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Bard Students Win Two 2014 Davis Projects For Peace Awards
Jennifer Wai-Lan Huang
Computer science major Ameer Shalabi ’16 (from Mas’ha in the West Bank), political studies major Zelda Bas ’16 (from Paris, France), and literature and written arts major Harrison Liddle ’14 (from Miami, Florida) have together won a Davis award in support of the Bard Palestinian Youth Initiative (BPYI). An entirely student-run organization, BPYI 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 the Palestinian territories, 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. This summer, the awardees will use the Davis Projects for Peace funds to return to Mas’ha and continue their good works there (including tree plantings, waste disposal management, development of a family park, and a computer classroom).
Projects for Peace is funded by the Davis family to honor Kathryn W. Davis, who died in April 2013 at the age of 106. A lifelong internationalist and philanthropist who earned a B.A. from Wellesley College, an M.A. from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Geneva, she was the mother of Shelby M. C. Davis, who funds the Davis UWC Scholars Program currently involving 90 American colleges and universities. Kathryn Davis believed that today’s youth—tomorrow’s leaders—ought to be challenged to formulate and test their own ideas. For further information, visit www.davisprojectsforpeace.org.
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This event was last updated on 04-08-2014