Two $10,000 Grants Awarded to Students for Projects to Promote Peace

For Ninth Consecutive Year, Trinity Students’ Proposals Selected by Competitive Davis Projects for Peace Program

Cassia Armstrong ’18
and Andrew Agard ’18
Hartford, CT, June 9, 2015 – Two projects developed by Trinity College students were selected to receive $10,000 apiece from the Kathryn W. Davis Projects for Peace program. The students who conceived of those projects will be implementing them this summer in Pakistan and Trinidad and Tobago.

Projects for Peace is an initiative for college students to design grassroots projects to take place during the summer, anywhere in the world, to promote peace and address the root causes of conflict.

Selected for their proposal, “Promoting Peace through Environmental Sustainability,” Andrew Agard ’18 and Cassia Armstrong ’18 will work with the Fondes Amandes Community Reforestation Project (FACRP) in St. Ann’s on the Caribbean island of Trinidad to build a rainwater catchment and storage system to aid with firefighting and provide reserve supplies of water for domestic use and irrigation. In their proposal, they wrote, “This project is important because deforestation by landless squatter communities is a significant source of conflict with landowners in Trinidad and Tobago.”

Agard, who is from Trinidad and Tobago, plans a double major in computer science and mathematics. Armstrong, from Vancouver, British Columbia, intends to double major in chemistry and environmental science. Both participate in Trinity’s Interdisciplinary Science Program (ISP) and developed their proposal after working together on an ISP assignment. Their project involves collaborating with environmental activists who are using ecological restorative methods in the hills of Fondes Amandes to conserve the St. Ann’s watershed. Agard and Armstrong will build the rainwater harvesting and storage system at a study center serving Trinidadian students – elementary school- through college-aged –  from the Fondes Amandes area and beyond, where it will offer the added benefit of helping students learn about environmental sustainability. Read Agard and Armstrong’s full project proposal here.

Noor Malik ’18
The other Trinity project selected for funding, “Interfaith Harmony,” was designed by Noor Malik ’18, who will work in partnership with Seeds of Peace, an American-based organization, to bring together 50 teenagers from several major Pakistani cities who belong to different religions and sects, to engage in a weeklong conflict-resolution program in the cities of Islamabad and Lahore (her home city). Religions represented will include Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, and Sikhism. In her proposal, Malik wrote that “participants will tackle topics such as recent acts of terrorism, general discrimination, and personal accounts of how the religious conflict affects them. They will get to hear other sides’ points of view, which will allow them to rethink their opinions.”

Malik, who plans a double major in political science (with a concentration in international relations) and philosophy, has been involved with Seeds of Peace for five years, beginning in the summer of 2010 when she attended the organization’s international camp in Maine. As enthusiastic as she is about her work with Pakistani youth this summer, Malik is equally excited about bringing the experience back to the Trinity campus in the fall. She plans to give presentations about the conflict-resolution project at the Center for Urban & Global Studies, the Charleston House of Interfaith Cooperation, and the House of Peace. She also has discussed with Senior Associate Dean of Students Ann Reuman the idea of bringing together different student groups on campus to discuss differences as well as common ground. Malik’s full “Interfaith Harmony” project proposal is available here.

This is the ninth consecutive year that Davis Projects for Peace grants have been awarded to Trinity students and the second time that two Trinity proposals have been awarded funding in the same year. At Trinity, the program is administered through the Center for Urban & Global Studies. The Projects for Peace initiative is open to students from the 91 American colleges and universities that participate in the Davis United World College Scholars program (, plus students at International Houses Worldwide, the Graduate Institute in Geneva, Future Generations Graduate School, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, and the University of Maine.

Projects for Peace was launched in 2007 by philanthropist Kathryn W. Davis on the occasion of her 100th birthday. Until her death at 106 in 2013, she was intent on advancing the cause of peace and sought to motivate tomorrow’s promising leaders by challenging them to find ways to “prepare for peace.” The Davis family has chosen to honor her legacy by continuing to fund Projects for Peace.

“Competition is keen and we congratulate those students whose projects have been selected for funding in 2015,” said Philip O. Geier, executive director of the Davis United World College Scholars Program that administers Projects for Peace. “We are pleased once again to help young people launch some initiatives that will bring new energy and ideas to improving the prospects for peace in the world.” A complete list of the 2015 participating schools and projects, as well as a summary of all previous projects, is available at the program’s website