Center On Conflict And Development Opens Applications For Student Media Grant Program
The Center On Conflict And Development at Texas A&M University is accepting applications for its annual student media grant program, offering Aggies and others an opportunity to highlight the human stories behind major global issues.
Since 2013, program participants have used photos, interviews and other means to document world events across four key subject areas: peace and reconciliation, poverty and food insecurity, forms of violence (gender, school, domestic, political, etc.), and migration/refugee crises. The grants are funded by A&M’s Howard G. Buffett Foundation Chair on Conflict and Development.
This year, the application is open to any student from any accredited university in the world. Those selected for the program will receive up to $5,000 to travel to any location they choose, domestic or international, as long as they secure proper approval from their university and any other relevant entities.
As in previous years, students are encouraged to pair their documentary efforts with active community engagement through research and extension activities. Past student media grant program projects have focused on topics as diverse as a home gardening initiative in Haiti, devotees of the folk saint Santa Muerte in Mexico City, and conditions in France’s Calais “Jungle” refugee camp.
“I really like that ConDev offers these opportunities for students to explore topics such as peace and reconciliation or food insecurity because I myself come from a developing nation that has recovered from over three decades of war,” said Johanna Roman, a native of Guatemala and program manager for the Conflict & Development Foundation. “It’s very rewarding to see the courage that students have to be able to capture very difficult moments through their lenses, and sometimes to set their cameras aside and just talk to people and engage with these communities.”
The program is open to students of all levels and fields of study, graduate and undergraduate, as well as recent grads. Shortly after earning his second Ph.D. from A&M’s Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences, Amit Ghoshal was in Kashmir, speaking with people there about the history of religious and ethnic violence that continues to plague the region today.
“I felt that unless and until I physically go there, I cannot aptly depict a vivid picture of Kashmir. I was also aiming to identify precisely the past and present problems — that was my target,” Ghoshal said. “I intended to find out what actually happened, what is the current situation there, and whether it is being portrayed accurately without the political and social noise.”
Ghoshal previously received funding from the program to explore issues related to human-tiger conflict in Bangladesh and the Indian Sundarban forests of West Bengal.
Garrett Brogan, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications, recently spent time in Kenya and Rwanda researching the impacts of artisan cooperatives in the lives of local craftswomen. He used funding from the student media grant program to further document the experiences of these women through his photography and storytelling.
“I’ve learned that you can tell facts or you can send a picture,” Brogan said, “but really being able to help someone tell their story just creates more of a lasting impression, and hopefully also creates more change.”
Applications for this round of grants will remain open from Sept. 15 to Nov. 15, with winners announced in mid-December. To apply, students can submit a project proposal describing where they plan to travel and the issue they plan to document. Additional details about the program and the application requirements are available on the Center on Conflict and Development’s website.