By Shelby M.C. Davis
I am often asked what I hope to accomplish with the Davis UWC Scholars Program. I must say, my ambitions have grown alongside the program! I am now trying to plant seeds of hope for the world by helping to educate 2,500 students each year who can make a difference.
Because of their unique UWC school experience, these students are ideal messengers. They are energetic and driven, and they have “winning habits” — their optimism and can-do attitude is contagious. They spread cultural understanding, empathy for others, tolerance, and hope to those they meet. Increasingly, Davis UWC Scholars are becoming role models for others to follow.
Nelson Mandela, Honorary President of UWC International, recently put it this way: “The striking thing about UWC students is that they embrace the entire world across all divides of race, history, culture, wealth, religion, economic status, and political belief: they are unique and they are conscious of their responsibilities.”
My mother, who recently passed away at 106, still influences me greatly as to what is truly important for our world. Fifteen years ago, Mikhail Gorbachev spoke at her 90th birthday party. She and he shared a passion for peace on earth. In a recent message to the UWC movement, Gorbachev wrote: “During the years of its existence, your movement has been able to considerably influence several generations of students from many countries in a spirit of mutual respect, peace, and sustainable development. Today this mission is as important as ever.
“...Our collective security can no longer focus primarily on the security of states: it must focus on the security of people,” Gorbachev declared. “Wars and militarism cannot achieve real human security. ... I applaud your commitment to achieving change through peaceful and moral means. The world needs your enthusiasm. Let us join our efforts in a common quest for peace, justice, and a sustainable future.”
As a goal for our philanthropy, I certainly agree with that. My hope is that, along with all the other successes they are likely to achieve in their fields of choice, our Davis UWC Scholars become apostles of peace. I often quote a motto that I read on the wall of the UWC in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina: “The world needs dreamers, and the world needs doers, but most of all the world needs dreamers who do!”
The reason I invest so heavily in this program, year after year, is that I believe these students, both individually and as a group — with all their diverse beliefs and backgrounds — embody that unique combination of dreamer and doer. Young people like these are the human capital we need to build peace, justice, and a sustainable future.
Investing in human capital is a long-term proposition, and I believe it will pay off with long-term dividends for our world. If you are in a position to do philanthropy, I urge you to join us!
Consider investing in human capital. The rewards include knowing, in a very personal way, that you are making a difference that is real.