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 for Peace until her death in 2013. In celebration of her extraordinary legacy, the Davis family is continuing to support these projects in 2014.

"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:

  • All class years; no age limit
  • All citizenships
  • No GPA minimum
  • Mount Holyoke College may nominate one candidate,
  • or one group of candidates  who are working on the same project, and one alternate whose proposal will be considered by Davis in a second, later, 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.) Students send their proposals, budgets, and additional materials to Christine via email by the initial submission deadline. A committee of staff and faculty, chaired by the Dean of Studies, reviews proposals and decides on the MHC primary candidate and an alternate. The primary and alternate candidates may then revise their proposals according to the committee’s recommendations. Christine will then submit the nominations electronically to Davis by the deadline. Senior Administrative Assistant Marianne Taylor maintains application materials, schedules interviews, and co-facilitates the application process.

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 which project(s) to nominate to Davis.

Campus Process and Checklist

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

Timeframe Task(s) to Complete
October attend Davis Projects for Peace Information Session
  read about former winners from MHC and other colleges
November meet with FA to discuss project idea (15 minute meetings); contact potential affiliates
Mid-Nov to mid-Dec FA will give feedback on one draft for each candidate
By Monday, January 6 all applicants send Proposal and Budget, support letters, and resume to FA via email attachment
January 13-17 Committee reviews proposals; decides on MHC nominee and alternate nominee
End of January nominees & alternates revise materials as recommended
Monday, February 3 nominees & alternates send revised Proposal & Budget to FA
By February 11 FA sends nominees’& alternates’ application materials to Davis
By March 15 final decisions on primary candidates rendered; Davis notifies FA; FA notifies students
By March 31 project funding agreements signed; grant payments made
In April alternates selected, if any
Summer projects completed
September 16 final reports due to Davis