Joseph Kaifala has won the inaugural Projects for Peace Alumni Award.
A survivor of the 11-year civil war in Sierra Leone, Kaifala received a Projects for Peace grant in 2007 to construct a library. He has continued to advance efforts to support the education of women and girls, including rebuilding educational infrastructure and establishing scholarships.
The Middlebury Institute is a partner institution with Projects for Peace, a global program that encourages young adults to develop innovative, community-centered, and scalable responses to the world’s most pressing issues. The newly created award grants up to $50,000 in support of the ongoing peacebuilding efforts of a past Projects for Peace recipient who demonstrates innovation and persistence in working for peace and transforming conflict.
Kaifala will use the new award to expand opportunities for schoolchildren in Sierra Leone to visit the Sierra Leone Civil War Memorial in Freetown. It’s essential, he says, for students to learn about transitional justice mechanisms—the ways in which societies respond to legacies of massive and serious human rights violations—in order to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence. The funds will help ensure his organization reaches students in all parts of the country, helping to fulfill a mandate of Sierra Leone’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Two Middlebury Institute students and one alumna implemented development projects through Projects for Peace, which grants $10,000 awards to students to execute projects that tackle the world’s most pressing issues.
President Patton: Institutions of higher learning have the responsibility to lead a critical education effort to teach conflict transformation in our nation and across the world. With its unique resources, Middlebury will help answer that call.