Rider students help nominate candidate for Nobel Peace Prize
The class started with about 20 different people or organizations that the students wanted to name. They had the freedom to choose who they liked, as long as they aligned with the values and purpose of the Nobel Prize.
“It gave me hope to know that there are people doing the work – and not because they are expecting recognition,” says Carlesso. “At the same time, it was exhausting because you were exposed to the real issues of the world. It was a mind-opening experience.
Knowing that their selection would eventually be submitted as an official nomination raised the stakes for classwork. “When I heard it was going to be official, my jaw dropped,” says Sydney Tierney, a sophomore majoring in French and Global Studies. “It was something real. We really had to hold on. It made me very grateful to have been able to take this course.
The list was cut in half once, then twice. It was up to the students to collaborate and refine their arguments to convince themselves that their choice was superior. The collaboration extended beyond the Rider students as the course, delivered remotely due to the pandemic, was held jointly with students and faculty from Notre Dame University in Louaize, Lebanon, by videoconference.
For many years, Fiske-Rusciano has forged similar ties in Rider’s Global Studies program, various semester-long international collaborations with institutions around the world in what is known as The Student Global course. Village®.
“I was extremely interested in connecting with people from another country, and international students brought a broad perspective to our work,” says Tierney. “We got to know each other, so we knew where the others were.”
Fiske-Rusciano also brought in several guest speakers to shed light on the work of the students and the history of the Nobel Prize, the life of Alfred Nobel and more. Guests included Dr. Asle Toje of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee and several representatives of non-governmental organizations from around the world.
Carlesso was instrumental in securing the eventual candidate chosen by the class. “He was the contestant who really touched me because I really believed in their purpose,” she says. “It made the difference in the end. The fact that our nomination letter is read and discussed by the Nobel Committee is something very special.