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Bard Students Win Two 2013 Davis Projects For Peace Awards

Jennifer Wai-Lan Huang
Top row L-R: Jason Toney '16, Lauren Blaxter '13, Nadine Tadros '14, Dushyanth Aluwihare '16, Ameer Shalabi '16, Salam Awartani '16; bottom row L-R: Dylan Cassidy '15, Matilda Tucker '16, Caley Cross '16, Zelda Bas '15, Sylvia Estes 16, Dan Gettinger '13  Image Credit: Naomi LaChance '16
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Bard College students have won two 2013 Davis Projects for Peace Awards, which provide $10,000 in funding for proposed projects. Political studies and philosophy major Saim Saeed ’13, from Pakistan, won a Davis award for his project, “Living Together—Navigating Common Grounds: A MENA-EU Initiative” in Istanbul, Turkey. He will use the funds to develop a United World Colleges (UWC) Short Course for young people from Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. The goal of the course is to create dialogue between the regions and to encourage participants to become active members of their society. “The events of the Arab Spring, ambiguous relations between governments, problems of immigration, xenophobia, migrations, and economic crises are some themes that have created great uncertainty about how different communities can best live together,” says Saeed. “Participants will receive the tools and knowledge to learn how to take action on issues they are personally passionate about, especially in relation to the perceived divides between the two regions. All participants will come out of the course feeling a deep sense of responsibility and commitment to the idea of ‘living together,’ both locally and globally.”

Human rights major Lauren Blaxter ’13 (from Andover, Massachusetts), computer science major Ameer Shalabi ’16 (from Mas’ha in the West Bank), cultural anthropology major Nadine Tadros ’14 (from Fairfax, Virginia), and political studies major Daniel Gettinger ’13 (from Chevy Chase, Maryland) have together won a Davis award in support of the Bard Palestinian Youth Initiative (BPYI). BPYI, an entirely student-run organization, was founded in 2008 with the belief that constructive civil engagement, cultural exchange, and education are fundamental means to changing the situation on the ground in Palestine. By working in collaboration with the people of Mas’ha, a small village in the West Bank, BPYI hopes to create a nonpolitical action-oriented program with the goal of connecting Palestine with Bard College and its surrounding area. Every year, 20 Bard College students travel to Mas’ha, where they partner with the local community to run children’s summer camps and community service projects, teach English classes and engage in cultural discourse. BPYI established the only public children’s library in Palestine, which opened with a ceremony in August 2010, attended by members of the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem and the governor of Sulfite Province. In 2011, with the help of the Davis Peace Grant, BPYI built the first playground in the village of Mas’ha. In 2012, BPYI began building a youth center for the village, which they were unable to complete in full. This summer, the awardees will use the Davis Projects for Peace funds to complete renovations of the three-floor youth center.

“Competition is keen and we congratulate the students whose projects have been selected for funding in 2013,” said Philip O. Geier, executive director of the Davis United World College Scholars Program, which administers Projects for Peace. “Kathryn Davis feels a great urgency about advancing the cause of peace in the world, and she is investing in motivated youth and their ideas in order to accelerate efforts for peace in the 21st century.”

On the occasion of her 100th birthday in 2007, philanthropist Kathryn W. Davis launched Projects for Peace. Now 106 years “young,” Davis has renewed her commitment every year since. More than $1.20 million will be awarded in $10,000 grants to students for projects to be completed over the summer of 2013. The winning projects propose specific plans of action that will have lasting effects—including post-conflict community building, youth empowerment and education programs, improved community water supplies worldwide, and a multitude of agrarian enterprises in countries where famine is pervasive. Students will travel to countries in all regions of the world to work on their projects and report on their experiences once they return.

Undergraduates at 90 partner schools of the Davis United World College Scholars Program (see, as well as those at International Houses Worldwide, Future Generations, the Graduate Institute in Geneva, and the University of Maine are invited annually to submit plans for Projects for Peace. Winning proposals selected from competitions at all these campuses are funded through Davis’s generosity.

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About Bard College
Founded in 1860, Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, is an independent, nonsectarian, residential, coeducational college offering a four-year B.A. program in the liberal arts and sciences and a five-year B.A./B.S. degree in economics and finance. The Bard College Conservatory of Music offers a five-year program in which students pursue a dual degree—a B.Music and a B.A. in a field other than music—and offers an M.Music in vocal arts and in conducting. Bard also bestows an M.Music degree at Longy School of Music of Bard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Bard and its affiliated institutions also grant the following degrees: A.A. at Bard High School Early College, a public school with campuses in New York City (Manhattan and Queens) and Newark, New Jersey; A.A. and B.A. at Bard College at Simon’s Rock: The Early College, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and through the Bard Prison Initiative at five correctional institutions in New York State; M.A. in curatorial studies, M.S. in economic theory and policy, and M.S. in environmental policy and in climate science and policy at the Annandale campus; M.F.A. and M.A.T. at multiple campuses; M.B.A. in sustainability in New York City; and M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in the decorative arts, design history, and material culture at the Bard Graduate Center in Manhattan. Internationally, Bard confers dual B.A. degrees at the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, St. Petersburg State University, Russia (Smolny College); American University of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan; and Bard College Berlin: A Liberal Arts University; as well as dual B.A. and M.A.T. degrees at Al-Quds University in the West Bank. Bard offers nearly 50 academic programs in four divisions. Total enrollment for Bard College and its affiliates is approximately 5,000 students. The undergraduate College has an enrollment of more than 1,900 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1.


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This event was last updated on 12-13-2013