Rain turns Oslo’s city streets silver. The TYF delegates pour out of the Scandic Hotel lobby with red, black and white umbrellas hoisted overhead. It’s a straight shot down Universitetsgata from the hotel to the twin bell-towered City Hall (Rådhuset). We walk quickly, avoiding puddles where we can. Under thick parkas, the young men are in dark suits and ties; the young women are dressed more colorfully. Anja Drobnjak of Montenegro moves confidently in cherry red combat-style boots. She packed heels, but decided not to risk them in the rain.
“This is a once in a lifetime experience,” she says, holding her passport and ticket tightly. The 26 TYF delegates will be part of an exclusive group who will attend the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony.
Norwegian delegate Karoline Hjelmtvedt says she agrees with the Nobel Committee’s decision to award this year’s prize to President Santos of Colombia.
“I wasn’t sure at first, because usually, with this kind of prize, it would be awarded to both parties,” she says. “But then, [Colombia] was so divided about the peace agreement. I think if they had split the award with the FARC, the country would have been even more divided.”
The Nobel Prizes–in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Peace–were established as specified in the will of Alfred Nobel, a Swedish-born inventor who died in 1896. While the rest of the prizes are given out in Stockholm, the Nobel Peace Prize is presented in Oslo with Norwegian royalty in attendance.
Noon. The bell towers begin to chime. The fjord is as gray as the sky, but nothing can keep our energy down. Our group jostles toward the entrance, icy water dripping onto our shoes. It’s time to squeeze into a group photo. It’s a day for peace. Time to watch history made in the sparkling halls of the city hall.
Photos by Ihne Pedersen