. FINCA Village Banking groups—borrowing groups of 10 to 50 neighbors—promote the success of entire communities. Worldwide, FINCA’s clients post repayment rates of over 96 percent.

In 2002, FINCA’s network of 20 countries in Africa, the Americas and the
Newly Independent States served 227,388 active clients with a total loan disbursement of $136 million. Client savings rose to $9.5 million, which
shows the impact of the village banking loan system.

In December 2001, FINCA was selected from among more than 800,000 U.S. nonprofits for inclusion in Worth magazine’s "Top 100 Charities" – nominated by its own donors. The magazine’s cover story, "A Gift for Giving," recommended charities distinguished by their mission impact, financial controls and sound management.


The Honorable Julia Chang Bloch, former U.S. Ambassador to Nepal, and 2003-04 Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow at St. Olaf College

Friday afternoon panel session
Julia Chang Bloch grew up in San Francisco after moving to the United States at age 9 from China. She attended the University of California, Berkeley, where she received her bachelor’s degree in communications and public policy, and later Harvard University, where she received her master’s degree in government and East Asia regional studies. In 1986 Northeastern University awarded her an honorary doctorate of humane letters.

Much of her career has dealt with international relations and diplomacy, beginning with the Peace Corps in Sabah, Malaysia, in 1964, and culminating as U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Nepal in 1989, the first Asian American in U.S. history to serve at that rank.

From 1981–88, Ambassador Bloch served as a confirmed presidential appointee at the U.S. Agency for International Development; she also held positions as a U.S. Senate professional staff member and counsel, and as a deputy director at the U.S. Information Agency. From 1996–98, she was president and CEO of the United States-Japan Foundation, a private grant-making institution. In between, she spent three years in the corporate sector, as group executive vice president at Bank of America, where she created and headed the Corporate Relations Department.

Currently Julia Chang Bloch is President of the US-China Education Trust, concurrently serving as Ambassador-in-Residence at the University of Maryland, College Park, Institute for Global Chinese Affairs. She is also Starr Senior Fellow for U.S.-China Relations at Peking University in Beijing, and Distinguished Adviser of the School of International and Public Affairs and Visiting Professor at the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, China.

Her recent publications include: "Commercial Diplomacy," in Living with China, U.S.-China Relations in the Twenty-first Century (New York: W.W. Norton, 1995); and "Japanese Foreign Aid and the Politics of Burden Sharing," in Yen for Development (New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 1991). She also recently authored an article, "Prepared To Be a Superpower?" (Dec. 1, 2003) for The Globalist, a daily online feature service.


Janet Finn, associate professor of social work, University of Montana, and the 2004 "Globalization and Social Responsibility" sponsored speaker

Thursday afternoon campus public lecture and Friday afternoon panel session
Janet Finn received her B.A. at the University of Montana, her Master of Social Work from Eastern Washington University and her Ph.D. in social work and anthropology from the University of Michigan. She was an assistant professor of social work and anthropology at Michigan from 1999–2001, and in 2001 she returned to Montana, where she had also taught from 1994–99 as an associate professor of social work.

Her interests are in the area of community practice, gender, youth, social participation, social work theory and international social work practice. Finn is the author of numerous articles in social work, anthropology and women's studies and of a book, Tracing the Veins: Of Copper, Culture and Community from Butte to Chuquicamata (California, 1998). Her current projects include a participatory study of seven grassroots women's organizations in Montana and Chile and a popular history of LaVictoria, a poor neighborhood in Santiago, Chile. Finn is committed to linking social work and social justice in her teaching, research and practice.

Additional Friday Speakers»