Two Colby students will receive $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace grants this year. One will continue work on a documentary film series about intentional communities that model practices conducive to a more sustainable and peaceful future; the other seeks to empower women in Afghanistan through a program that trains them in the art of embroidery and helps get their small embroidery businesses off the ground.
Philanthropist Kathryn W. Davis launched the Projects for Peace program in 2007 to mark her 100th birthday. Again this year she challenged students to design and implement innovative techniques that focus on conflict resolution, reconciliation, building understanding, and breaking down barriers that cause conflict. This summer students from more than 90 campuses will share more than $1 million in funding for projects in all regions of the world.
Sulaiman Nasseri ’12, a Davis United World College scholar from Afghanistan, sees his project, “Empowering Afghan Women Through Embroidery,” as a way to help families in Kabul. By providing women with the training, equipment, and materials to begin commercial embroidery, Nasseri hopes to improve their status and increase the literacy and educational attainment of their children, according to his proposal.
He described the positive effects of the project: giving Afghan women a measure of independence and control over their own lives, decreasing violence against women, and enabling mothers to send their children to school. “I strongly believe that this project has the power to rehabilitate and empower families and communities, promoting peace throughout Afghanistan in the long run,” his proposal concludes.
According to Tamer Hassan ’11 of Great Falls, Va., his objective is “to reveal and inspire ideas for enacting peaceful and resilient community practices into mainstream consciousness through film.” Continuing his work with Armand Tufenkian ’10, Hassan will make three more installments in their documentary film series titled “Finding Community.”
Hassan wrote that in making the first two films in the series, set at Twin Oaks Community in Virginia and Earthaven Ecovillage in North Carolina, the filmmakers witnessed the “transformative potential that cooperation and communal support have on our environment, our political and economic systems, and the way in which we treat one another.” Their goal is to inspire others to adopt “peaceful and resilient community practices,” the proposal says, and it outlines ambitious plans for promoting and distributing the film for maximum impact.