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May 16: Le Nguyen awarded Davis Project for Peace scholarship

Monday, May 16, 2016

FREDERICK, Md.—A junior at Hood College has earned a $10,000 grant from an organization committed to building cross-cultural understanding across campuses and, ultimately, throughout the world.

Le Nguyen’s proposal to work with victims of Agent Orange in her home country of Vietnam was accepted by the Davis Projects for Peace initiative committee as the 2016 Hood College recipient. The initiative is part of the Davis United World College Scholars Program and provides the grants each summer for students to complete a project that advances or develops peaceful initiatives throughout the world.

Nguyen’s “Foundation of Hope” project will focus on working with victims of the U.S. military’s use of the chemical defoliant Agent Orange during the U.S.-Vietnam conflict. An estimated 19 million gallons of the chemical were sprayed aerially between 1961 and 1972 over forests and crops that provided cover and food for North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops. The U.S. at the time was unaware that the chemical would be found to be the cause of serious health problems, including cancer, birth defects, tumors and psychological symptoms to the Vietnamese population and U.S. troops who were exposed.

Nguyen’s project is geared toward helping individuals with developmental disabilities caused by Agent Orange. The project will run from late May to late June. She will be flying home to Vietnam May 23 to manage the four-week program she has designed.

Nguyen is a double major in business administration and economics with a concentration in international economics, and she is in the Honors Program. She is also currently vice president of the Hood College Rotaract Club.

The Davis Projects for Peace is an initiative open to all undergraduate students at the more than 90 American colleges and universities in the Davis UWC Scholars Program. This year, 87 Davis UWC Scholar Program partner schools and five other institutions—Future Generations; the Graduate Institute in Geneva, Switzerland; International Houses Worldwide; the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey; and the University of Maine—are participating.

Launched in 2007 by philanthropist Kathryn W. Davis to mark her 100th birthday, the initiative serves as a challenge and motivation for today’s generation of college students to create and execute their ideas for building peace and understanding throughout the world.