According to Judith Stoutland '54, an organizer of the exhibit, Building a Culture of Peace focuses on educating the children of the world about non-violence. "It presents such basic material about peace and peace making, non-violence and ways in which people of the world can live together in harmony, though they differ," she said. I would like every child in Northfield to see it.
Stoutland became interested in the exhibit after visiting the display in St. Paul. The exhibit was particularly moving to her, and she expressed a desire to bring the exhibit to Northfield. Stoutland, a St. Olaf alumna and a long-time instructor in the English Department, acted as the liaison between the 2004 Peace Prize Forum, hosted by St. Olaf, and other schools.
The exhibit, begun in 2001, features large photos and quotes printed on fabric and displayed on upright stands, focusing on peace-building education. The exhibit enjoyed incredible success during its two-year stint in the UN, and developers decided to make it available in a smaller format for anyone who wanted to display it. The exhibit is free to display and free to visit. The Social Sciences faculty, Globalization and Social Responsibility Conference and the Minnesota Chapter of Soka-Gakkai International have supported the exhibit.
On Feb. 9, the Northfield community was invited to a reception at the exhibit, featuring speakers as well as music from the Northfield Youth Choir's Junior Singers.
Elsa Marty '07 has been active on the planning committee for this year's Globalization Conference, and thinks that the exhibit ties in well with the theme of the conference. "It is specific and detailed about hopes for the future, she said. So often, we focus on the problems, not the way to build this new world."
Placing the exhibit in the Tostrud/Skoglund lobby was, for Stoutland, the ideal place for the display to receive additional visibility and support from the community and St. Olaf. "It couldn't be in a better place," she said.
According to Stoutland, the exhibit and the Globalization Conference share similar ideas at the core. "They have the same focus on change," she said. "A better world is possible. Difficult, but possible."