Davis Projects for Peace

History   |   Description   |    Eligibility   |    How to   |   Application   |    Checklist

History and Purpose

The  Davis Projects for Peace were imagined and made possible by Kathryn Wasserman Davis, a lifelong internationalist and philanthropist (who earned a B.A. from Wellesley, an M.A. from Columbia, and a Ph.D. from the University of Geneva). 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 since the summer of 2007, Mrs. Davis continued the Davis Projects for Peace until her death in 2013. In celebration of her extraordinary legacy, the Davis family has continued to support these projects.

"My challenge to you is to bring about a mindset of preparing for peace, instead of preparing for war." --Kathryn Wasserman Davis

Description of the Davis Projects

The Davis Projects for Peace program is an invitation to undergraduates of all citizenships at the American colleges and universities in the Davis United World College Scholars Program to design grassroots projects which promote peace and address the root causes of conflict among parties. The projects judged to be the most promising and feasible 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. Applicants are encouraged to use their creativity to design projects and employ innovative techniques for engaging project participants in ways that focus on conflict resolution, reconciliation, building understanding and breaking down barriers which cause conflict, and finding solutions for resolving conflict and maintaining peace. The projects are to be implemented during the summer following the application year anywhere in the world. Over 90 campuses participate in the competition, and roughly 100 projects are funded. While the Davis funding is limited to $10,000 per project, projects with larger budgets are welcome as is co-funding from other sources.

Eligibility requirements and Rules for Nomination                                          

Applicants must have/be:

Applicants must have/be:

  • All class years; no age limit; all citizenships
  • No GPA minimum, but MHC candidates must be in good academic standing
  • Mount Holyoke College may nominate one candidate, or one group of candidates who are working on the same project, and 1-2 alternates whose proposals will be considered by Davis in a second pool

How to apply

Students should consult the Davis website to read about projects that have been done in the past and about Mrs. Davis’ legacy, but should direct all inquiries about the Davis Projects to Christine Overstreet, MHC’s National Fellowships Advisor. (The Davis Office does not accept direct inquiries from applicants.) Interested students should attend one of the Davis information sessions offered in the fall semester, and also avail themselves of any opportunities on or off campus to learn about and develop skills in community service, social entrepreneurship, and project development. After attending an information session, candidates are invited to meet with Christine or Kirk Lange (McCulloch Center) to discuss project ideas. Candidates send their proposals, budgets, and additional materials to Christine via email by the initial submission deadline below. A committee of staff and faculty, chaired by the Dean of Studies, reviews proposals and chooses finalists, who are then interviewed. Decisions about which candidates will be endorsed are made immediately after the interviews. The primary and alternate candidates then revise their proposals according to the committee’s recommendations. Christine then submits the nominations electronically to Davis by the deadline. Senior Administrative Assistant Marianne Taylor maintains application materials, schedules interviews, and co-facilitates the application process. Students interested in the Davis Projects should also consider proposing a project for the Clinton Global Initiatives University Network, facilitated at MHC by Kirk Lange, Director of International Experiential Learning in the McCulloch Center.

Application components

  • A two-page, single spaced Proposal describing the project (who, what, where, and how) including expected outcomes and prospects for future impact. The proposal heading must include: the name of the participating institution, names of all student participants, title of project, dates of the project, country where the project will be performed. Proposals exceeding the two page limit will not be considered.
  • A one page Budget outlining the projected costs of the budget including travel to and from the destination project site. Budgets exceeding the one page limit will not be considered.

The Proposal and Budget are the only parts of the application that are submitted to Davis. For the campus Committee’s review, however, applicants must also submit the following:

  • Affiliation letters or email exchanges showing pre-approval of all parties and organizations that will be involved in the project
  • Resume (one page only) that includes activities showing candidate’s preparedness for project

All documents are considered by the Committee when deciding on finalists.

Campus Process and Checklist

Please note that for all deadlines, submission time is 12:00 noon

Timeframe Task(s) to Complete
November Attend Davis Projects for Peace Information Session; read about former winners from MHC and other colleges on the Davis website; meet with Christine Overstreet or Kirk Lange to discuss project idea (15 minute meetings)
November/December Draft project proposal; seek feedback on feasibility from faculty, staff, potential community partners who are familiar with the issues or region; send proposal via email attachment to Christine Overstreet for feedback on written presentation of ideas/plan
By Monday, Jan 15th Send Proposal, Budget, Resume, and support letters to Christine Overstreet via email attachment (as Word docs)
by Jan 27 Davis Committee (on campus) decides on finalists; Christine notifies all candidates of status
Feb 1-5 Davis Committee (on campus) interviews finalists, decides on nominees and alternates; Christine finalists of status; nominees revise proposals according to Committee recommendations
By Monday, February 9 Final Davis Proposals and Budgets due to Christine - may be sent as email attachments (Word docs); Christine sends Proposals and Budgets to Davis by February 12th
By March 14 Final decisions on primary candidates made by Davis; they notify Christine; Christine notifies candidates
By March 31 Project funding agreements signed; grant payments made
April Alternates selected as needed
Summer Projects completed
By September 16 Final report disks due to Davis Foundation