Davis Projects for Peace

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 of 2014. The projects judged to be the most promising and do-able will be 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. "I want to use my 100th birthday to help young people launch some immediate initiatives - things that they can do during the summer of 2007 - that will bring new thinking to the prospects of peace in the world," says Mrs. Davis. Because of the many marvelous achievements made by students in the summers since then, Mrs. Davis is continuing the Davis Projects for Peace for the summer of 2014. 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 (all 100 projects) 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. 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. 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 or two additional proposals as alternates that might be funded as well. Final decisions on all grants are made by the Davis UWC Scholars Program office.

Davis Projects for Peace homepage

Grinnell's Nomination Process

Grinnell College will nominate one project, and probably one alternate, in this competition. To apply for Grinnell's nomination, please submit the following materials electronically to Val Vetter [vetterv] , coordinator of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program, by by 5:00 pm on Tuesday, January 21, 2014

  • One Scholarship Nomination Permission Form and Waiver for each applicant, whether or not they attend Grinnell College
  • A cover sheet that gives the name, class year, and email address for each member of the group.
  • "A written statement which describes the project (who, what, where, how) including expected outcomes and prospects for future impact (not to exceed two pages). 
  • A one-page budget
  • Written pre-approval of any groups involved in the project

For the on-campus nomination process, please ensure that all application documents comply with these submission guidelines.

Ethical Guidelines

All applicants are expected to adhere to these ethical guidelines.

Selection Criteria

Grinnell College's Davis Projects for Peace Nominating Committee, made up of members of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program, has established the following selection criteria to guide its nominating process:

  • FEASIBILITY: Does the project appear to be possible to complete with the time, person power, and resources available? Does the budget appear to be realistic?
  • CREATIVITY: Does the proposal provide evidence of original thought or unusual imagination? Does the project bring new perspectives to the issues being addressed? Is the project likely to catch the imagination of other people at the project site and elsewhere? Does the proposal explain how the project fits the term "project for peace"?
  • IMPACT: How important are the issues addressed by this project? How many people are likely to benefit from it? How likely is it to draw additional outside attention and resources to the issues addressed?
  • SUSTAINABILITY: Does the project promise to have effects that last beyond the duration of the summer? Is the project one that could be carried on by people at the project site or elsewhere?
  • QUALITY OF THE WRITTEN DOCUMENT: Does the proposal explain clearly what is to be done and why it is important? Is the document free of typos or other errors that would indicate hastiness in its preparation or a lack of careful thought? Is the document one that we can be proud to share with people outside the College as an example of the fine work done by Grinnell students?

Grinnell College Travel Warning Policy

Please note that, in general, Grinnell College policy does not permit us to recommend projects to the foundation that involve travel to countries currently under a travel warning from the United States Department of State. Although in the past a few projects were allowed to take place in countries currently under a travel warning, future exceptions to this policy will be rare. Students who desire to undertake a project in a country with a Travel Warning should a) know that they are not likely to be granted such an exception and must be able to state a clear, compelling reason to justify the risk, even if he or she is a native of the country, and b) speak with Doug Cutchins at least two weeks before submitting their proposal to the college for nomination.

"Shooting for Peace"

A copy of the 50-minute documentary "Shooting For Peace," which covers three Davis Projects for Peace in Uganda in 2007, is available in the Burling Library Listening Room for students to check out.

Recipients of Davis Projects for Peace Grants, Nominated by Grinnell College

Summer 2013

  • Inara Sunan Tareque '16 and Thomas Yim '15 (Brown University), "Stars for Knowledge, Knowledge for Change;" Bangladesh

Summer 2012

  • Tinggong Zhan '14 and Xiaorong Yin '14; "50 Yuan That Can Change Lives;" China

Summer 2011

  • Ashraya Dixit '14; "Straws of Steel: Piloting Straw Bale Construction;" Nepal

Summer 2010

  • Ami Shrestha '13; "Peace in the Mountains;" Nepal

Summer 2009

  • Liting Cong '11; "'Yi Fa Wei Quan,' Legal Aid for Migrant Workers;" Shanghai, China
  • Joe Hiller '12 and Chandara Veung '12; "Equal Access to Education: A Road to Peace and Development;" Cambodia

Summer 2008

  • Meredith Groves '08, Victoria Mercer '10, Eric Nost '09, and Alex Reich '11; "Local Foods for Local People;" Grinnell, IA

Summer 2007

  • Jamie Zwiebel '08; "Women in Solidarity for Development;" San Ramon, Nicaragua

For Further Information

Students who have questions about the Davis Projects for Peace or Grinnell's nominating process should contact Val Vetter, Grinnell's designated official contact person to the Davis Projects For Peace.