Institute PhD student wins funding for her project to ease violence in Indian slum through “Theatre of the Oppressed”.
Ms Evelyne Tauchnitz, PhD student in international studies with a specialisation in political science, was competitively chosen in March to receive a grant for her project “Theatre for Peace” from the Davis Projects for Peace initiative set up by philanthropist Kathryn W. Davis, lnstitute Alumna and long-standing donor.
Theatre for Peace will focus on training slum residents to use a play-performing method called Theatre of the Oppressed aimed at exposing social problems in order to contribute to alleviating racial, ethnic and class tensions, and reducing related violence. Her project will be implemented for an initial duration of one year in the slums of Ahmedabad, the capital city of Gujarat, India, in partnership with an Indian educational and charitable trust, VIDYA. In these slums Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs live together in a very limited space and share a marginal existence. Developed in the 1970s in Brazil, Theatre of the Oppressed portrays a particular situation which is negatively affecting society, or a group of people within society, in an unconventional interactive theatre play.
The community project will specifically focus on helping youth by engaging young instructors and training young performers. According to Ms Tauchnitz’s project proposal, youth are the group most victimised by the caste system and “often do not have access to the most fundamental goods and services such as sufficient nutrition, housing, healthcare and basic education”.
The Davis Projects for Peace initiative was carried out for the third time in 2009. Through Mrs Davis’s contributions university students from nearly 100 institutions will collectively receive over $1 million in funding for projects in all regions of the world. Now 103 years old, Mrs Davis launched the programme on the occasion of her 100th birthday in 2007. Projects for Peace was established to encourage and support motivated youth to create and implement their ideas for building peace throughout the world.
Mrs Davis obtained her PhD from the Institute in 1934, in the same year as her late husband, Shelby Cullom Davis, former United States Ambassador to Switzerland from 1969 to 1975. Each year since 2007 she has also financed four PhD scholarships, each for four years. In addition to these generous donations to the Institute and its students, Mrs Davis made a large contribution to the funds being used for the construction of the “Campus de la Paix”.
Further information about Kathryn W. Davis and her Projects for Peace initiative can be found in the spring 2009 edition of Globe.
More information on Projects for Peace can be found on the programme’s website.