Students mingle in Poland with Nobel Prize winners

Amanda Hoskins

Twelve students and four professors traveled to Poland to attend the 2013 World Summit of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates on Oct. 19 through Oct. 26 with the Albert Schweitzer Institute.

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The students arrived in Warsaw, Poland and were given a tour of the city where they visited museums and learned about the history of Poland. For the following three days they attended the conference with 150 other students from all over the world.

During the conference they got to hear from different Nobel Peace Prize laureates and leaders of nonprofit organizations. They talked about issues such as social justice, human rights, peace building and national security.

Dr. Albert Schweitzer, whom the Quinnipiac institute is named after, was a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate in 1952. The Executive Director of the Albert Schweitzer Institute, David Ives, has become a large part of the summits for the past nine years as part of the corporate committee that runs the event.

He took students when the Summit was in Berlin, Chicago, Hiroshima and now this past Summit in Warsaw.

“The faculty, staff and students that have been on this trip say that the experience is constantly in their minds,” Ives said.

Quinnipiac alumnus Louis Venturelli went on the trip to Hiroshima and now works with organizing the student-centered part of the conference.

After attending the conference, the students traveled to Kraków, Poland where professor of communications Ewa Callahan gave them a tour. The following day the students went to Auschwitz, a concentration camp built and operated by Nazi Germany during World War II.

For many students, this was the most memorable part of the trip and Ives said when the students arrived they were quiet, observant and extremely moved.

 “It was a very interesting, somber, but also beneficial experience for all of us students to learn about what actually went on there and walk the grounds of Auschwitz where millions of people died, and to never forget the history that happened there,” Alex Soucy, a fifth year MBA student and program student leader, said.

 Senior broadcast journalism major Raye-Lani Nyhuis said going to Auschwitz put everything in perspective for her. She says it summed up everything she learned at the conference and made her realize the efforts that people put in to make sure the world is peaceful.

 “It kind of makes me want to go the extra mile to stop things from happening,” Nyhuis said.

 The trip as a whole was an eye opening opportunity for the students, according to Ives.

He said he met a girl a couple of years ago at the Summit from Hiroshima who was says the summit changed her life because it gave her connections from outside of Japan and now she is working for international social businesses.

Networking with students from around the world was another important aspect to the trip.

“I think the most impactful part of the trip was definitely meeting students from all over the world and learning about their lives, and the non profit organizations that they are a part of or the peace building efforts they are a part of,” Soucy said.

Fifth year MBA student Anthony Allen encourages students to travel and accept abroad opportunities.

“Say yes to things because it is going to be a little frightening and it is going to be a new experience, something you have never done before in another county, but when you come back to the United States it is never going to be the same.”

One of the student leaders on the trip Kelly Lavallee was greatly impacted from the trip, especially after hearing Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunis speak. Yunis gave out one loan to help one person in Bangladesh, and sparked the global microcredit movement which eliminated 50 percent of the nation’s poverty.

“It all started from one person making that choice to make a difference in one other person’s life,” Lavalle said. “That is kind of the summary in my eyes and the most impactful thing for me is that you just have to make the choice for one person because you never know how that is going to spread and affect others.”