College of Notre Dame students selected in nationwide projects for peace competition

College of Notre Dame of Maryland students Yelizaveta Kalashnikova-Luby ’09, Caroline Gathagu ’10 and Maria Angelica Coca ’11 received a $10,000 grant from the Davis Projects for Peace program to conduct research in Kenya this summer.

The grant, for a study titled “United Youth for Peace through Community Development,” marks the third consecutive year that a College of Notre Dame student project has received funding from this prestigious program. Other student projects receiving funding through the Davis Projects for Peace program include teams from Yale, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Georgetown, Princeton, Smith and Wellesley.

The three College of Notre Dame students will travel to Eldoret, Kenya, in mid-July to implement a series of workshops they have developed for adults and mentoring-tutoring programs for children.

The workshops for adults, developed by College of Notre Dame students and conducted in Swahili with the help of nongovernmental organizations and university student groups, will be held over three days and will focus on global sustainability, health awareness and entrepreneurship.

A month-long series of English and mathematics classes for children will be taught by College of Notre Dame students, along with mentoring classes taught by students from University of Nairobi and Moi University.

Located in East Africa, Kenya is inhabited by various ethnic tribes. In December 2007, Mwai Kibaki of the Kikuyu tribe and Raila Odinga of the Luo tribe vied for the presidency of the country.

More than 1,500 people died and more than 350,000 were displaced from homes from December 2007-February 2008 as a result of violence in Kenya that erupted during the presidential election. Talks and mediation geared toward national unity are underway to help prevent future ethnic violence.

The Projects for Peace Program was founded by philanthropist Kathryn Wasserman Davis on the occasion of her 100th birthday in 2007. Designed to encourage and support motivated youth to create and implement ideas for building peace throughout the world in the 21st Century, each of the more than 100 projects selected this year will receive $10,000 in funding.

Last summer, three College of Notre Dame students traveled to Bolivia on a Projects for Peace grant to research the topic “The Voice of Bolivian Youth in a Time of Conflict.”

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