The Margaret Gada Slosberg Charitable Foundation

The Slosberg Travel Grant was established for graduate students at The American University of Paris to foster high-level graduate research and activism in the field of social justice.

Provided through the Margaret Gada Slosberg Charitable Foundation by alumna Karen Slosberg MA ’13, this program aims to advance research abroad while incorporating a hands-on humanitarian component. Since its creation in 2011, numerous master’s students have conducted field and scholarly research with a focus on social justice, human rights, humanitarian relief and international development.

AUP graduate students from all programs are eligible to apply for funding to cover the costs of a volunteer/research project with an NGO or civil society organization in the developing world, in an emerging economy or with vulnerable communities in post-industrial societies. Individual grants may cover both travel and living expenses. Students are expected to serve as on-location volunteers or as participant observers with a local organization for a period of one to six months on location.

Students should read instructions carefully before they apply.

Grant Recipients (by academic year)

Grant Recipients from 2011-2012
  • Tendayi Chirawu – Communication Gaps in Aid Flows to Namibian NGOS’s: A Case Study on CLaSH
  • Justine Davis – Civil Society’s Relationship with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Ivory Coast
  • Ted Liu – The Egyptian Parliamentary ‘Election’ Influence on Muslim Brotherhood Political Behavior
  • Lacy Wood – The International Consequences of Vietnam’s Economic Development
Grant Recipients from 2012-2013
  • Sabrina Cook – Education in Palestine Refugee Camps in Lebanon
  • Sarah Finnigan – Volunteering for community-driven development with Project Mercy in Yetebon, Ethiopia
  • Rachael Haileselasse – Teaching English in Refugee Camps in Nablus, Palestine
  • Rachel Hardy – The Necessity of Creativity and Imagination in Education: Fostering Child Development and Resilience in Rural Pondicherry, India
  • Jesse Tucker Lichtenstein – Translating Social Injustice in Postcolonial Guatemala: El Informante Nativo by Ronald Flores
  • Kristen McGuiness – Vocational Training in At-Risk Communities: Research into the Role of Restorative Participation & Client Investment
  • Jessica Proett – Convivencia Today: Interfaity Relation and Interaction in Modern Spain 
  • Eileen Weinstein – Introducing Children of North-African and Sub-Saharan African Decent to the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris
Grant Recipients from 2013-2014
  • Dawn Booker – Marketing research with special focus in Programing for S.A. NGOs, the Smile Foundation and Afrika Tikkun at Marie Stopes International, Cape Town S.A.
  • Kathleen Buchholz – Lifeline Energy: Solar Power and Women's Empowerment in Zambia
  • Rachel Cochran – Teaching English in Refugee Camps in Nablus, Palestine
  • Judith Cunningham – Sexual Violence as a Systemic Crime within Development Work which Is Dependent on Feminized Laborers in Positions of Heightened Vulnerability: Surveys from former Peace Corps Volunteers within the Pacific Northwest Region (USA)
  • Amy Dean – Census, Identity, and Its Relationship to Conflict Resolution in Postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Elizabeth Ann Gahl – Investigation of the Cuban Dance Community as a Positive Societal Instrument
  • Elodie Khavarani – Cyprus Case: Transitional Justice & Information
  • Jean-Baptiste Matton – Central Command Response to Conflict in Central African Republic
  • Victoria Rose St George – Female Migrant Labor in Malaysia
  • Tommaso Virgili – Sharia and Human Rights in the Egyptian Constitution
  • Linda Witters – Young, Single, and Cheap: How Female Migrants Are the Temporary Crutch on which the World Economy Leans in Beijing, China
Grant Recipients from 2014-2015
  • Catherine Ngo – UN Response to Syrian Refugee Crisis: UNHCR Lebanon Office
  • Pamela Otali – Volunteer Work in Vietnam
  • Anna Wiersma – Working to advance economic and social development in the slums and rural areas surrounding Pondicherry, South India with the Indian NGO The People’s Social Development Foundation (PSDF)
Grant Recipients from 2015-2016
  • Lamis Al Jasem – Supporting Syrian Refugee Children Education at Najda Now International in Beirut, Lebanon
  • Baker Brandy – Volunteering with children in Guatemala
  • Gurkaya Cansu – Gender Meets Forest & Landscape Restoration: Intering with the World Resources Institute’s Forest and Landscape Restoration department in Delhi, India
  • Francesca Rose Emma Gottschalk – Voting Behaviors and Attitudes in the “Born Free” Generation in Cape Town, South Africa
  • Rachel Houston – Social Policy research Assistant Volunteer at MDRC – Improving education and employment opportunities for low-income and disconnected children and adults in the US
  • Stefanie Kundakjian – Armenia’s Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Shadow Report with the Women’s Support Center in Armenia
  • Joshua Laskey – Creating Universal Access for Low-Income Immigrant Students and Their Families through Translation of AVID Materials in California, US
Grant Recipients from 2016-2017
  • Viviana Alvarado Pacheco – Volunteering at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center, Belize
  • Dana Dadoush – Sustainable Management of Relief in Syria’s War Zone: Volunteer work with Canaturk Academic and Research Development in Gaziantep Turkey
  • Elyse Elder – Community Learning as The Best Weapon to Fight Poverty in South Africa and Zambia
  • Rachel Fallon – Pathways to Equity and Opportunity by Focusing on the Intersection of Arts and Social Justice with Bronx-Based NGO Dream Yard
  • Faith Toran – Waste Management with Wasteless in Tamil Nadu, India

Featured Grant Recipients

Faith Toran

Faith Toran, India 2017

Faith’s MA thesis focused on a contemporary reappraisal of the participatory turn in development practices. In particular, her thesis used the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) method popularized in the ‘90s and her field research undertaken in Tamil Nadu, India with a waste management educational initiative, kNOw PLASTICS Educational Programme, designed around “participatory methods of environmental education for social justice.” Faith also collaborated with WasteLess India, an educational research organization focused on sustainable waste management based in Auroville, which is using ‘participatory’ approaches that help to change the harmful habits that affect the way we make, dispose of and think about waste. While with WasteLess, Faith worked as an Education and Communication Coordinator for 6 months. In efforts to address the challenges of the participatory paradigm of development (generally highly theoretically supported, but lacking support in practical theory), Faith engaged the WasteLess team in a wider scope of ‘participatory’ communication, conducting a PRA session yielding a model of participatory communication that proved to be an enjoyable and creative method for the students to generate their own knowledge about waste. It also served as practical data for the participatory paradigm and aligned with the WasteLess aim of targeting the future generation with fun and engaging educational activities concerning waste management, to bring about behavioral change and instill positive habits early on in a child’s life.

To improve development practice and theory, Faith advocates for “another communication” for development, and suggests that good communication must take place in order for development to be experienced. Based on her field research experiencing and facilitating PRA, Faith believes PRA may be used as a prerequisite to gather baseline information on worldviews and knowledge in a development context in order to facilitate a process that is local in context, while being empowering and genuinely participatory.

Viviana Pacheco

Viviana Alvarado Pacheco, Belize 2017

Viviana’s MA thesis focuses on the application of international refugee law on the climate migrants in the Caribbean, particularly small island states that are completely independent from a mother country. She had the opportunity to collaborate with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center (CCCCC) in Belize, which is an NGO that coordinates the Caribbean region’s response to climate change, working on effective solutions and projects to stabilize, and ultimately reverse, the environmental impacts of climate change and global warming. Viviana used her field research, specifically from San Pedro and Monkey River, as a proxy for the possible effects of climate change on small island states. This ties directly into the second chapter of her thesis which compares available data on preventative and migration policy action in small island states without any colonial mother country. 

Elyse Elder

Elyse Elder, South Africa and Zambia 2016

Elyse’s MA thesis focuses on fighting poverty through community learning. Her hands-on research occurred during an internship at Lifeline Energy, an NGO in Cape Town, South Africa that provides education to millions of people, particularly in farming communities, through the distribution of radio programming via solar and wind-up radios and MP3 players. Her project work brought her to rural Zambia where she acted as project coordinator and liaison between Lifeline and its on-the-ground partner, Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO). This allowed her to observe and efficiently introduce new ideas into risk-averse and largely uneducated rural populations. “What is clear,” she reports, “is the importance of a communal approach to education within these farming communities. Radio and MP3 listening groups allow them to feel comfortable and grow in confidence. Cooperative members became sensitized to the COMACO model through Farm Talk radio even before they joined. Once a member, continual initiatives, like the program I helped formulate, shepherded them through the transition process and now each farmer is an expert in conservation farming.”

Anna Wiersma

Anna Wiersma, South India 2015

"My time with PSDF and AVAG was incredibly rich, both academically and personally. The information that I received through my direct surveys, interviews, and focus groups, as well as my observations of the NGOs’ everyday activities, provided me with detailed information concerning the role of microfinance in both poverty alleviation and community development. Indeed, this experience was an essential component of my being able to conceptualize and defend the rights‐based approach to microfinance that I ultimately describe and defend in my thesis. Having this field knowledge allowed me to feel confident defending my new ideas for the microfinance field, as they were rooted in experience and data, rather than merely my own thoughts and ideas, or those of other theorists.

As this trip would certainly not have been financially possible for me without this grant, I want to once again thank the Margaret Gada Slosberg Charitable Foundation for selecting me as a recipient of this grant. Conducting this fieldwork was truly the highlight of my master’s degree, and I appreciate your commitment to making these kinds of experiences possible.”