Davis Projects for Peace proposal submission open

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Davis Projects for Peace proposal submission open

Brynn Wiessner and Adeline Melody Nancya pose with Sthela Hanitrinirina ('19) during her time in Madagascar implementing her Davis Project for Peace.

Brynn Wiessner and Adeline Melody Nancya pose with Sthela Hanitrinirina ('19) during her time in Madagascar implementing her Davis Project for Peace.

Photo courtesy of Sthela Hanitrinirina ('19)

Brynn Wiessner and Adeline Melody Nancya pose with Sthela Hanitrinirina ('19) during her time in Madagascar implementing her Davis Project for Peace.

Photo courtesy of Sthela Hanitrinirina ('19)

Photo courtesy of Sthela Hanitrinirina ('19)

Brynn Wiessner and Adeline Melody Nancya pose with Sthela Hanitrinirina ('19) during her time in Madagascar implementing her Davis Project for Peace.

Grace Onsrud, Staff Writer

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Luther is currently taking proposal submissions from students who wish to participate in the Davis Projects for Peace during the summer of 2019.

This program invites undergraduate students in the United States to create proposals for peace projects that they could implement over the summer. Luther selects one or two proposals each year to send to Davis Projects for Peace. If selected by Luther, students receive a grant of $10,000 to put toward the implementation of their project.

Davis Projects for Peace was founded in 2007 by philanthropist Kathy Wasserman Davis as a way to provide students with an opportunity to create significant and immediate change in their chosen location. Most participating colleges receive grants for one student’s project while some, including Luther for the summer of 2018, receive grants for two students. Sthela Hanitrinirina (‘19) and Tolith Gidaga (‘18) both received the grant and implemented their projects this past summer.

Students who receive the Davis Projects grant often choose to create projects in places with which they have a personal connection. Sthela Hanitrinirina, an international student from Madagascar, chose to focus her project on her home country. During this past summer, she traveled to Madagascar and introduced the United Nations He For She Curriculum in communities around the country. He For She is a UN campaign to involve men in efforts towards gender equality.

Photo courtesy of Sthela Hanitrinirina (’19)
In communities around Madagascar, those involved in the United Nations He For She Curriculum, which was implemented by Sthela Hanitrinirina (’19), participated in team building.

Hanitrinirina organized a week-long conference that brought together two youth leaders from each of the regions in Madagascar. The conference was a training in He For She curriculum. The youth leaders used the knowledge and materials from the conference to start He For She clubs in their respective regions. There are now 22 He For She clubs operating in Madagascar. Hanitrinirina’s project caused her to see her country in a new way and strengthened her determination to become a social worker.

“A year ago I thought I would not go home because I thought there were not things to do or my country was not really for me, but when I went home this summer the project changed the way I see my country,” Hanitrinirina said. “There’s actually a need for this kind of proposal, this kind of education, this kind of platform in my country.”

The grant from Davis Projects for Peace covered the cost of Hanitrinirina’s project, but she also received other resources and non-monetary support from organizations and individuals within Madagascar. She is pleased with the outcome of the project and hopes that more students will apply for the 2019 Davis Projects for Peace.

“I would also invite American students, domestic students to apply for it because most of the time it’s international students that do it,” Hanitrinirina said. “If you check all the Luther projects since the last few years, it’s mostly international students. So I’m inviting American students to apply for it because you can also do it in the United States, and that’s something a lot of people don’t know.”

Fatimetu Bachir Jatri Emhamed (‘17) received a Davis Projects for Peace grant in 2015. She also chose to create a project for her home country. The project involved building an art classroom for a school in the Smara Refugee Camp near Tindouf, Algeria. Since graduating from Luther, she has worked as an IT specialist, started a library project in her hometown, and has spoken at the United Nations. The Davis Projects helped her to grow her skills as a community organizer.

“It helped me learn about the real world,” Emhamed said. “At Luther we learn about theories, but the real world works differently. For this type of project, you learn that communication differs from one place to the other and that plans can change in a second, so you need to remind yourself that you just want to help and you need to listen to the community.”

Holly de la Chapelle (‘15), who worked on the project with Emhamed, is grateful for the Davis Projects for Peace because they provide students who have a desire to help others with the necessary resources to do so.

“I think it helps Luther students to think outside of themselves about how to give back to others who are in need and it allows people to go beyond the resources that they have themselves,” de la Chapelle said. “With this grant they are able to create a bigger impact.”

The Center for Global Learning is taking topic proposals for summer 2019 projects until January 2019 and will submit the chosen proposals to the Davis UWC Scholars Program Office. Grants for summer 2019 projects are awarded in March.

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