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St. Lawrence News


Brijlal Chaudhari '10 (left) and Melih Cokaygil '11

Two St. Lawrence students - roommates - have been awarded "100 Projects for Peace" grants for 2010, in the fourth year of the program. With the grants, of $10,000 each, Brijlal Chaudhari '10, of Nepal, and Melih Cokaygil '11, of Turkey, plan to undertake projects in their home countries.

Davis Projects for Peace is an invitation to undergraduates at the American colleges and universities in the Davis United World College Scholars Program to design grassroots projects that they will implement during the summer. The projects judged to be the most promising and do-able are funded at $10,000 each. The objective is to encourage and support today's motivated youth to create and try out their own ideas for building peace. The Davis Projects for Peace is made possible by Kathryn Wasserman Davis, an accomplished internationalist and philanthropist. Upon the occasion of her 100th birthday in February of 2007, Mrs. Davis, mother of Shelby M.C. Davis who funds the Davis UWC Scholars Program, chose to celebrate by committing $1 million for one hundred Projects for Peace. Because of the many marvelous achievements made by students in prior years, Mrs. Davis is continuing the Davis Projects for Peace for a fourth year.

Melih plans to organize a three-week shared learning program, similar to a "big brother/big sister" program that will involve 30 underprivileged children from Turkey's predominantly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir and eight university students from throughout Turkey.

"In general, the activities and the courses aim to create an environment where the children can share their stories and problems, seek solutions as a group and learn a peaceful way of self-expression," Melih says. "There will be a blog of the program where the children can post their artwork and share their experiences in the program, perspectives on their daily lives and the ethnic conflict as well. As a part of their English course, the children will also post short notes in English." The university students will also contribute to the blog.

Chaudhari, who founded the Literacy for Nepal student group on campus, plans to build libraries and classrooms in two villages in Nepal. Two classrooms will be added to an overcrowded school in Sugauli, where Chaudhari also plans to teach as a volunteer, and a library will be built in Sedhwa; both facilities will be furnished with books and periodicals through the grant. Literacy for Nepal will continue to raise funds for books and to sustain the facilities in coming years.
Chaudhari is an economics major, with a minor in African studies. Cokagil is a global studies major; he also conducted a study in Turkey in 2009, through a Tanner Fellowship.

More information: Davis Projects for Peace Web site

Posted: April 1, 2010

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