By Anna Oposa
As someone who works in the development sector, I couldn’t leave Stockholm without visiting the Nobel Museum. A trip to the museum was actually part of the program. It would be open on the evening of September 5th just for the participants of WWW.
The Nobel Museum is unlike any other museum I’d been to. It’s small, with only one floor that already includes a café and souvenir shop. Its dominant color is black, a sharp contrast from the white or cream walls of art museums.
One section showed random objects that awardees owned—shoes, rulers, typewriters, clothes, etc. It was nice to see ordinary things that these extraordinary people owned. Oftentimes we romanticize these world leaders and thought movers, forgetting that they are human beings too, just like you and me.
I spent time browsing the interactive display of awardees per decade. Grouping them by decade showed the dominant trends in breakthroughs and events in world history. How wars influenced innovation. How innovation influenced further innovation. In each decade, the only category I read thoroughly was for Literature. I was familiar with almost half of the names in each decade, and was brought back to my Lit/Creative Writing classes in college.
I was lucky enough to catch the temporary exhibit entitled Making Peace. It showcased moving photographs from all over the world on subjects like Conflict Prevention and Resolution, Environment and Sustainable Development, and Peace and Disarmament. This section moved me to tears because it put together stories and images of humanity’s hope, war, peace, failures, struggles, and triumphs. It comes as no surprise that there was a panel on water—or lack thereof. The quote on the board was from Benjamin Franklin: “When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.”
I read each description and surveyed each photo with very child-like and basic questions in my head: “Why does there have to be war?” “Why can’t we all just get along?” “How can people to this to other people?” “How do we solve the world’s problems?” I almost burst into John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
There are no easy answers. But I’d like to believe we are moving forward. Events like the World Water Week where there is great opportunity for the youth to be represented and heard result in better understanding and cooperation. As we learned in Eye on Asia, solving the world’s problems together requires listening and trust.
I remain hopeful.