Brandeis students win Karpf and Hahn Peace Awards

January 15, 2016

Recently, four students and a student group were named Maurice J. and Fay B. Karpf Peace Award and Ari Hahn Peace Award winners. The prizes are grants for projects that will work on peaceful ways of addressing and resolving conflicts.

Maurice J. and Fay B. Karpf Peace Awards and the Ari Hahn Peace Awards are given each year to people “who wish to work toward coexistence and peaceful ways of addressing and resolving conflicts.” Any undergraduate or graduate student is eligible to apply for the awards and prizes ranges from 300 to 5,000 dollars.

The applications for the grants were evaluated by faculty and student members of the Peace, Conflict and Coexistence Studies Program—which does not mean that the winners need to be majoring in Peace, Conflict and Coexistence Studies. The applications are considered under three different categories: art works and essays on peace, travel grants for participation in a peace project or conference and money for peace-related projects not involving travel.

The art works and essays on peace include those that reveal the costs of violence, the commitment to non-violent struggle and artistic expressions of any aspect of peace culture. The submissions usually take the form of poetry, a play, a scene or a short story, which has to be related to peace. Essays are also included in the submission category and can be 20 to 30 pages long.

The travel grants are for participation in a peace project or conference in the country or abroad, such as the Brandeis Bridges, which was one of this year’s winners. The group is going to Ghana “to enhance discussions regarding the topics of identity and peoplehood from a non-western approach. They will also be learning about homeland and diaspora for black and Jewish communities.”

There is also the seed money for peace-related projects that does not involve travel. That would be like organizing a project such as a community mediation service at Brandeis or a peace education project in a local school. There are so many different possibilities.

Annie Long ’16 plans to plant a seed of feminism in a conversational way by partnering with Media Monitor for Women Network in Beijing. She aspires to initiate a series of inspiring feminist lecture and forum events.

Brontë Velez ’16 is another winner, who plans on creating a video piece that will embody Alice Walker’s story “The Flowers” (author of “The Color Purple”), “serving as an elegy to the remnants of slavery. The piece, along with her senior thesis, will regard the history of indigo cash-crop slavery.”

Leah Susman ’18 will be working with the Brandeis-Al-Quds Student Dialogue Initiative in order to bring seven students and faculty members from Al-Quds to Brandeis for a week. The purpose of such a visit is to re-establish the academic partnership between the two schools.

And lastly, Linda Phiri ’16, through her magazine planned to be called “Moments in Time,” will provide a space where the voices of refugees in Recife, Brazil will be heard through the compilation of fictional or biographical stories.

It is no surprise that at Brandeis, an institution which highly values social justice, awards like these exist. They are meant to enhance peace culture as it evolves both in our society and elsewhere in the world.