The Haverford student delegation (Jacki LaBua '13, Jenine Abbassi '12, Josh Mussa '13 and Abby Sweeney '15) at Jane Adams Hull-House in Chicago.
Fords Join Nobel Laureates At Chicago Summit
The 12th annual World Summit of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates welcomed former Peace Prize winners such as Jimmy Carter, Mikhail Gorbachev, Bill Clinton and the Dalai Lama to Chicago in April for panels and discussions on peacemaking and human rights. But this year’s conference, the first ever held in on U.S. soil, also featured a delegation of less well-known peace advocates: four Haverford students.
Invited by 1947 Nobel Prize winners the American Friends Service Committee and sponsored by the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship, Jenine Abbassi ’12, Jacki LaBua ’13, Josh Mussa ’13 and Abigail Sweeney ’15 were chosen from more than 30 Haverford applicants to go to the Windy City for three days to learn from and engage with some of the leading minds in social justice and humanitarianism in the world. (Accompanying the group on the trip were Professor of History James Krippner and, in her role as faculty director of Quaker Affairs, Associate Professor of Independent College Programs Kaye Edwards.)
“The Summit [was] an extraordinary opportunity to be surrounded by those who do not just believe in, or think about, peace, but actively strive to create it on a global scale,” said LaBua. “I’m consistently challenged to think more critically about issues of peace and human rights by my classes, but they can only go so far to transport you out of the ‘Haverbubble’ and make the transition from theory into practice.”
The focus of this year’s event was on youth engagement and its recurring refrain was “one person can make a difference.” The students were moved and motivated by talks by laureates such as Grameen Bank founder Muhammad Yunus, women- and children’s-rights activist Shirin Ebadi and anti-landmine campaigner Jody Williams. All four called the Summit “life-changing” upon their return to campus.
“Attending the Summit and learning about the work of these incredibly inspiring people has embedded a sense of responsibility in me to take action,” said Abbassi. “As a member of society with access to benefits such as education, the right to vote and freedom of speech, I have an opportunity to be a catalyst for change.”
“Because we were staying at the same hotel as many of the laureates, we got to speak with many of them,” said Sweeney. “I told Professor Yunus that our generation was going to change the world, and he responded, ‘That’s what I like to hear!’ ”