The 55th annual Nobel Conference will be held next week and students this year, will have many opportunities to engage with the conference through conversations, visual experiences, and through experiencing the conference itself.
This year, the topic is “Climate Changed: Facing Our Future.” The conference is set to take place on campus on September 24 and 25. Students can expect to have many visitors on campus, as tickets for the conference have sold out.
“The conference features five world-leading experts who have contributed to the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) along with author and historian Dr. Amitav Ghosh (The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable) and Canadian Inuit advocate and author Sheila Watt-Cloutier (The Right to Be Cold), the conference will explore the science and ethics of climate change as well as approaches to mitigation and adaptation,” JJ Akin, Gustavus Director of Media Relations & Internal Communication, said.
The conference this year will also have a special focus on the humanities. Pop up dance pieces will take place in different places around campus for the duration of the conference. Additionally, there will be a performance titled “Recitations and Meditations on the Earth” that will take place on Tuesday night in the Bjorling Recital Hall. This performance will have both musical pieces and readings.
Seniors Bri Jol and Rachel Belvedere, along with this year’s student hosts, have worked with the conference planning committee to set up an opportunity to meet with the conference speakers and have conversations about the work they are doing. The student-only sessions will take place at 4:30 p.m. on September 24 on the second floor of Beck Hall. Each session will have two speakers to discuss a specific issue.
The topics for the student-only sessions include the human rights challenges of climate change, detecting the causes of climate change, and the humanities and art’s responses to climate change.
This year’s conference chair, Dr. Anna Versluis, is proud of the work that students have put into the conference.
“I would like to congratulate Gustavus students for their involvement in this year’s Nobel Conference and in climate activism more generally. Lots of campus groups‒the Environmental Action Coalition (EAC), Groundswell, Building Bridges, Nobel Conference students hosts, Big Hill Farm, the Kitchen Cabinet, and more‒are doing good work to encourage individual, institutional, and political change on climate issues,” Versluis said.
Students have taken an active role in the preparations for this year’s conference.
“The themes we choose to address in this year’s “Climate Changed” Nobel Conference bears the imprint of student involvement: students have worked with faculty and staff to plan Nobel 55 from day one‒some students even earn academic credit for their contributions to the planning group through a class we offered. “Climate Changed: Facing Our Future” is a different and better conference because of student input,” Versluis said.
As this year’s Nobel Conference approaches, students should be ready to engage in a wide variety of experiences to learn more about climate change.