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Davis United World College Scholars


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100 Ways to Make a Difference

To mark her 100th birthday, in a year when she also received the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service, Kathryn W. Davis decided to do more.

Mrs. Davis, whose son, Shelby M.C. Davis, is the founder of the Davis UWC Scholars Program, created and funded 100 Projects for Peace — an invitation to all undergraduates, at all 76 colleges and universities participating in the Davis Program, to design and propose grassroots projects they can implement during summer 2007. The 100 “most promising and doable” proposals are each receiving  $10,000 in funding, drawn from Mrs. Davis’s gift of $1 million that created the 100 Projects program.

“I want to use my 100th birthday to help young people launch some immediate initiatives that will bring new thinking to the prospects of peace in the world,” Mrs. Davis says.

Over one thousand proposals were submitted on campuses all over the nation. “This opportunity and the proposal development process have produced a wonderful, exciting buzz on campus and among our students,” reports Amy Brough, Director of Institutional Support at Trinity College in Connecticut.

Kathryn Davis’s own life has been much involved with both education and the building of world understanding. Holder of a B.A. from Wellesley College, an M.A. from Columbia, and a Ph.D. from the University of Geneva, she met her husband, Shelby Cullom Davis, on a train to Geneva; they returned years later when he served as U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland from 1969-75. Mrs. Davis was honored last September with a Public Service Award from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in recognition of the contributions she and the Davis family have made to global humanity.

“They have had a dramatic impact on higher education and public policy,” the Center said, “helping foster greater understanding of international affairs through institutions that proudly bear the Davis name, including the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies of the Heritage Foundation, the Davis Center for Historical Studies at Princeton University, and the Davis International Center at the United World College-USA.”

“My 99 years have taught me,” Mrs. Davis said in her acceptance speech, a few months before her 100th birthday, “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.”