The Norway House +
Minnesota Peace Initiative

serves to raise awareness, educate, and foster engagement related to peace issues and peacemaking efforts worldwide.

Minnesota Peace Initiative programs feature prominent speakers, panels, and interactive experiences to achieve enlightening dialogue and inspire civic engagement. Past speakers have included former Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, President, Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights and Brian J. Atwood, Dean, Humphrey School of Public Affairs.


In addition to the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights -- U.S. Foundation, the Minnesota Peace Initiative collaborates with Minnesota International NGO Network (MINN), Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Sons of Norway, and Minnesota International Center.

The Minnesota Peace Initiative was founded in 2008 by Norway House Going Viking award winner, Janet Dolan and her husband, William Moore, who share a passion for this work.



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A Moderated Discussion

Tuesday | April 30, 2019 | 7:00pm - 9:00pm

Norway House's Minnesota Peace Initiative (MPI) presents a free, open-to-the-public program, "Climate Change Comes Home!" Our speakers bring environmental and economical expertise to this discussion, and will focus on the effects of climate change within our region. With the belief that a well-informed public is critical to a healthier environment, MPI hopes this forum will provide an opportunity for thoughtful discussion of climate change in Minnesota.

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Janet Dolan
President of Act III Enterprises, Founder of Minnesota Peace Initaitive


  1. Dr. Lee Frelich
    Researcher, Director of the University of Minnesota Center for Forest Ecology, and Fellow at the Institute on the Environment

  2. Dr. Gayle Schueller
    Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer at 3M

Go Further

Dr. Frelich had a few suggestions concerning the planting and protection of trees during the program, and our audience were very interested in learning more. Check out his recommended organization, Green Again Madagascar, and learn how you can help reduce global warming.

Fall 2018

Degeneration of Democracy

Keynote Speakers for this program include:
Tom Hanson, currently serves as Program Secretary of the Saint Paul-Minneapolis Committee on Foreign Relations and as a lecturer/consultant for the Great Decisions program at Global Minnesota.

Elaine Tyler May, a historian of the United States in the twentieth century and a Regents Professor in the Department of American Studies at the University of Minnesota.

Jonas Bergan Draege, a joint postdoctoral research fellow with the Belfer Center's Middle East Initiative (MEI) and the Center for International Development's Evidence for Policy Design.


Spring 2018

The New Silk Road: a Path to Peace?

In a time of increasing tension on the international political stage, China’s 21st century attempt to recreate the Silk Road with their One Belt, One Road Initiative poses the question of what impacts this initiative will have on a global and regional scale, especially in regards to peace efforts.

To discuss China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative and the future impacts this initiative will have, Norway House's Minnesota Peace Initiative has invited three panelists to take part in an engaging discussion on the issue.

Joining us will be three experts knowledgeable in the current situation with China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative and the political landscape. These experts include:

  • Carla Freeman, Director of the Foreign Policy Institute at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

  • Tom Hanson, Program Secretary of the St. Paul-Minneapolis Committee on Foreign Relations.

  • Jonathan E. Hillman, Director of the Reconnecting Asia Project and Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington D.C., where he holds the Simon Chair in Political Economy.

RECAP From the MPI Committee:


Thank you to everyone who attended and supported our latest Minnesota Peace Initiative event, CHINA - The New Silk Road: A Path to Peace? This event brought in over 200 attendees for an evening of great conversation regarding a very important global issue.

The speakers were exceptional: Carla Freeman, Director of the Foreign Policy Institute at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Tom Hanson, Program Secretary of the St. Paul-Minneapolis Committee on Foreign Relations, and last but not least, Jonathan E. Hillman, Director of the Reconnecting Asia Project and Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington D.C., where he holds the Simon Chair in Political Economy.

A very special thank you to new friends of the Minnesota Peace Initiative program, who supported this event: Global Minnesota, Minnesota-China Business Council, and Fredrikson & Byron, P.A. Please visit the our website and watch for updates regarding our next MPI program.

Best Regards,

The Minnesota Peace Initiative Committee:
Janet Dolan, Larry Bakken, Jeanne Porter, Robin Cole, Bill Bloedow, Jim Lewis, Tom Hanson, Sue Droegemueller, Karen Tuzcu, Ken Hjelm, Peter Skjervold, Mark Knapp, Khalid Dayib, David Distad, Helen Stidger Distad, Anja Kroll, Soni Styrlund and Lydia Hubert-Peterson


Fall 2017

Our water is sick. And getting sicker.

We’re surrounded by water and can’t live without it. But our water is sick, and getting sicker every day.

Joining us will be three experts knowledgable in the science of water and its quality,to discuss the impending water crisis with us, including Geir Wing Gabrielsen, Ecotoxicology Research Program Leader at the Norwegian Polar Institute, Dr. John Downing, Director of the Sea Grant College Program and professor in the Departmment of Biology at the University of Minnesota, and Nancy Wallace, Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program.

View PDFs of Our Water is Sick and Getting Sicker presentations by all three speakers!


Spring 2017

Russia: Friend, Foe, or...

Two Russia experts explore answers to the question, "Is Russia a friend, foe, or something else?" They say the challenges in the U.S.-Russia relationship are acute, the potential for miscommunication is rising, and the stakes are high.

Arms Race.jpg

Fall 2016

Rising Nationalism and the New Arms Race

One by one, many countries around the world have begun to turn inward---in identity, rhetoric, and international policies. This rise in nationalism has received widespread media attention. A more quiet trend, the significant growth in nuclear arms and testing, has only recently hit mainstream public consciousness. Once an issue popularly thought to be resolved with the end of the Cold War, proliferation of nuclear weapons has become the "new arms race." How are these two phenomena, nationalism and the arms race, connected? 
Our two panelists, Tom Collina, Director of Policy at Ploughshares Fund, and
Robert Kelley, Associate Professor at American University's School of International Service, discuss the rise in nationalism and its relationship with the new arms race. 


Spring 2016

Climate Conflict

Three panelists utilize their specific areas of expertise to discuss the intersections between climate and conflict.

This group of panelists included Dr. Shannon Smith, Deputy Assistant Secretary, East Africa, Sudan, and South Sudan in the Bureau of African Affairs, US Department of State, Dr. Jessica Hellmann, Director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, and Shiloh Fetzek, Senior Fellow for International Affairs at The Center for Climate and Security.

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Fall 2015

Europe in motion: The Refugee crisis, a discussion

The Minnesota Peace Initiative presents a panel of experts who analyze the global magnitude of the refugee crisis in Europe.

The panelists include Daniel Wordsworth, President and CEO of the American Refugee Committee International, Jennifer Prestholdt, the Deputy Director and Director of International Justice for The Advocates for Human Rights, Jan Petersen, Former Norwegian Foreign Minister & Ambassador to the UN in Vienna, and Dianna Shandy, Professor of Anthropology at Macalester.


Fall 2014


ISIL | Ukraine | Arab Awakening

A panel of experts come together to discuss what is currently happening throughout the world, and which values they think should guide US efforts during this time of turbulence.

The panelists include Brian Atwood, a longtime State Department diplomat, John Radsan, a former CIA officer, and the global philanthropy adviser Susan Cornell.

Spring 2014

Ukraine: How WIll it affect East/west relations? Speed bump or major rift?

To discuss the current events unfolding within Ukraine and what impact they will have on relations between Russia and the West, the Minnesota Peace Initiative invited a group of panelists to take part in a conversation on the issue.

The panelists included in this forum are Eric Schwartz, the Dean of Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Tom Hanson, Program Secretary of the St. Paul-Minneapolis Committee on Foreign Relations, and the Introduction was done by John Mazis, Professor of Western European and Russian Studies at Hamline University.


Fall 2013

Social Media: War or peace in 140 characters

To discuss the role of social media in the current political landscape, the Minnesota Peace Initiative put together a panel to discuss the crucial issues associated with social media.

The panel included Samuel Kaplan, US Ambassador, David Kansas, Executive Director of MPR, Ali Erol, a professional lecturer in American University’s School of International Service, Ellen Noble, a Georgetown Student, Bryan Cunningham, Partner at Cunningham Levy Muse LLP, Meredith McQuaid, International  Programs at the University of Minnesota as the moderator.


Fall 2012

Arab Spring: What's happening now?

The revolutionary wave that began in Tunisia in 2010 eventually spread to other countries throughout the region. The events that took place during this time have greatly impact the current political landscape found within the region.

To discuss these critical issues, the Minnesota Peace Initiative invited a group of panelists to take part in an engaging discussion on all aspects of the Arab Spring, but specifically focusing on what’s happening now.

The panel included Norwegian Ambassador Rolf Willy Hansen, Ambassador Sam Kaplan, Ragui Assaad, Oar El Zoheiry, Hannah Allam, and Dean Meredith McQuaid.

Spring 2012

The whole world is watching

Journalist Roxana Saberi spent 100 days in an Iranian prison and is committed advocate for human rights in Iran. She is the author of Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran. Ms. Saberi gave an up-to-the-minute assessment of what is going on in Iran and what it means for all of us.

Fall 2011

Dialogue for peace - Forum & expo

In Fall 2011, the Minnesota Peace Initiative put together a forum and expo on the topic of the promotion of peace efforts worldwide.

The forum brought together a group of six experts to discuss different efforts made to promote peace on a global scale.

The panel included:

  • Meredith McQuaid, the Dean of Global Programs and GPS Alliance at the University of Minnesota

  • Khadra Abdi, a Master of Public Policy at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs

  • Chingwell Mutombu, the founder of the First Step Initiative

  • Kathleen Graham, an International Human Rights & Development Consultant

  • Karlyn Eckman, a Senior Research Associate at the University of Minnesota

  • Susan Cornell Wilkes, Adventures in Giving

In addition to a forum, the Minnesota Peace Initiative also put together an expo to help interested individuals discover and connect with Minnesota non-profit organizations that help contribute to peace efforts and the empowerment of women and children affected by conflict throughout the world.

Expo Participants included:

  • Compatible Technology International

  • Friends of Ngong Road

  • Peace House Africa

  • Twin Cities Heifer International

  • Via International

Spring 2011

Empowerment of Women through Education and Economics

 The empowerment of women is essential for the prosperity of communities throughout the globe. To discuss the empowerment of women through education and economics, The Minnesota Peace Initiative invited former Prime Minister of Norway, Kjell Magne Bondevik to discuss this important topic.