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Grant Recipients

The President’s Fund to Advance Peacemaking

The President’s Fund to Advance Peacemaking (PFAP) is funded by a substantial anonymous gift and is intended to support projects that advance the work of peace on campus, in the neighborhood, around the city and country, and around the world.

Spring 2014 grants were awarded to:

Dialogues on Peace and Justice Through Paideia Seminars

Anne Kaufman (Professor Emerita of Education)

The summer Paideia Seminar will explore the great ideas of peace and justice through civil discourse.  Sitting in the round, close reading of carefully selected texts, and discussing essential questions is what Paideia seminars provide as a thoughtful precursor to action.  The long-range vision will be a series of on-going discussions on the topics of peacemaking and the Augsburg Paideia Program provides a model of civil discourse that can extend across the campus and community. The goal is to foster deeper thinking through shared inquiry as a means to advance peacemaking.

Cedar Commons Coordinator

Elaine Eschenbacher (Coordinator, Sabo Center for Citizenship and Learning)

This position will coordinate activities at the Cedar Commons (the old St. Martin’s Table space) in order to develop a hub for experiential education through social entrepreneurship, deliberative dialogue, civic engagement and community building. The Cedar Commons Coordinator will coordinate the partnership among Augsburg, Trinity Lutheran Congregation and other community partners involved in the Cedar Commons, helping to create a more peaceful and healthy neighborhood.  The position is linked to the University’s goal of expanding Augsburg’s experiential education, making it more tangible and visible; Trinity’s commitment to neighborhood youth and desire for increased capacity; and the needs of neighborhood young people for leadership opportunities, entrepreneurship experiences, mentorship and university exposure.

Expanding Peace Studies

Joe Underhill (Political Science) Carrie Shidla (Academic Advising), Mary Laurel True (Sabo Center), Frankie Shackelford (Languages and Cross-Cultural Studies), Barbara Lehmann (Social Work), Matt Maruggi (Religion), Jacqueline DeVries (History). Community partner:  youthrive

This proposal suggests that we combine, revise, and expand Augsburg’s International Relations and Peace & Global Studies programs to create a new Peace Studies program with a distinctive pedagogy and guiding philosophy that would make it a national leader in undergraduate Peace education.  The university is now annually hosting the expanded Nobel Peace Prize Forum, which serves as a focal point for a wide range of peace-related activities in the region and on campus.  It draws on the excellent interdisciplinary work already being done on campus—Women’s Studies, Environmental Studies, and Metro-Urban Studies—to deepen the cross-disciplinary collaborations and discussions both on and off campus.  It draws on the Commission on Academic Opportunities work on Interdisciplinary Programs and the idea for immersive “themed semesters” akin to the I-term piloted here recently.

Somali Museum-Augsburg Partnership

Bob Stacke (Music)

Augsburg’s neighborhood is changing rapidly. The community around Augsburg is the most diverse neighborhood in Minnesota, and has the largest urban population of Somali-Americans in the country. The growing Somali-American population also brings its own challenges: increased gang activity in several neighborhoods, and the specter of young Somali-Minnesotans being recruited into sectarian warfare in Africa. Too many voices in political and popular discourse are pointing to the negative influences of Somali and Somali-Muslim culture in Minnesota. As such, it is imperative that we build foundations for common understanding and community enrichment. The arts are a place where diverse populations can work collectively to create and experience beauty; the arts are a place where that beauty takes the place of misunderstanding and hate. By educating the whole population about new immigrants’ rich art and cultural heritage, we can break down barriers and promote peace.

The Department of Music will partner with the Somali Artifact and Cultural Museum, the only museum in America devoted to preserving traditional Somali arts and folklore. Its collection of over 700 artifacts from traditional nomadic society serve as educational materials which connect Somali youth to their heritage and inform non-Somalis about Somali culture.

The project includes:

  • Initiate a research partnership between the Department of Music and the Minneapolis Somali Artifact and Cultural Museum
  • Pilot community-based Augsburg student research on Somali musical culture
  • Establish a traditional Somali hut as a learning center for cultural education and learning exchange for Augsburg students
  • Create opportunities for Augsburg students to access primary and immersive resources to study Somali culture
  • Publish a music CD based on findings to be available to future students

Malaria Prevention Project in Nigeria

Promise Okeke (Undergraduate student)

Mr. Okeke worked over the New Year holiday with a community clinic in Neni (a rural community in Nigeria), which is affiliated with Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital.  His duties included conducting weekly seminars on prevention and control of malaria, and organizing canvassing efforts, with the help of hired personnel, to distribute mosquito nets (LLINs) to more than 150 homes.  During the canvassing efforts to distribute nets, home residents were asked to fill out questionnaires that helped determine how knowledgeable they were about LLINs, how many of them use them, what the hindering factors from using LLINs were, and what their opinions were about nets.  He also investigated the presence of risk factors at residential homes, including the presence of stagnant waters, and made recommendations to both residents and the local community clinic on measures towards prevention and control.  To analyze the impact of this project, the community clinic and Okeke will monitor the number of reported cases of malaria to the clinic four months after the end of the project.  They eventually plan to publish their findings in a local journal.