Letter from President Ron Liebowitz

January 7, 2014

Dear Students,

I am pleased once again to invite you to participate in Davis Projects for Peace. Now in its seventh year, this program honors Kathryn Wasserman Davis, an international philanthropist who was interested in finding new ways to advance world peace.

The Davis Projects for Peace program 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 feasible will be funded at $10,000 each.

Undergraduate students at more than 90 college campuses across the United States, including those of you who will graduate this academic year, are eligible to design and submit proposals that address the goal of improving the prospects for peace in the 21st century.  The top submissions from the participating campuses, including at least one from Middlebury, will receive funding of $10,000 from Mrs. Davis with which to initiate projects anywhere in the world during the summer of 2014. 

Upon the occasion of her 100th birthday, , Kathryn W. Davis chose to celebrate by committing $1 million to Projects for Peace. The Davis Projects for Peace continue to support and encourage today’s motivated youth to create and test their own ideas for building peace. We mourn the passing of Mrs. Davis this past year, but celebrate her extraordinary legacy and appreciate that her family has committed to the program for another year.

Because the values that this project represent touches on what I believe are among the most important ones a liberal arts education can impart to its students—clear analytical thinking, excellent communications, self-confidence, creativity and initiative—I will fund a second proposal from presidential discretionary funds to complement the winner that Mrs. Davis will support. 

I want to stress that this is an initiative for all undergraduates, and not those solely interested in politics, the social sciences, or international studies.  None of you should feel there are disciplinary boundaries that prevent you from finding ways to tie your skills and talents into a good proposal related to world peace.  In fact, I encourage those of you who never thought about the prospects for world peace to pursue this initiative.  The creativity that Middlebury seeks to identify and support in implementing this program should be reflected in the way you link your individual strengths to the challenges of world peace.

Submission details are included below. A successful proposal for Middlebury students will require you to consider and articulate the following in your proposals:

What differentiates you from others who may be applying for this grant in terms of your skills and talents?

How will you translate those skills and talents into a project related to world peace?

How will you draw on the expertise of faculty, staff, and your fellow students here at Middlebury, as well as on networks of relevant people off-campus, including alumni, to develop a project that is both practical and can be implemented within the budget of $10,000?

The College will waive the minimum student contribution for financial aid for the 2014-2015 academic year for students who win a Davis grant, as well as provide a $1,000 stipend to each student (with a $3,000 maximum per project) to offset lost summer wages.

There will be an information session held on January 14th at 6pm at 118 South Main Street. Attending will be former Davis Peace Project recipients. Applications are due Monday, January 27th, 2014. If you have questions before then, please feel free to email Elizabeth Robinson ’84, Director of the Programs on Creativity and Innovation, and Co-Director of the Center for Social Entrepreneurship, at robinson@middlebury.edu

I look forward to working with the selection committee to choose the best Davis Projects for Peace 2014 proposals from Middlebury, and seeing how well many of you can link your skills and talents to the pursuit of world peace.