Davis Projects for Peace

Have you heard about the Davis Projects for Peace, a program which honors Kathryn Wasserman Davis, a 102 year old philanthropist who is interested in finding new ways to advance world peace.

Undergraduate students at more than 90 college campuses across the United States, including those who will graduate this academic year, are eligible to design and submit proposals that address the goal of improving the prospects for peace in the 21st century.  The top submissions from the participating campuses, including at least one from Middlebury, will receive funding of $10,000 from Mrs. Davis with which to initiate projects anywhere in the world during the summer of 2010.

If you are interested, make sure to attend the Q and A session at Old Stone Mill on Monday November 16, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. Students who have been recipients of past Davis Project for Peace funding, as well as students whose projects were supported by the College, will be available to answer questions and speak about their individual experiences. It will be an excellent opportunity to see firsthand what Middlebury students have accomplished with the support of this Initiative.

This is an initiative for all undergraduates, and not those solely interested in politics, the social sciences, or international studiesThere are no disciplinary boundaries to prevent you from finding ways to tie your skills and talents into a good proposal related to world peace. The creativity that Middlebury seeks to identify and support in implementing this program should be reflected in the way you link your individual strengths to the challenges of world peace.

Submission details can be seen below. A successful proposal for Middlebury students will require you to consider and articulate the following in your proposals:

  • What differentiates you from others who may be applying for this grant in terms of your skills and talents?
  • How will you translate those skills and talents into a project related to world peace?
  • How will you draw on the expertise of faculty, staff, and your fellow students here at
  • Middlebury, as well as on networks of relevant people off-campus, including alumni, to develop a project that is both practical and can be implemented within the budget of $10,000?

The College will waive the minimum student contribution for financial aid for the 2010-2011 academic year for students who win a Davis grant, as well as provide a $1,000 stipend to each student (with a $4,000 maximum per project) to offset lost summer wages.

Questions & Answers

What do you mean by “Projects for Peace”?
Davis Projects for Peace is an initiative for all students at the Davis United World College Scholars Program partner schools to design their own grassroots projects for peace that they themselves will implement anywhere in the world during the summer of 2010.  Through a competition on over 90 campuses, projects will be selected for funding at $10,000 each.

Who is funding this and why?

Davis Projects for Peace is being funded by Kathryn W. Davis, a lifelong internationalist and philanthropist (who earned a B.A. from Wellesley, an M.A. from Columbia, and a Ph.D. from the University of Geneva) who is now over 102 years old.  She is the mother of Shelby M.C. Davis who funds the Davis UWC Scholars Program currently involving over 90 American colleges and universities.  Mrs. Davis feels some urgency to spark initiatives for building prospects for peace in the world and so is committing $1 million to fund one hundred $10,000 projects for peace.  She believes that today’s youth – tomorrow’s leaders – ought to be challenged to formulate and test their own ideas.

What do you mean by “projects for peace”?
Intentionally, no clear definition is offered so as not to limit the imagination.  We leave it up to the students to define what a “project for peace” might be.  We hope to encourage creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.  The overall program is to be worldwide in scope and impact, but specific projects may be undertaken anywhere and as grassroots as desired, including in the U.S.

Who is eligible to design a “project for peace”?
Undergraduate students at any of the Davis UWC Scholar schools (including seniors who would complete their projects after graduation) are eligible – so long as the president of their institution has signed and returned the grant agreement form.  While the schools included are restricted to those in the Davis UWC Scholars Program, all undergraduates (not just Davis UWC Scholars at those schools) are eligible.  Groups of students from the same campus, as well as individual students, may submit proposals.

How does the funding for these projects work?

Mrs. Davis has committed $1 million to fund Davis Projects for Peace in 2010.  While Davis funding per project is limited to $10,000, projects with larger budgets are welcome as is co-funding from other sources (such as other philanthropists, a college or university, foundation, NGO/PVO or students’ own fundraising).

How does a student (or group of students) make a proposal?
To be considered, a student (or group of students) must prepare a written statement which describes the project (who, what, where, how) including expected outcomes and prospects for future impact (not to exceed two pages) as well as a budget (one separate page).  Proposals should include pre-approval of all involved parties and organizations involved in the project.  The two-page proposal and one-page budget should be submitted electronically to the designated official at Middlebury as outlined below.  Students with queries may direct them to Elizabeth Robinson as communication between students writing proposals and the Davis UWC Scholars office is prohibited.

How are these proposals submitted and judged?
Each involved campus has a designated official to coordinate the process on each campus.  This official, in ways s/he deems appropriate, will guide the internal campus procedures for: announcing and promoting the opportunity to students; organizing the selection committee to evaluate the proposals submitted; communicating results on a timely basis to the Davis UWC Scholars office; and distributing the awarded grant funds for the winning proposal(s) on campus.  Final review and approval of all recommended proposals from individual campuses rests solely with the office of the Davis UWC Scholars Program which will then forward the appropriate grant funds to each school with winning project(s).

How will the grants be awarded?
The intention is to fund 100 projects, with at least one at each of the Davis UWC Scholar schools.  Therefore, all involved schools are invited to select and submit one proposal for funding and one alternate proposal that might be funded as well.  Final decisions on all grants are made by the Davis UWC Scholars Program office.  Grants are made upon assurance that the project proposed will, in fact, be undertaken during the summer of 2010.

What is the timetable for proposals and decisions?

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