Former Maple Plain resident earns honors for international work

Peter C. Andersen of Freetown, Sierra Leone, has received the Charles J. Turck Global Citizen Award from Macalester College. Andersen graduated from Macalester in 1977 and is now working for the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

The Charles J. Turck Global Citizen Award honors the legacy of Charles J. Turck, president of Macalester College from 1939 to 1958. Lawyer, educator, social activist, internationalist, and churchman, Turck championed internationalism throughout his tenure. This award recognizes an alumnus who has advanced the internationalist spirit and lived up to the exhortation, "to be a worthy son or daughter of Macalester, you must listen to your hopes and not your fears."

Andersen has come a long way from Maple Plain – both figuratively and literally. And Macalester, he says, was the catalyst for that.

"It was the curriculum, the exposure to fellow students from many countries, and the opportunity to study abroad," that set him off on this path, he says.

Almost a decade ago, Andersen moved back to Sierra Leone, a country he’d grown to love while serving there in the Peace Corps in the late ’70s and early ’80s working within the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Since 2003 he has been working for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, an international criminal tribunal charged with trying those who committed atrocities against civilians during the country’s civil war.

Andersen said he is most proud of helping people in Sierra Leone.

"When the people of Sierra Leone were in desperate circumstances, I did everything I could to help them, and to make sure that the world could not turn its back on them."

Andersen is the fourth Macalester graduate to receive the Charles J. Turck Global Citizen Award. It was previously given to Tonderai Chikuhwa ’96, a Senior Adviser at the United Nations; Steven Laible ’67, who, with his wife Nancy, began supporting girls in Bengali. In 2011, it was awarded to former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan who graduated from Macalester in 1961.

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 1,958 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism and civic engagement.