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Carleton Students Earn $10,000 "Projects for Peace" Grant

May 8, 2008

Northfield, Minn.––Carleton College students Melissa Mayer ’09 (Marietta, Ga.) and Emily Litwin ’09 (South Orange, N.J.) have received a “Projects for Peace” $10,000 grant from the Davis United World College (UWC) Scholar Program.

Mayer and Litwin will use their award to conduct a three-week puppetry arts workshop in the Fountain Estate, an impoverished neighborhood of Londonderry, Northern Ireland. The program will engage at-risk youth in a creative, educational, and secular curriculum geared to enhance positive and peaceful social interaction. The program will take place during the summer break, a time when little organized activity exists for Fountain Estate youth.

Last year, Carleton alumni Michael McCulloch ’07 and Nazish Zafar ’07 earned a “Projects for Peace” grant to educate people on the prevention of malnutrition in Brazil. Their proposal, “The Napkin Project: Health Education on the Street,” promoted basic knowledge of nutrition by printing nutritional facts onto napkins that would be widely used by the citizens of Brazil.

The Davis Projects for Peace program, in its second year, honors philanthropist Kathryn Wasserman Davis, who launched the initiative on the occasion of her 100th birthday in 2007. Designed to encourage and support motivated youth to create and implement their ideas for building peace throughout the world in the 21st century, each of the 100 projects will receive $10,000 in funding.

Davis Projects for Peace invited students from schools participating in the Davis United World College (UWC) Scholars Program to submit plans for grassroots projects for peace, to be implemented during the summer of 2008. A competition for the funding took place on 81 campuses in the UWC Scholars Program, which provides grants to select American colleges and universities in support of students from all over the world who have completed their pre-university studies at UWC schools.

“We are grateful to the many students, faculty and staff who participated in this year’s competition,” said Executive Director of the Davis UWC Scholars Program Philip O. Geier. “Kathryn Davis is a leader, and what she has set in motion with this important challenge is a growing number of young people committed to putting into place the building blocks for peace.”

The winning projects propose specific plans of action that will have lasting effects — from post conflict community building to youth empowerment and education programs to improved community water supplies worldwide to a multitude of agrarian enterprises in countries where famine is pervasive. Students will travel to more than 54 countries over the summer to work on their projects and report on their experiences once they return.

Kathryn Davis is an internationalist and philanthropist, and the mother of Shelby M.C. Davis, who funds the Davis UWC Scholars Program. “My many years have taught me that there will always be conflict,” said Davis. “It’s part of human nature. But love, kindness, and support are also part of human nature, and my challenge to these young people is to bring about a mindset of preparing for peace instead of preparing for war.”

A complete list of the participating schools and projects, as well as a summary of the 2007 projects and a video interview with Davis from 2006, is available on the program’s Web site.