Davis Projects for Peace

IHouse Project for Peace at UAlbertaInternational philanthropist and I-House New York alumna, Kathryn W. Davis, celebrated her 100th birthday by committing $1 million to Project for Peace. Davis challenged today’s students, whom she referred to as “the real movers and shakers,” to do what previous generations could not— work effectively toward a lasting peace in the world. 

She said:  “My many years have taught me that there will always be conflict. It’s part of human nature. But I’ll remind you that love, kindness, and support are also part of human nature. My challenge to you is to bring about a mindset of preparing for peace instead of preparing for war.”  Since 2007, Projects for Peace continues to support and encourage today’s youth at International Houses Worldwide and United World Colleges to create and test their ideas for building peace. At I-House, this is global citizenship in practice.  Apply for a Davis Project for Peace: email ihouse@ualberta.ca

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Children's Peace Library, Palestine

Dalal’s project was designed to improve children’s mental health by developing a community-based library in Betein, Ramallah, West Bank, Palestine. In partnership with Betein’s Community Council, Dalal converted a large room into a library to encourage children and adolescents to utilize the space as an outlet to learn more about peace by reading and being exposed to different perspectives. Students and parents in the Ramallah area contributed over 500 books and the Palestine Ministry of Education and the Give Palestine Association donated another 300 books from authors from around the world. The project’s funds allowed Dalal to outfit the library with a television, a computer, a printer, tables, chairs, and bookshelves and to purchase various reference books. In addition to providing the space, the Betein Council provided electricity, water, heat, and Internet access as well as the salary for a librarian. Currently, the library is open six hours each day and children from four surrounding villages are benefiting. Betein’s community members are continuing to support the project with their time and resources. The librarian, Um Ahmad, says, “I am excited to be a part of this peace-building project as a way to contribute back to my community. I hope the activities and competitions we plan will encourage children to read at a young age, and that reading will no longer be restricted to schoolbooks and homework.” Dalal reports that the Betein Council views this library as a first step towards developing a large Community Learning Center that will expand the library’s value for older age groups as well as offering tutoring programs, language classes, and other activities to enhance intercultural communication.

“This Project for Peace taught me that long-term development and peace building are not achieved by imposing our personal perspectives and ideas on communities abroad. Rather, it is imperative for us as leaders and peacemakers to build intercultural relations and encourage the pooling of ideas from within these communities to ensure our utmost best that our projects benefit their needs and aspirations.” -Dalal Awwad