W&L’s Ricks Receives Davis Projects for Peace Grant James Ricks ’21 plans to work this summer with the Oda Foundation in Nepal.
James Ricks ’21 has won a Davis Projects for Peace grant for his work with The Oda Foundation, a nonprofit organization co-founded in 2013 by John Christopher ’09.
Ricks first received the grant to carry out his project in 2020. However, because of travel restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, he was unable to travel as planned. For now, Nepal’s travel restrictions have lessened, and Ricks intends to implement his project in Nepal in summer 2021.
While abroad, Ricks will work to photograph the region and present the images to be sold to raise money for The Oda Foundation.
Headquartered in the district of Kalikot, Oda’s initiatives in health care, education and community support have become critical, lifesaving services. According to their website, “hand-in-hand with local leaders, private partners and government offices, we develop community-led solutions, helping Nepal’s most impoverished and remote communities to thrive.”
This visit is not Ricks’ first mission to Nepal. He also worked with The Oda Foundation there in summer 2019.
“The foundation provides crucial medical and educational support to the region, supplying local schools with resources and teaching staff and running the only clinic within five to seven hours’ distance,” Ricks said.
Jillian Murphy, study abroad coordinator at W&L. expressed her appreciation of Ricks’ work and for his upcoming journey.
“I am continuously impressed by how students conceive of social change as starting at the local level in full partnership with community leaders,” Murphy said. “Students leverage their academic backgrounds, life experiences and community relationships to design projects that promote sustainable peace. The proposal process encourages them to think critically about the project’s potential to continue long after they’ve left the host country.”
As a partner school of the Davis United World College Scholars Program, W&L is eligible to receive Davis Projects for Peace grants. The program is funded by the late Kathryn Wasserman Davis, who established it on her 100th birthday in 2007 to challenge young people to plant seeds of peace throughout the world with innovative projects. At least one Washington and Lee student has won a Davis grant each year since the award’s inception.