Humanity in Action
Tajreen Hedayet ’11, a Posse Scholar from Queens, N.Y., already had a plum summer internship lined up in the corporate legal department of a major international insurance company in New York when she got the news. She was chosen for a prestigious Humanity in Action Fellowship that will send her to Paris, France, for five weeks to study human rights, minority issues, and diversity.
Excited only begins to describe her reaction. “To have that kind of exposure to the world outside of Colby, outside the country—this is a big deal,” she said. Participants will come from six countries, and Hedayet will be one of the youngest fellows and one the few who haven’t completed bachelor’s degrees, she said.
It won’t be her first trip outside the United States, but it will be her first trip to continental Europe. “I’m going to Paris,” she said. “It’s just unreal to me.”
Better yet, she has arranged a leave from her internship at Travelers and will manage to incorporate both experiences this summer. That was particularly important to her because she plans to attend law school.
The five-week program, June 3 through July 8, will give her new perspectives and a first-hand look at how an increasingly diverse population is shaping France in the 21st century. It requires academic work in the form of lectures, discussions, and a research paper. After the summer program is over, Hedayet will implement a grass-roots action project (undoubtedly at Colby, she noted) over the next year, and she will become a senior fellows of the Humanity in Action program.
At Colby Hedayet is philosophy and government double major with an interest in progressive public policy.
Two Projects for Peace
Two Colby students won $10,000 grants to implement humanitarian programs of their own design this summer under the Davis Projects for Peace initiative.
Sarah Joseph Kurien ’09 will spend the summer in her native India working on "In Peaces: Reconstructing Religious Tolerance in South Mumbai." Ermira Murati ’11, who is from Albania, will launch a project titled "Encouraging Youth Entrepreneurship in Kosovo."
They are two of 100 undergraduates from almost 100 schools who were awarded a grant in the third year of Davis Projects for Peace initiative. Projects for Peace was begun in 2007 to celebrate the 100th birthday of philanthropist Kathryn W. Davis, who is now 102. This is the third year that Mrs. Davis's foundation will give $1 million to 100 students to create and try out their own ideas for building peace.
Murati's project reaches out to underprivileged youth in Kosovo, which she calls "the poorest country in Europe." She proposes developing business management skills, networking with local businesses, helping young people find jobs or start their own businesses, and fostering inter-ethnic dialogue. She hopes to create a sustainable program for youth entrepreneurs and to support the startup of from three to five businesses. She has already lined up partnerships with the University of Prishtina, the World Bank, CARE, and an organization called SPARK, which promotes business startups.
Kurien will focus on countering the religious hatred encouraged by fundamental rhetoric by promoting in-depth religious awareness education among children living in Mumbai's southern slums. Her goal is to emulate "the ideal of religious tolerance enshrined in the Indian constitution." She will work in conjunction with an organization named Meljol. Two main components of her project are educating the educators and educating the children. She too seeks to create a sustainable program that will carry on in South Mumbai's public classrooms.
Davis Projects for Peace invited all students from partner schools in the Davis United World College (UWC) Scholars program plus students at International Houses worldwide and Future Generations to submit plans for grassroots projects for peace, to be implemented during the summer of 2009.
"I want to use my birthday to once again help young people launch some initiatives that will bring new energy and ideas to the prospects of peace in the world," said Kathryn Davis. "My many years have taught me that there will always be conflict. 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 is forthcoming; summaries of 2007 and 2008 projects and a video interview with Davis from 2006 are currently available at www.davisprojectsforpeace.org.
The Fulbright Program has offered four Colby seniors prestigious teaching assistantship grants in Europe for the 2009-10 school year.
Katherine Dutcher ’09 and Nicole Veilleux ’09 were offered Fulbright Teaching Assistantships in Germany, Emily Foraker ’09 was offered a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship in Russia, and Justin Mohler '09 was awarded a U.S. English Language Assistantship in Austria, which is administered by the Fulbright commission and is commonly referred to as an Austrian Fulbright.
The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 to promote mutual understanding between U.S. citizens and people from other countries and was signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. The U.S. Student Program currently awards approximately 1,500 grants annually in all fields of study, and operates in more than 155 countries worldwide.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is now the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools worldwide, according to the Institute of International Education, which administers the program.